A recent study from Cisco shows only 20% of businesses across 16 key industries are using digital strategies, tools and platforms to their full potential. The vast majority of businesses, both big and small, have a lot of catching up to do. The key takeaway from the study is that businesses need to truly become digital businesses and must promote digital agility.
Being fully invested in becoming a digital business requires companies do three things; simplify and automate, empower efficiency and innovation, and personalize the experience of the customer.
Digital agility is quiet simple. In order to maintain a competitive edge, and maintain or increase market share, businesses must begin to utilize digital technology to learn and respond to customers and to make changes at all levels as needed. There are three ways to enhance digital business agility: hyper awareness, informed decision-making, and fast execution.
Engage Through Social Channels
Informed decision-making and fast execution are linked to effective marketing and customer engagement. The more you engage with your customers and potential customers, the more quickly you will be able to change in ways that will meet their needs and promote their loyalty.
Social media is one of the most effective ways to actively engage with consumers, either through direct interaction or through ad placement. Social media allows businesses to interact in real time with the consumers who are interested in their service or product. It also allows immediate feedback on new content, services, products, or advertising campaigns.
Blog traffic is at an all time high due to social media engagement. Once a person arrives at a blog through social media or a search engine query, companies can be assured they are visiting for a specific purpose. Advertising companies target potential customers by creating ads tied to keywords that were used naturally by the publisher or blogger.
This results in a higher likelihood of the people who are interested in your product or service seeing a link to your business in a location that will encourage their engagement. This type of service helps to simplify advertising by targeting the message to consumers who are most interested in what your business offers.
Encourage Future Engagement
Once people have arrived at your site, you need to actively encourage them to further engage with your business. Automated email marketing is one of the most effective ways to get access to a visitor’s contact information, wherein your website can prompt visitors to sign up to get more information on upcoming deals, events or promotions, enabling you to engage them on an ongoing basis.
This goes beyond generic EDMs, however. As an example, GetResponse offers businesses a way to quickly gather visitor information with custom landing pages. You can create autoresponders that send custom emails based on specific individual preferences. Apart from visually-appealing and engaging newsletters, you can even launch an interactive webinar to actively promote exchange of ideas with your customer base. This type of service allows businesses to automate processes that would otherwise be time intensive and almost impossible to personalize.
Establish Branding and Thought Leadership
Creating a business blog that provides tools and information for your customers is an excellent way to solidify your brand and promote yourself as a leader in the industry. However, not all businesses are geared towards content creation or dissemination. One way to compensate for this is to outsource some work.
Finding freelancers to help your business reach its content creation goals may seem overwhelming. The process can involve many tedious steps such as advertising, sorting through applications, creative collaboration and making sure all members of the team are on the same page, and payment. Finding a service that automates this process can be invaluable. ClearVoice is a platform that serves all of these functions, and makes it easier to publish content once it is created. Finding a way to create consistent branding across content is essential, and keeping all elements of content creation in one platform is an excellent way to accomplish this.
One way to begin being recognized as a leader in your industry is to regularly be cited as such by other experts. MyBlogU allows individuals and businesses of all sizes do just that. You can sign up as a resource, and your profile will link to your company page. Or, you can crowd source to perform market research. You can even contribute work that may then be used by another individual or business as their web content, further enhancing your reputation within your industry.
Improve Workflow Management and Operations Productivity
The pen and paper method of organizing workflow and productivity are increasingly becoming inadequate. Transitioning to digital platforms promotes hyperawareness of internal changes, so they can be dealt with immediately. Further, they promote efficiency by keeping all members up to date on progress and delays, and enhance overall productivity by allowing for changes to be made as the need arises.
Small business owners, or those who work with a number of clients with billable hours, need a way to stay on top of the hours worked for each project. While it is certainly possible to do this without a digital platform, utilizing a digital service makes the process infinitely easier and facilitates more efficient invoicing. Platforms such as WorkFlowMax also allows for a breakdown of data, in order for businesses to clearly see how their time and efforts are impacting revenue.
Given the shift away from paper-based documentation, digital methods to sign contracts is absolutely necessary for a digitally-minded business. Gone are the days when documents need to be sent to a client or customer, printed or delivered, signed, and returned. Digital platforms allow all of this to be done almost instantly from a webpage or a mobile device. Services such as DocuSign are dramatically increasing the turnaround time required for approvals, and contract implementation.
The tools you use to automate your business and promote digital agility are ultimately less important than the fact that you actively seek to evolve as an organization. Technology will continue to improve and new resources, platforms, and methods are going to be created. The goal of a digital business is to evaluate and take advantage of these technologies and services as they become available.
New ways to simplify and automate, promote innovation and efficiency, and personalize your customer’s connection with your business expand and improve are being developed. It is imperative you have a structure in place that promotes the digital agility required to adopt the right technologies and workflows.