Factors That Will Define Digital Strategy – 2013

As digital technologies continues to evolve at an accelerating pace, over the next few years we will see a complete transformation in the way people live their lives driven by the internet, smart phones and other mobile devices. And all this is going to impact the way organizations do business i,e their digital strategy.

As per world’s top notch digital strategy consultants and leaders it is the time to integrate all digital channel together to create a digital strategy and deliver a digital solution that will provide an optimal brand experience. According to a report by ZenithOptimedia, Internet advertising is forecasted to grow by 14.6% in 2013, while traditional media will only grow by 1.7%. This exemplifies the world wide adoption of digital technologies. From a perspective of a digital agency – 38% of agencies rate mobile optimization and content marketing as their top priorities this year as per a report by econsultancy.

There is no doubt that consumers are becoming more and more selective in making their buying decisions. Buyers chose the time and the channel through which they are going to interact with the brand, so it is getting increasingly difficult for brands to know how to best engage with potential buyers. Given below are some of the critical factors that will define the next generation digital solutions – from a digital strategy consulting point of view.

Social Data: One billion users in Facebook and half a billion in Twitter, so there is no denying the fact that social networks have firmly established themselves within the mainstream of digital marketing. The sheer number of users/audiences is impossible to ignore, thus 2013 will see social media optimization occupy a mammoth share of the overall marketing budget. But the real challenge for marketing experts and CMOs is to justify the ROI by realizing the value of the social data, customer insights and conversations that the social networking channels generate.

Activities like creating social media campaigns, building communities, creating shareable content, blogs, enabling social media functionality in corporate websites all will drive business value to organizations including generating referral traffic and improving brand engagement. In 2013 we are likely to see more adoption of social media solutions/monitoring tools/listening tools that will enable organizations to measure ROI and the business value that these initiatives bring to the organizations.

Search: Last year we saw huge number of searches in search engines, as the volume of searches increases, we see most of all search clicks coming from an organic link than from paid links. This means is that with more searches being made year-on-year, the volume of paid search clicks will also increase, which in turn means more money was invested in search advertising. Google, Yahoo, Bing are the powerhouses of search. But beign said so YouTube is now a highly popular search engine – with over 800 million unique monthly users. According to comScore, the total U.S. Internet audience watched 39 billion videos in September 2012, and U.S. Internet users watched online video content for an average of 23.3 hours for the month. According to YouTube, more than 4 billion videos are watched through their platform every day. Customers demand engaging videos which addressed their needs. The video strategy can be a game changer in 2013.

Mobile: Gartner predicts that by 2013 mobile phones will overtake PCs as the most common Web access device worldwide and that by 2015 over 80% of the handsets sold in mature markets will be smart phones. Marketers must recognize the unstoppable rise and development of mobile technologies and focus on strategies to leverage them.

Emails: With the increase of social media, content marketing and mobile usage, email marketing is also growing at an accelerating rate. 2013 will see even bigger adoption of email marketing by businesses.

Big data: This is the latest digital marketing buzzword, deriving meaning full customer insights from the plethora of information available will be the key.

No More Excuses for Small Business Owners for Not Growing Their Businesses

When talking about business related issues, solutions, and technologies, you will almost always group businesses as small and large. While the separation is there, it won’t be wrong to say that in a modern where digital technologies prevail, it should not be a problem for small businesses to compete with large ones. The large corporations have the advantage of having more resources without a doubt. However, there was not a time in the past when growing and expanding was as easy for small businesses as it is today.

Digital Marketing for Everyone

Digital marketing starts with a website today. When it comes to website designs, more money does not always mean a better design. If you are working with the right people and are clear about your requirements, your website can be just as impressive as the website of a large business. In fact, internet users today are more in favor of simplistic websites with a focus on the information they are looking for rather than the glitter and sparkle.

As for social media marketing, there is no difference in the size of the market that small and large businesses have to target. They are both targeting global audiences and how good they are at it is not defined by how much money they put in their marketing efforts. Social media marketing is free marketing, so there is no excuse as to who has more resources.

And if you believe that the large corporations make it to the top of the search engine results, you always have a better and more effective niche to compete within – local. With local search engine optimization, small businesses can compete with the medium and large businesses head to head. In simple words, regardless of the size of the business, everyone has access to the same market and same people today. What matters is who does it better.

Digital Solutions Are Available Specifically for Small Businesses

When it comes to software solutions for businesses, the focus is not on large corporations anymore. Today, all types of software solutions have their versions built specifically for small businesses. These digital solutions allow small businesses to cut down their costs and make use of the same technologies that large companies are using.

Take the example of CRMs. At one point, there was a notion that customer relationship management software are only for large businesses, but the things have changed quite a bit today. Web-based CRM are a revelation for small businesses. First, these CRMs provide great marketing, database, customer service and sales solutions to the businesses. Second, they are unbelievably affordable. If you own a small business, you don’t even have to worry about software integration, hardware compatibility, updates, and upgrades, etc. Keep in mind that with in-house solutions, these are the costs that make it difficult for small businesses to grow financially.

With web-based solutions designed for small businesses, you can now have access to a world-class CRM at a fractional monthly or yearly cost. Other affordable digital solutions available include invoicing software, bookkeeping software, payroll software, etc.

Customers Have the Power in Hands

The Internet has empowered customers like never before. You can’t say that just because a business is in multiple countries, it will be impressive enough for people to buy its products. The amazing thing about today’s economy is the power that customers have in their hands. Online reviewing websites, YouTube videos, blogs, etc. are among many platforms that allow customers to know more about businesses. In fact, even Google now puts business ratings and customer reviews right within its search results.

What this means is that when a customer searches for a business today, he/she is already able to see the reputation of the product they are going to buy. Furthermore, negative reviews from customers can greatly affect the sales of business, giving other businesses a chance to make their name.

Furthermore, it’s not just the quality of products that matters today. In the modern world, businesses are competing for better customer experience. If your business can give customers the experience they are looking for, your growth is inevitable despite the small size of your business.

Funding Is No Issue for Startups

It is always the starting days that matter the most for business. When you are a startup, you are looking for ways to fund your business so you can materialize your idea and polish your product/service according to the requirements of the customers. Finding a platform where you could connect with investors was a challenge in the past. This is not an issue anymore.

With like our websites, it is easier than ever for small businesses to get in touch with investors and get the right amount of investment that sets them on the path of growth. These are websites that act as a bridge between investors from all around the world and startups. With traditional banks and lenders, you are only limited to a local audience of investors. When you can’t find an investor in your local market, your hopes are almost dead.

With online funding websites, all you have to do is create a convincing pitch that explains the viability of your startup to the investors and its scope. Your pitch along with all the necessary information that you think investors should see goes on the website where it is visible to hundreds and thousands of investors. If you have done your homework and have a team of right professionals on board, getting the right investment is just a matter of hours or days.

Final Words

You can see that a small business can overcome almost all of their challenges much more efficiently today. Starting a business has become so easy that even students can be entrepreneurs today. They can lay the foundation for a business using just their pocket money. From connecting with the right investors to cutting down operational costs, all can be done from the comfort of a person’s home. The only thing that makes the difference today is if you are confident enough to take the first step.

Home-Based Business

People are funny about money. If they have been receiving something for nothing and then they are told that they will have to be charged for it, don’t expect them to be your paying customers.

Instead of being grateful for the services or the accommodations that you had been letting them use for free, more often than not, they will be offended that you are going to charge them for the same things that you were letting them have gratis.

It’s one thing to open your home to friends and strangers and let them enjoy your hospitality, but it’s another thing to start charging them for it.

When they are your guests, they can be very complimentary about you, your home, your furnishings, your refreshments, and/or your services. And why not? They aren’t paying anything for it. But someday you might get tired of playing hostess with the mostest and you might want to get paid for something that, up until this point, you’ve been giving away for free.

This is when you discover whether what you have is worth something to the people who have been enjoying it. That’s not to say that what you have been giving away isn’t of value; it’s more to say that people don’t want to pay for something they have gotten for free.

Before the Internet came into our lives, most people bought books or borrowed them from the library. Nowadays, you don’t have to pay a penny for your books because thousands of books, on any subject and any genre, are offered for free on the Internet. Some of them may even be by your favorite authors or bestsellers that are given away as promotions or borrowed as part of a membership club. But once people get into the habit of not paying for something, it’s next to impossible to get them to start paying for it.

Small town newspapers may be the exception. They have been known to get their start by not charging anything for the first year, getting people in the habit of wanting to read their newspaper before charging them for it. And it worked for most of the newspapers.

But personal services and home entertainment are different. It’s almost like being on a celebrity’s A-list for years and then being demoted to their B-list. People take it as a personal offense and would rather go somewhere else, even if it’s less desirable, than part with a single penny to give to you.

Before you go to the expense of making home improvements in order to start your home-based business, start charging people for the things they’ve been receiving for free. Get a realistic assessment of your customer base and your future finances before you spend a lot of money on renovations.