Market Insights

Expert advice: How to go digital

In 2017, businesses that don’t become digital savvy will be left behind. Getting online and adopting a digital-centric approach can be made easy with the right ecommerce services.

21 Jun 2018

We asked business experts to share their advice on how SMEs can find the right digital opportunities for them.

Tim Hughes, social media strategist at Digital Leadership Associates, says the right online presence will help you communicate to more customers:

SMEs need to “go digital” as it enables them to get closer to customers, it also allows companies to acquire customers at a lower cost than more traditional methods. Your message needs to resonate with your target customer and give your prospect insight. Telling them something they don’t know allows you to stand out and it will help build a bond of trust.

Mark Wright, winner of The Apprentice in 2014, digital marketing specialist and founder of Climb Online, says an up to date digital strategy is critical but true business leadership is an everyday effort:

Adapt to digital – We now live in a world where there are more mobile subscriptions than people, where voice search is becoming a day-to-day norm, and where video content accounts for over a third of all online activity. So as we move into 2017 ask yourself this question, and answer it honestly: ‘How up to date with digital is your current marketing strategy?’ If you’re doing none of the above, now is the time to start.

Innovation is key – We all think our business boasts a number of USPs, but how groundbreaking are they when compared to your industry sector? Go back to the drawing board, inject some innovation and think about how you can really differentiate yourself from your key competitors. If they are all doing something over here – do something over there, and do it better.

Learn more, earn more – The main similarity between the world’s top businessmen is that they all take the time to read and enhance their knowledge. Thus, the message here is clear and simple – to earn more, you have to learn more. Aside from providing a fresh insight into business, reading relevant and inspirational material will motivate and inspire you to work harder and smarter – where soon enough you will be reaping the rewards.

David Bain, founder and podcast host at Digital Marketing Radio, advises SMEs to stand out in a crowded market by finding a content style that works for them:

Don’t try to be everywhere. Find a social network that’s right for you and your business and find a style of producing content that resonates with you and stick to it, focusing on quality and building up one-on-one relationships that are right for you and your business.

The advice used to be “be everywhere”. And that may have worked when the internet was in its youth and there were many less online publishing opportunities, and the competition weren’t as strong. However, nowadays the quality of the content that is produced by your competitors is high, and you shouldn’t be spreading yourself too thin. Find a style of content that you love producing and can do a great job at. For me that’s podcasting – for you it might be videos, special reports or something else. Have that laser focus and stick with it. Just don’t try to be everywhere!

Dave Chaffey, editor of Smart Insights, recommends SMEs avoid trialling every new technology and instead commit to the one new tool that will have maximum impact on their business:

My top tip for 2017 is to properly assess the latest digital trends in marketing at the start of the year, see which you can properly integrate into your strategy, and plan how to implement them. Use customer personas and assess your brand positioning to do an in-depth review into which new tech trends, such as Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Chabot’s and Artificial Intelligence, will be useful to your business.

Once you’ve created this strategy for which new tech trends to adopt in 2017, stick to it. Every year we see new trends emerge which can all too often be fads, trends that look like the next big thing only to collapse into obscurity. Without fail marketers will see their inboxes and newsfeeds fill up with articles titled ‘how marketers can use [X new trend that’s probably a fad] to boost their [insert metric]’, and then many try to jump on the bandwagon and forget their wider marketing plan.

Make 2017 the year you properly strategise how to use the latest technologies in marketing, and not the year you chase every shiny object only to look back and wonder what you were thinking.

Susan Dolan, Google expert at SEO Web Marketing, believes relevant content and a smooth user experience will keep customers coming back to your site:

From an online perspective, it is of course all about the user experience so ensure your website loads as fast as it possibly can. This can be obtained in a variety of ways. For example, leverage browser caching, optimise your images, combine JavaScript and CSS Files in the ‘above-the-fold’ content where possible. Pleasing the user in turn pleases Google.

Put the most informative and interesting content on your site in your News/Blog section to keep your audience up to date with your industry. Use clever visuals to make it more shareable across the social media platforms.


Find out how Worldpay can help your business grow in 2017.