As a small or mid-sized business owner, how often have you wondered if your web site design strategies, and other online marketing activities, are good enough to compete with the “BIG guys”? Well, research is undisputable that investment in online marketing technologies has a direct correlation to business success and increased sales.
The question that most SMEs have is: What technologies should you ask your website design agency to implement, in order to make yourself more competitive? Here we’ll explore how web technologies can make even the smallest of businesses more competitive, and we’ll also talk about a few MUST HAVE online technologies especially for SMEs.
The Essential Five
The first thing that you must understand, about leveraging internet technologies, is that it doesn’t take hundreds of thousands of Euro web design and online marketing investment to achieve competitive advantage. In fact, most SMEs can start with just a few hundred euros initially, and immediately start competing with the big players in their industry sector.
So, where should that investment be targeted in order to get the biggest bang for your buck? Read on to find out.
1. Your Website
At the heart of your online presence, is your website. Good web design, content planning and layout is about creating a website that’s dynamic, responsive and interactive. That’s what will help you drive traffic to your site, and to stay ahead of the competition. You will need to sit down with your web design company and discuss your site. Look at your competitor's websites and think about your target market and what they need and expect in terms of content , usability and image.
2. Social Media
While the Big Guys spend tens of thousands on marketing, with a good social media strategy – costing less than a 10th – you can “out market” them quickly and easily. A good web design agency will know exactly how to do that without you having to break the bank. You should get involved here if you can – as you social media posts and posting can be done for a fraction of the cost of you getting a company to do all the work for you. Get one or two of your staff trained up on adding social media content so that they are happy to do it each day.
3. Content Management System (CMS)
You have lots on your plate – things that need to be done in order to run your business. So why take on content management too? Content is KING online, and it needs to be managed properly, if you wish to compete with the big players in your domain.
Speak with your web design team and ask about implementing a good CMS. You’ll save hundreds of hours in time, and you’ll produce amazing content more frequently than you ever thought possible. Some website have no CMS; some have a poor CMS and some have a superb one. You need the superb CMS – one that is quick and easy to use and one that you have been trained up on.
4. Proximity Marketing
Today, smart phones and mobile devices are what drive over 80% of sales activity. If you have a physical store, office or shop, then integrating a good proximity marketing solution, as part of your overall web design strategy, will help you draw in local business into your premises. These technologies alert potential customers, who may be in the proximity of your store, that the goods and services they usually shop for online, are available at a site nearby (i.e. your shop). As a result, anyone passing by will receive an alert on his/her mobile device, and they can drop in and shop with you.
5. Online Payment Processing
If you haven’t been set up to collect online payments as yet, then you need to speak with your web design agency immediately, about implementing a secure online payment processing system. With over 75% of shoppers first looking online to make a purchase, if your website isn’t equipped to accept payment online, then they’ll just move to your competitor.
While good website design is a critical part of being competitive in today’s digital age, the other supporting technologies discussed above are equally important to gain competitive advantage. So, how do you go about implementing each of them? It all boils down to good planning.
Having a Plan
Now that you are familiar with the important website and internet marketing components to invest in, it’s time to put these technologies into action so you can get more competitive. And there lies yet another pitfall that many SMEs succumb to.
While information and resources are critical for online success, it’s not just knowledge and money that you need, in order to make yourself competitive – it’s also a strong and practical implementation plan. Without a good online marketing strategy, you could end up spending hundreds or thousands – and get no return at all.
Before you invest a single penny in online marketing technologies, you need to have a detailed discussion with your web design agency and discuss:
- Which of these technologies makes sense for your business to implement?
- In which order should they be implemented?
- What timelines are attached to each step?
- How much should be allocated in terms of time and budget to each?
- How will we measure success once you have each step implemented?
For instance, if you aren’t in the direct marketing business, then Online Payment Processing might not be for you. On the other hand, regardless of what business you are in, having great web design and a strong Social Media presence can do a lot to fend off any competition from the Big Guys.
If you have any questions on the above call MYIT on +353-1-6216866 or email firstname.lastname@example.org