Fail Forward


When you hang around the barbershop long enough, sooner or later you will get a haircut.

 

Your business can’t afford to ignore mobile.

Digital solutions for small business. ted360


In the office. On the train. Walking down the street. At the airport. Everywhere you look, people are glued to their smartphones.

In a relative short time, smartphones have moved from a luxury item to an indispensable part of everyday life and doing business. Mobile usage has skyrocketed and is still growing.

But some businesses still ignore this trend. Despite the overwhelming evidence that mobile is the future, many still view it as a “nice to have.”

A recent survey claimed 25% of CIOs have no mobile strategy. Another study that claims roughly three-quarters of small businesses have no plans to invest in mobile.

Is ignoring mobile a good strategy? Not at all!

Here are just a few reasons your business cannot afford to ignore mobile:

1. You’re ignoring a large percentage of your reachable market

Think about that for a second. The Apple iphone was first introduced in 2007. Since then, the smartphone has become the fastest growing trend in history, surpassing desktop PC usage. Those who ignore mobile will slowly see their market share fade, as their pool of prospective clients shrinks.

“For a business to “ignore” mobile is accepting the risk of “ignoring” over 50% of your reachable market. Ignoring such a large percentage of your reachable market will erode your market share while your competition (who understands the power of mobile apps) engages with your current and future customers. Today people want it now; so if you cannot provide the experience to satisfy this desire your competition will.” Tim Montgomery, Timit Solutions

2. You’re missing out on sales

One of the biggest advantages of the smartphone: You can purchase nearly anything at any time. From a business perspective, that’s huge.

Think about it. Before smartphones, what happened when you needed to make a purchase? You had to remember what you needed and buy it later. Then, you’d get to the store and forget what you needed. Or, you’d get home and forget to place the order online.

Now, you can make that purchase instantly, whenever you think about it. As explained below, this simplicity has led to more mobile-based purchases.

“Part of mobile’s strength is that more purchases are being made online. While 78% of local searches result in a purchase, in Q1 2015 smartphone conversion rates and revenue per visit increased 135.7% and 147%, respectively. Tablets also exhibited healthy growth in conversion rates and purchases, while desktop rates declined by 12.1% and 8.9%, respectively.

“However, It’s not necessarily new that mobile is king in the field of ecommerce. In the 4th quarter of 2013, 34% of mobile users conducted searches on products they intended to buy, and in 2014 companies like Amazon and Apple reported mobile conversion rates anywhere from 7-12%. Whether it’s through “impulse buys” or studious research, consumers seem to respond to something about mobile’s ability to make purchases, and investing in mobile represents perhaps the most outstanding opportunity for businesses to sell more products.” — Raphael Iscar, Agendize

Now, what happens if your business doesn’t sell products online? Or, what happens if your analytics show that most of your sales come in through desktop PCs? Does that mean you can safely ignore mobile? No!

As explained below, mobile is often the starting point for those researching solutions. They may not purchase online, but they begin their search on a mobile device. Do you really want to ignore that?

“Case study after case study continues to prove that mobile efforts are more likely to attract first touch visitors who are doing research, but not yet ready to buy your product / contact your company for services. They’re slacking off at work, or messing around while watching TV – they’re halfway engaged, but not ready to ‘convert.’ Does that mean they should be ignored? Absolutely not!

“These are the same users who will later sit down in front of their laptop, and go back to your site for a second look – do some research about your reviews or competitors, and then hopefully buy – but ONLY if they were compelled enough to do so after their first pass. If your site isn’t mobile friendly, navigating your tiny menu or trying to get past an annoying slider is going to result in them hitting the back button and forgetting that you existed.

“It’s easy for small budget companies to put all their focus into desktop simply because it has metrics showing it produces conversions / revenue. By putting more focus back on mobile, most businesses will start to see the top of their funnel fill up with prospects, and the eventual trickle down is much stronger than what they would receive from a desktop only angle.” — Craig Streaman

3. Search engines will penalize your site

So, we learned in the last point that more and more product research begins on a mobile device. What happens if you don’t have a mobile-friendly site? Will prospects just have to navigate your desktop site on their smartphone?
No. They’ll never find you.

Google recently rolled out an algorithm change that penalizes sites that aren’t mobile friendly. What does that mean? As explained below, that means prospects are unlikely to find your site via a mobile search.

“One extremely important reason businesses can’t afford to ignore mobile is that they could be missing out on potential customers looking for them in search engines such as Google. All businesses need to be visible in search engines – when was the last time you were looking for something online and didn’t head to Google?

“A staggering proportion of searches are done from mobile devices now, so Google prefers to show website results that are mobile-friendly. The higher up the search results page your site is, the more visible you are to customers, and the more likely they are to click on your page. Having a mobile-friendly site is an important factor in the race to get to the top of the results.” — Blake Connoy, Helpling

4. You harm employee productivity and data access

“Businesses can’t afford to ignore mobile. Across nearly all industries, recent studies show that employees are increasingly relying on personal mobile devices for professional purposes, largely due to the changing nature of work. More than ever, it’s essential to have client information readily accessible, because work is getting done everywhere—not just at the office.” — Asaf Cidon, Sookasa

Last year, Gartner estimated that 40% of employees in large companies used their personal devices for work. Beyond that, most companies now provide smartphones to those employees who need them.

The problem is, these smartphones are usually underutilized. Most often, business smartphones are glorified email-checking devices. In reality, smartphones provide amazing potential…which often goes unused.

For instance, salespeople have their smartphones while out on the road. What if they need to access product or client data from their phone, or submit an order? Executives have their smartphones with them at all times. What if they need to access reports or budget data from their mobile device?

More and more, businesses can’t afford to ignore mobile’s potential for their employees. Delivering mobile-friendly versions of your business applications improves data access and employee productivity.

5. It makes your business look out of touch

When the internet first rolled around, many businesses ignored it. They viewed it much like some view mobile–as an unnecessary luxury. As the internet gained popularity, those businesses only looked more and more out of touch with reality. These days, a business without a web presence is unheard of.

We’re seeing the same trend with mobile. Some businesses ignore the trend, thinking it doesn’t apply to them. This approach will only make their company appear out of touch. Who wants to do business with a company that’s stuck in the past?

“The proliferation of mobile devices ensure that mobile is here to stay and is a part of the business landscape moving forward. To ignore this is simply showing a lack of understanding of how the landscape of business has changed.” — Robert Manigold, Codekoalas

6. You miss out on the social sharing economy

The rise of social media introduced the sharing economy, which revolutionized business marketing. If your business creates interesting articles, videos, or other types of content, it can easily spread via social channels. The rise of social means your business can gain popularity outside of traditional advertising methods.

But, there’s one important fact to note: Most social sharing occurs from mobile devices. As explained below, ignoring mobile harms your company’s ability to spread on social sites.

“There is an absolute massive risk to ignoring the rise of mobile marketing. With the majority of social media accessed through mobile devices and a rising trend towards accessing websites through mobile, not having a mobile optimized site can turn away a large percentage of possible customers. People are also reading more articles on mobile than ever before. This means that any blogs or content that you push through your company is missing its full audience if it doesn’t show up on mobile.” — Deborah Sweeney, MyCorporation

7. Your customer communication will suffer

Smartphones open the door to an ideal communication method: SMS/text messages. SMS messages provide an inexpensive communication method that reaches your customers immediately. Now, just to be clear–I’m not saying businesses should start sending marketing messages via SMS. That’s a sure way to anger your prospects and customers.
Rather, you can use text messages as a way to get important data into your customer’s hands.

For instance, I’ve seen energy companies embrace SMS messages for outage notifications. When outages occur, they send SMS messages to let customers know they’re aware of the problem, and when the problem will be resolved. This saves their help desk from fielding a flood of calls from angry customers.

That’s just one example, but just imagine the possibilities. When you ignore mobile, you ignore a fast and effective way to deliver important information to your customers.

“Everyone has a cellphone, and everyone texts, so moving operations to mobile wherever possible is the only logical step for businesses. Customer experience especially has to evolve to incorporate the shift from emails and calls to instant messaging/texting. With the rise of mobile, consumers’ patience has decreased – they expect contact with a real human to occur in real-time.

“To ignore mobile is to ignore the most inexpensive, effective, and efficient channel through which businesses can communicate with their customers. Customers are growing increasingly dissatisfied with email contact and call centers: they’re slow and likely don’t provide the assistance necessary as an issue develops. The biggest challenge in adopting mobile is how to make sure your business can handle responding to instant messages with the speed customers expect while maintaining accuracy and ensuring compliance with company policies.” — Adi Bittan, Owner Listens

 

Digital technology is good for small & midsize business

Digital solutions for small business. ted360


A new report by Salesforce and Deloitte, finds that small businesses that embrace digital technology benefit by increasing both customers and revenue.

The report (SMBs in the digital race for the customer) commissioned by US cloud computing company Salesforce and undertaken by Deloitte, is based on a survey of over 500 New Zealand and Australian businesses and found that small-to-medium-sized businesses that embrace digital technologies such as mobile platforms, social media and cloud computing (no surprise there).

Here are some of the key findings:

How investment in digital services helps SMBs win customers and generate revenue

  • Each 1% increase in spending on online services leads to a 2.9% increase in annual revenue growth (an average AU$100,000 a year among businesses surveyed)
  • Adding two extra communications channels provides a 4.8% boost to annual revenue growth (average of almost $160,000 a year)
  • Every 10% increase in customer relationship management software usage leads to a 1% increase in annual revenue growth (average of $30,000 a year)
  • SMBs which use social media in a wider variety of ways – for advertising, for customer service, for targeted offers – generate increased revenue of more than $30,000 a year

Trends in investment

  • SMBs are responding to an increasingly digital marketplace by investing in IT. In the last year, the average SMB in Australia and New Zealand spent 6% of their average total revenue – $144,000 of $2.5 million – on IT
  • SMBs plan on increasing spending across all three categories of IT – hardware, software and online services – but their spending is growing at very different rates. SMBs’ hardware spend is set to rise by 30%, software by 34%, and online services by only 14%
  • Australian and New Zealand SMBs are embracing hardware spending over online services to a much greater extent than larger players in international markets – for example, planned growth in online services spending falls well below global business projections of a 19% annual increase
  • This could be a missed opportunity for SMBs. This report finds that, after controlling for business size and industry, each additional 1% increase in online services spending leads to a 2.6% increase in the proportion of sales conducted via digital channels, and a 2.2% increase in digital lead generation. SMBs with higher spending on online services also report a lower cost of obtaining new customers

Why digital is key to customer loyalty and retention

  • The Salesforce and Deloitte report found half of respondents rated retaining existing customers as the number one factor for business success, yet only 15% of small businesses have the ability to personalise the online experiences of customers
  • Small businesses are facing a more discerning and critical customer than ever. 89% of consumers have stopped doing business with a company after experiencing poor customer service. Given it takes 12 positive experiences to make up for a negative one, small businesses have a challenge on their hands
  • Almost half (48%) of SMBs with no digital tools or transactions do not know what proportion of their sales are to new or existing customers. Not surprisingly, the lack of even the most basic data about their business and customers are associated with a longer than average response time to customer enquiries and complaints

Becoming a digital business is worth the change

Digital solutions for small business. ted360


Digital Transformation might sound like an overused buzzword.

But embracing digital tools in the right way can help your business achieve real results.

The truth is, for a lot of organizations, the digital transformation has already taken place but that doesn’t mean you can’t still reap the rewards of implementing digital technologies and innovations in your business.

Let’s look a bit closeer at five of the benefits you can realize by embracing digital technology…

Improve the customer experience

A good customer experience starts with your internal team. The more efficient your internal processes are, the easier it will be to deliver an excellent standard of customer care. A recent study carried out on behalf of Accenture found that 63 percent of the organisations surveyed planned to improve their online customer experience this year.

The average customer will interact with your organisation through more than one channel. Ensuring you deliver a consistent service across every channel can be challenging, but it’s something a digital transformation, driven by the customer, can help you achieve.

Streamline operations

Adopting digital technologies can help you increase the automation, usability and level of collaboration in your processes. Project resource management software is one example of a digital tool that allows you to streamline your operations by seeing the impact of a new workload on your existing projects and resources in real time. You then know exactly what extra resources you require, when and at what cost. The result is improved decision making and streamlined projects that are delivered on time and within budget.

Increase sales

According to a global study conducted by the MIT Center for Digital Business, ‘digitally mature’ firms outperformed their industry competitors on multiple financial metrics. Not only do they generate 9 percent more revenue from existing assets, but they also outperform their peers by 26 percent in terms of profitability.

While the amount of sales that are made is clearly important, digital technology also gives firms more information about how those sales are made. This allows business to market to their customers more effectively and make the most of their spend.

Create a forward-thinking culture

In an age of such rapid technological change, businesses that are reluctant to move with the times and embrace new innovations will not be able to survive. By taking the initiative to change big things within the company, you are cultivating an environment and a culture that is open to change. This type of culture, where change, innovation and improvements are encouraged, is the type of forward-thinking culture that will help your business and employees thrive.

Boost employee productivity

Implementing the right digital tools can help to streamline entire business processes and empower your workforce. Digital tools can improve the flow of data and ease collaboration across departments and locations. The result is a reduction in the number of delays, mistakes and tasks that fall through the cracks. Employees will be able to use their time more effectively, resolve problems more quickly and ultimately boost their productivity.

Why have your competitors embraced digital marketing?

Digital solutions for small business. ted360


It is important for businesses to realize that integrated digital marketing is not just a fad, but rather, an evolution in marketing.

Sure, one-off ad campaigns still exist, but they are no longer the cornerstone of ROI that they once were, back in the days of Don Draper when newspaper and radio slots were all the rage.

To succeed in today’s techonomy, businesses need to adopt sophisticated marketing strategies (via @SynecoreTech). But where does your company even start? Digital marketing can be overwhelming, and it’s changing every single day. But it’s also important to realize that if you don’t change, you’ll be left in the dust and your competitors will have the upper hand. In this post, we start to explore some of the benefits of digital marketing

THE BENEFITS OF DIGITAL MARKETING

What will digital marketing actually do for your business? CJG Digital Marketing put together these 10 Benefits of Digital Marketing for companies that are just getting started in the digital world:

  1. Digital Marketing Connects You with Consumers on the Internet
  2. Digital Marketing Generates Higher Conversion Rates
  3. Digital Marketing Saves You Money
  4. Digital Marketing Enables Real-Time Customer Service
  5. Digital Marketing Connects You with the Mobile Consumer
  6. Digital Marketing Helps Generate Higher Revenues
  7. Digital Marketing Delivers Higher ROI from Your Campaigns
  8. Digital Marketing Keeps You at Par with Competitors
  9. Digital Marketing Can Help You Compete with Large Corporations
  10. Digital Marketing Prepares You for the Internet of Things (IofT)

As much as 72% of consumers are already connecting with brands through their various digital marketing channels and activities according to reports from Mashable. Most businesses are adapting digital marketing strategies – and those that don’t will likely be forced to in the short term or will be forced out of the space by their competitors.

Digital marketing budgets are increasing:

It’s no secret that companies are spending more and more on digital marketing activities every year. But why? These digital channels prove to be an important way to connect with consumers, and consumers are demanding that companies meet them where they are: email, Web, and social for starters.

Marketers are investing in the customer experience to drive business advantage and profitable revenue growth, according to a survey of marketing executives by Gartner, Inc. The survey found that marketing budgets remained healthy in 2014, with, on average, companies spending 10.2 percent of their annual 2014 revenue on overall marketing activities, with 50 percent of companies planning an increase in 2015. Digital marketing spending averaged one-quarter of the marketing budget in 2014. The survey found that of the 51 percent of companies who plan to increase their digital marketing budget in 2015, the average increase will be 17 percent. (via @Gartner_Inc)

Are you just getting started?

When something works well in the world of big business, it’s usually just a matter of time before smaller companies start adopting the same strategy or some scaled-down version of it. With digital marketing, that process is already well underway.

In a recent survey by Inc. Magazine, the publication asked participants “Which of the following tools/solutions does your firm currently use in its digital marketing strategy? Which are found to be the most effective?”