Staying Relevant in Today’s Fast-Paced Digital World

Here’s Why Tech-Savvy Businesses May Have the Upper Hand

First, get networking

The Vaughan Business Enterprise Centre (VBEC) invites you to participate in the 13th annual Vaughan Business-to-Business EXPO: Selling 3.0 on Feb. 11 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. This year, the EXPO highlights the importance of relationships in a sales strategy. With a focus on “return on relationships” rather than “return on investment,” businesses will hear from industry experts about how to use social selling effectively and efficiently.

Register online, call 905-832-8526 or email VBEC@vaughan.ca.

Now, get selling!

It’s tough for businesses to keep up with the speed of today’s ever-changing digital world. However, those businesses that are more technologically savvy and use the latest digital methods to operate, promote themselves and engage with customers to grow their businesses have the upper hand.

We live in a world where you can buy shoes online in bed at three in the morning, get an insurance quote while lounging by the beach or instantly find opinions, reviews and complaints about virtually every business, product and service within seconds. All of this online information matters to consumers. Research shows that about 57 per cent of a purchase decision is made before the customer even talks to a supplier.

The pace of business has changed. So has the concept of regular business hours. Today’s technology makes it possible for businesses to be accessible to their customers all day every day by email, phone and other automated systems. Technology will continue to grow, accelerate and change business for the foreseeable future. Companies that take advantage of the new tools and technologies will now have an advantage over those competitors who are either late adopters or may enter the market at a later date.

Adapting to the digital world

Companies risk facing many challenges to adapt to new technology. A recent survey conducted by IDC and Salesforce.com found that more than 50 per cent of Canadian businesses with less than 500 employees are adopting technology faster than larger businesses. This doesn’t mean that the challenges are isolated to larger, more established companies. Both new and established businesses of all sizes, bricks and mortar and online, find it harder to generate revenues and compete in this modern marketplace.

The good news? You don’t need to be a tech genius to increase your company’s relevance and effectiveness online. With the right tools, some knowledge, effort and practice, you can find new ways to promote yourself, interact with current customers and attract new potential customers to your organization. The most successful companies continuously learn, grow and adapt to changing technology. Here’s how your business can do the same.

The importance of an effective content marketing strategy

An effective content marketing strategy is important to be able to successfully build authority for you and your company. What does this mean? It means creating and promoting content that showcases your organization’s knowledge, skills, experience and achievements. This allows you to establish yourself as a trusted authority in your industry. By producing intelligent and informative content, you show the world that you know what you’re doing.

You can do this by writing strong, interesting content about your product or service and creating a distribution strategy that is designed to reach your target demographic. This attracts potential customers to your company and your products and services.

By creating high-quality content and promoting it effectively, you can reach customers who are actively looking for your product or service. This is an example of using technology and current trends to position your business in front of your target audience.

But how do you promote your content effectively?

Easy-to-use marketing automation platforms enable businesses to align their digital, social and in-store advertising while empowering them with the ability to send out the right message/content/promotion to the right audience at the right time on the right platforms. With so many rights, how can you go wrong?

The importance of an effective overall digital marketing strategy

Focusing time and effort on an effective digital marketing strategy is one of the main keys to digital success. Rather than throwing ideas at a wall and seeing if any of them stick, it’s crucial that you develop a strategy that is designed to help you meet your specific business goals. You need to have a plan for how you will get your content, your brand and your message out to the world. And you need to be able to adapt this plan to changes in the marketplace.

A web presence that keeps user experience in mind and one that is user friendly and focuses on what the user wants is very important. User experience (UX) encompasses all interactions that a visitor has with a website. It’s important that users have a pleasurable experience with a company website.

How important is it? Think about website load times. A study by Akamai found that 47 per cent of consumers expect a webpage to load in two seconds or less and that 40 per cent of consumers will wait no more than three seconds for a webpage to load before abandoning the site. Ensuring your website loads quickly is critical to effectively engage your visitors.

Website load times aren’t the only factor that matters. The same study found that 79 per cent of online shoppers who experience a dissatisfying website visit are less likely to buy from that site in the future. Providing visitors with a smooth and satisfying digital experience is vital for business success.

It’s also crucial that your website is designed in a way that helps funnel your users towards a purchasing decision, making it easier for them to buy from you. Not only does this increase sales, it also improves a user’s experience with your website and increases the likelihood of them shopping with you again, and referring their friends and family to your site and product – that’s word-of-mouth advertising at its finest!

The fewer hoops that someone has to go through to buy from you will directly translate into more revenue for your business.

If you sell a product, it’s important that you have an ecommerce website. Today, a tremendous amount of shopping is done online. During the 2013 holiday season, online shopping became the number one choice for U.S. shoppers for the first time. A Deloitte survey of more than 5,000 U.S.-based consumers found that 47 per cent of consumers said the Internet would be their favourite shopping destination.

Not having an ecommerce website is shutting out almost half of your potential customers and seriously hurting your business due to the increase of online shopping options that are being made available by your competitors. Consider that Marina Strauss of the Globe and Mail suggested that one of the reasons for Target’s botched Canadian expansion is that “the retailer never ran an ecommerce site” in Canada.

I look forward to networking with you at the Vaughan Business-to-Business Expo!

Steven Tulman
Sales, marketing, leadership enthusiast, speaker, author, investor
Guest speaker at the 13th annual Vaughan Business-to-Business Expo

 

 

Visit the City of Vaughan’s website at www.vaughan.ca.

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