While 2013 may be called a lot of things — the year of responsive design, or Pinterest, or mobile apps — one thing is clear, in 2013, business success is all tied up in digital strategy.
As the online world advances, more and more media are competing for priority placing in your digital strategy. So what should really take pride of place in your business?
1. Going mobile
In 2013, mobile will become even more important, as 48% of Australians aged over 16 now own smart phones. With tablets reaching a forecasted 39% of Australian households and internet audiences more than 16 million people, if your business isn’t significantly investing in mobile, now is the time. So where should you be investing?
- Mobile sites: 24% of Australian smart phone users take their phones to the shops so they can research products. Unless your website can be viewed effectively on mobile devices, you need to consider a dedicated mobile site. When planning your budget, this is one area you don’t want to hold back on. Work with digital specialists and make budget allowances for consumer focus groups as part of a user centric design, web development and implementation, user testing and ongoing updates.
- Mobile apps: to compliment your website and mobile site or provide access to a particular function of your service, consider a simple mobile app. In 2013, apps won’t just be necessary to build your brand and enable simpler interaction with clients, they are crucial because your clients and customers expect them. Time spent accessing the Internet has increased on average 20% since 2010 — so if you’re not mobile, you’re missing out.
2. Social media
Australian consumers, and in fact, consumers from all over the world, are demanding brands that are more personal and interactive. The rapid growth of social media — and the 62% of Australian internet users who access it — has provided businesses with a solution to this challenge. But how should you be using sites like Facebook and Twitter to make social media work for you?
- Get the basics right. With 97% of social media users now accessing Facebook, ensuring you have your strategy for this site, Twitter and LinkedIn right is a must. If you haven’t previously used social media for business, start simple, create a social media policy for your company and employees and remember everything you do and say online is a reflection on your brand.
- Use it as your new testimonials page. We’ve all thought it - some web testimonial pages seem a little contrived, but social media doesn’t lie. Seventy-one per cent of online Aussies have read brand interaction feedback from other consumers online. If you concentrate on delivering great service and equally great products, encourage your clients and customers to let their peers know, using your social media company page.
- Become a screen star! Video is an important part of your online strategy, and having corporate videos online promotes interaction and conversation. The time Australians spend online watching videos has increased to on average three and a quarter hours per month, meaning your company has a valuable opportunity to get in front of clients — if you invest in a video that is interesting, brief and relevant.
Fifty-three per cent of Australians aged over 15, shopped online in 2012. It’s almost worth taking a moment to let that sink in. It means half the population, when considering at least one of their purchases, found it easier, cheaper and more convenient to go to an online store than walk into a major retailer in an Australian shopping centre. But what it really means is that any business selling a product that does not have an eCommerce site is potentially looking at extinction if it doesn’t catch up. Investing in eCommerce is critical, so what should you be doing?
- Fifty-seven per cent of smartphone users saw an ad on TV and used a mobile device to access the internet for further research. With so many people now able to access the internet on the go, if your eCommerce site hasn’t become an mCommerce site, you could be missing out on sales.
- eCommerce isn’t just online. Any good eCommerce strategy considers the support customers will need pre, during and post sale. More than 20% of Australian online shoppers browsed or shopped between 6pm and 10pm. In 2013, your digital strategy needs to ensure your support services are operating when your site is busiest. Invest in good support operators and you’re investing in your customers’ experience.
- Think about website speed. Processing sales and product information can take time. Almost half Australian online shoppers will leave a page if it takes more than 15 seconds to load. While connection does play a part in page loading, you can contribute to efficiency by ensuring your web pages are designed to load quickly and efficiently.
The Australian marketplace, like the global marketplace, has changed significantly in even the last five years and as a business you can’t afford to overlook a thorough digital strategy. While this article addresses some areas that should definitely be business focal points, there are so many more elements that are vital to a successful digital strategy.
As a digital specialist, we work with clients to fully assess their online needs from mobile, web development and implementation, social media strategy through to a range of other online marketing tools.
For more information about developing a successful digital strategy, please contact Platform on (02) 9911 7788.