And so we come to the final blog missive for 2016. Hopefully it’s been a year that has seen your digital world provide greater headway than headaches!
The start of a new calendar year often gives us time to catch our breath and take stock of what has worked for our business during the past year and what needs work.
I’d love to assist this by coming up with a digital wishlist of suggestions ideal for your particular business.
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Unfortunately though, this is about as possible as coming up with a fail-safe marketing formula. Because every single business will differ in how it can reach and satisfy its market, it’s just not possible to come up with such a perfect prescription.
But if I stick to some higher level directions, the wishlist will at least provide some guidance as to how to make 2017 work for you when it comes to digital.
So here then are my ‘general directions’ for a digitally successful 2017.
1. Ensure your website is humming
During 2016, websites became more important than ever as the ‘go to’ destination for information about your business. The beauty of websites is that they’re impervious to the jostling of the various social networks for market or even niche leadership. They remain rock-like as the place where you control what you want to say to your audience and how you say it.
So make sure that when your market get to your website, it is everything they want it to be: it’s fast to download, easy to navigate, easy on the eye, and makes you look as professional as possible.
2. Ensure you are prominent for those who are ready to buy
The internet is a proven go-to medium when it comes to guiding buyers to a supplier, be they consumer or business. But Google no longer the only place you need to be prominent in.
So clever is digital advertising is that it magically ‘senses’ when you are ready to buy and starts displaying ads for suppliers on the websites you visit. If you aren’t prominent in either of these situations, there’s a good chance you won’t win the business on offer.
3. Ensure you are keeping in touch with existing connections
Where there’s smoke there’s fire. And if someone has bought from you in the past there’s a good chance they’ll buy from you again—provided you are still ‘part of their world’.
As we know, it’s much more expensive to find a new customer than sell something else to an existing one. So make sure you are where your customer wants you—in their inboxes, on their social networks or even in their letterboxes!
4. Ensure you are making the most of content marketing
Content marketing provides some of the best return on investment going around due to its low cost and high ‘viral’ capabilities, be that via digital channels like blogs or webinars, or through more traditional methods like events or media exposure.
Make sure that you give it serious thought when planning your marketing for 2017.
5. Ensure you understand the impact of social media on your business
Social media is now a bolted-on part of the media communications landscape. And if you’re not part of it, you’re giving your competition a free hit. It’s important that it forms some part of your marketing and communications plans for 2017.
6. Ensure that at least some of your advertising budget is spent on digital media
Reports are starting to emerge that social media advertising is now more effective than any other advertising medium for smaller businesses. If advertising is part of your promotional mix, make sure that at least some of it is invested in social media advertising—even if you have to experiment a little to get it right.
7. Don’t underestimate email marketing as an effective promotional medium
It’s about as sexy as thermal underwear, but it’s just as effective. Email marketing continues to be the most effective form of direct marketing, delivering huge return on investment for those who use it. Make sure you’ve given it a good try before eliminating it from your marketing and communications planning.
I hope this provides some assistance in planning your marketing and communications for 2017. And I hope that the only screen you have to attend over the festive season is one showing a great movie. Merry Christmas!
In addition to being a leading eBusiness educator to the smaller business sector, Craig Reardon is the founder and director of independent web services firm The E Team, which was established to address the special website and web marketing needs of SMEs in Melbourne and beyond.