Digital is an essential component of the modern customer experience. Regardless of whether or not your business is ready to embrace digital, your existing customers and potential customers are already doing so - across an increasing number of devices and channels. So what does digital "look like" for small businesses? What are the key areas to think about and ensure you're applying best practice in order to stay ahead of your competitors and grab market share?

Data

Data is your most powerful commodity when it comes to digital. Use it to understand the performance of your website; the value of your sales leads; your customer volumes, retention rates and repeat business. Data will tell you about your strengths and weaknesses and it will point you towards some of your biggest opportunities to engage customers and grow your business. Everything else is guesswork. Make every digital decision based on evidence gained from data.

Customer Insight

If you combine Data with Customer Insight, you'll have a solid foundation for your digital planning. It's essential to understand how your customers want to engage with you - and how they engage with competitors in your industry. For example, are they likely to call you? Do they talk about their experience with you on social media? How are they behaving online? And what's likely to make them an advocate of your business?

Website Optimisation

Every company nowadays needs a credible website. At the very least, customers will seek your website to check you're legitimate; then they'll compare you to other companies they're thinking about; then, if you've done a decent job, they may want to purchase something or find your contact details. Successful businesses ensure their website mirrors their brand values and identity. They also use the site to engage the customer through slick design, engaging content and simple navigation.

Search Engine Optimisation

It's all very well having a well designed website, but this doesn't count for much unless people are able to find it. It's important to know which words people are typing into Google to find products and services like those you offer. These key words need to be integrated into your content and website to ensure you rank as highly as possible for them in Google. If you serve a specific region of the country, local Google searches are now more important than ever for gaining a foothold in your target marketplace.

Social Media

Not every small business likes the idea of engaging with customers and potential customers through social media. But this channel is becoming invaluable for companies in attracting new business, maintaining relationships and providing service in real time. The trick is to understand (through data and customer insight!) the social media channels that are most used by your customers. You might find, for example, that people are using Twitter already to discuss your services. One thing is for sure, it's important to have a good idea of what will work and where to focus your time before you start: it's no good hoping people will Like you on Facebook when actually your customer base is far more likely to interact with you via LinkedIn. 

Everything we mention here is what we do every day. If you'd like to talk to us about how we can assist with anything digital, please get in touch and we'd be happy to discuss your requirements.

Digital for Small Businesses: what to focus on

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