There are already tons of posts out there about forecasting trends and developments for 2015. In fact, we did one last month called 5 Digital Trends to Get Ahead in 2015 which concentrated on 5 key areas to help businesses stay ahead.

Everyone’s talking about things to consider; mobile, content, big data, agile marketing, wearable tech, augmented reality and so it goes on. But what does it all mean for you and your business? Do you really need to know all there is to know about everything digital if you are going to succeed in business?

There’s no doubt about it, today’s digital world is complex. It’s no longer just about having a website, it’s about your overall digital presence. But the digital world is always evolving and if you spend all your time learning about everything that’s changing, and trying to change your business strategies to match, you’d very soon go out of business. The key is in working out what is relevant to your business and using it to your advantage.

If you’re working in the power industry, do you really need to consider using iBeacons? No. But if you’re in retail and have physical premises, then it’s a development you need to keep your eye on. If you’re a consultancy business, will text marketing really be beneficial to you? Maybe, maybe not. But if you’re a restaurant or coffee shop it’s essential to consider.

So, how do you work out what developments and trends are relevant to you? Well, you need to start with your business plan; know what you want to achieve in your business overall. Then move on to your sales & marketing strategy. What techniques and products or services do you need to focus on to achieve those business goals. Once you know that, you have a way of working your way through the never ending list of digital and technology changes that may or may not be useful to your business and your objectives.

As a starting point I would suggest you do a health check in the following 3 key areas if you are going to have or maintain a digital presence in 2015

1. Your Website
All the 2015 trends are saying it – Mobile will be big in 2015. Well, it’s already big and will only get bigger. With more than half the global population of mobile users using mobile devices as their primary way of accessing the internet it’s essential that your website is mobile friendly. If customers don’t have a good mobile experience on your site, they will leave and find a competitor who’s site is user friendly. How do you know if your site is mobile friendly? There’s is a google tool you can use which will tell you if your site is mobile friendly, but as a starting point you should ask yourself the following questions.

websites on mobile devices1. Does my site load quickly on a mobile device?
2. Can I read the text without zooming in?
3. Can I click around on links etc. using my thumbs?
4. Can I click on the telephone number to dial directly?

If the answer is no to those questions, then you need to review your current website for 2015.

2. Your Social Media
Do you have a strategy? It’s no good just having social media accounts and sending the odd tweet about what the office is doing today. You can’t just ‘do social’. Social media is key in reaching out to and engaging with your customers, both existing and prospective.

To use social media effectively you need to know which social media will bring benefits to your business and use it effectively. You need a content plan that will help you target your efforts in the right areas. Ask yourself these questions:

image of social media cntent icons1. Who are my customers?
2. Why do they use me?
3. How do they find me?
4. Which social media do they use?
5. What are their challenges and issues?

Once you’ve got answers to those questions you can start to map out a social media strategy that will bring business to you. You can even use Social Selling to identify and connect with those companies and individuals you want to do business with. However, don’t be fooled into thinking social media marketing will bring business in quickly. This one is a marathon, not a sprint. If you need sales quickly, then you need to consider paid search advertising.

3. Your Online Reputation
reputation management textOnline reputation is quite often perceived as a damage limitation exercise, but it’s not. Managing your online reputation is about your digital presence; making sure that when people look you up, they not only find you, but also find good things about you. I don’t know about you, but if I’m going to meet someone from a business or about to make a purchase from a company I’ve not used before, I look them up on the internet. Then I’ll look up their reviews or recommendations. Now, if I look someone up and they’ve got no reviews, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not good, but if a competitor just below them does have reviews that allow me to see comments on their products or services, it’s quite likely I’ll take a look at them. In addition to setting up alerts and monitoring social media to see, hear and respond to what people are saying about you, you need a strategy for collecting that good customer feedback and publishing it as widely as possible.

To help you get going for 2015, we’ve put together a few quotes we hope will inspire you personally and in business.

If you need help with your marketing strategy for 2015 or need help finding your way around the complex world of digital, get in touch.

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