3 things a Digital Strategy brings to small businesses (and larger ones too)
I am writing this article, just two days of being self-employed again. Having set-up Brighter Days, I am back to being a small business myself and I also need a Digital Strategy.
One thing I am extremely grateful for in my tenure at my previous employer Intergen, was getting exposure to so many different technologies and more importantly the people that worked with them.
I learnt something new every day.
Granted, this was mainly with Microsoft technologies, but that was almost irrelevant, as we were always (correctly) taught “focus on the outcomes” that the technology brings.
So, having put together my own Digital Strategy recently, I have documented what benefits I think would this bring to other businesses. I hope that these are useful for anyone about to embark on the same journey.
1) Understanding the effort required for digital success
I knew that I set up Brighter Days, I had to have a Digital plan and execute it. So in the last few weeks, I have:
- Researched and chosen a company name
- Set-up an E-mail Address
- Tested 2 x CRM systems (and purchased another)
- Tested 2 x finance systems
- Designed a logo
- Built a website
- Created content for Search Engine Opitisation
- Created online advertising campaigns
- Created a social strategy
And these is just the important ones, for now. There are tonnes of other things I still need to do.
I’ll be the first to admit, that the work I have done could be better, but I’ve done my research and picked the best tools for what I can afford. It’s good enough (for now) and I am fortunate enough to have been able to do all of this work myself. Others are not so lucky. This also now gives me enough time to spend building relationships for the business.
I am definitely not listing these items to ‘show off’ or ‘big myself up’ ; More so, to explain how much effort goes setting a business up; let alone running it.
I sincerely admire anyone that has done all of the above as they have either spent a lot of time, a lot of money, (or both) getting to this point.
2) How to invest in the right tools and people
Once the business starts to grow, I will continue to invest in people around me to help with my Digital work and make sure that my systems mature at the same rate of the company.
In other words, I am going to need help and the right tools in place. And that’s the thing that businesses of all sizes are guilty of sometimes. They just don’t invest in the right places.
- They still spend money on Print Advertising (Yep some people still do that!) when even some Digital Advertising would be more cost effective and highly targeted.
- They spend money on inefficient people but not Digital systems.
- Or worst still, they spend money on Digital systems but not processes.
To compete in the Digital age we live in, systems no longer have to cost the earth. I can vouch for that personally. There is a perception that Digital systems, all cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. In some cases they do (and I still hear sayings like ‘Our customers just won’t buy our stuff online, so it’s not worth building an E-commerce site’).
Like buying a car, it is important that you find the right tools for your budget and what you will actually use them for.
3) Digital is the enabler of a larger strategy
I read a great article recently about the rise of a silent sales floor that stated, with the rise of Social selling, Sales professionals are no longer picking the phone up.
Having worked in IT Recruitment before my technology career, we were taught that the reason businesses tend to fail, is often due to a poor pipeline. A poor pipeline is often due to a lack of prospecting. I would hazard a guess that for 80% of sales, picking the phone up and calling people is still the most effective way to get referrals and generate new business. And when combined with using tools like Marketo and Hubspot this will make nurturing your customers a whole lot easier.
My point is that Digital will not be the answer to everything.
There will be some cases where a paper and pen is more efficient than an online form. Not many, but there will be some. Like my advertising examples earlier, Digital tools and techniques will be much more effective when part of an integrated advertising strategy.
When a business knows ‘where’ it needs to get to and ‘why’, Digital can be a big part of the ‘how’.