By Gayle Carpenter, Director of Creative Agency, Sparkloop. 2020 has been something of an economic sledgehammer and most businesses were not prepared for it. The pandemic has therefore damaged or destroyed companies globally in just a few short months.
But there are ways of salvaging your business from the wreckage if you are prepared to pivot your strategy, stick your neck out and re-evaluate. One of the most obvious places to start, is having a good look at your website. Most businesses have a website. Fact. But what role does it play in the overall strategy of your business and when did you last give it any attention?
We have also seen many start-ups emerge online who have seen Lock-down as an opportunity so we need to keep a close eye on this new set – who knows, these may be the disruptors of the future.
As your business is probably going through one of the toughest and most challenging times you have experienced, you might need to blow the cobwebs off your website as it could be what actually saves your business. In my experience, it is commonplace for business owners to invest in the development of their website and wider digital brand presence and then neglect to update it for weeks, months or even years.
Technology is continuing to advance at a significant pace, and added to that, a new demographic of consumers has shifted to online shopping over the last few months, so your website is more important than ever.
In a recent survey, over 500 Senior Representatives from UK SMEs were surveyed to evaluate their digital brand presence and what it means to them. This included analysis of how often respondents reviewed their website, with core findings as follows:
▪ 55% of SMEs believe their competitors have a better digital presence that they do.
▪ The majority of SMEs [62%] don’t use tech apps like chatbots or other digital channels to increase engagement.
▪ Nearly one quarter of SMEs [23.8%] ‘rarely’ review their website, which means they are likely to miss vital technology updates.
▪ Only 18% of respondents review their website and digital brand presence weekly
▪ Only 29% of respondents review their website and digital brand presence monthly
▪ Over half of respondents review their website and digital brand presence at a minimum of every 2 months, with 16% advising they ‘rarely’ reviewed it
When investing time, money and resource into refining their company website and wider brand presence, SMEs need to ensure they have maximised available technologies and alternative digital platforms to increase user engagement, ranging from website features like chatbots, through to popular social media platforms like Instagram or LinkedIn.
Ultimately, creating a seamless, digital user experience will increase the likelihood of converting target audiences into customers, enabling businesses to drive consistent growth.
However, this is not a standalone job. The key is to ‘build, connect and repeat’.
Evaluate and Improve
When integrating new technologies, it is important for businesses to regularly analyse what is and isn’t working, so they can make continuous improvements that will increase online conversions and support resulting business growth.
Despite society living in an ‘always on’ environment, and being connected to one another, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, too many business owners neglect the fact that, regardless of sector, their website is their shop window and is something that can make or break their brand.
Just like you would review, amend, and update your shop window, you need to review, amend and update your website and wider digital presence regularly, so it accurately reflects and supports the continued growth of your brand.
This is now more important than ever before, with target audiences becoming increasingly reliant on digital platforms, whilst also demanding more from them as standard.
To back this up, a recent report from Shopify concluded the following:
85% of consumers have shopped online since the pandemic, compared to 65% who have
shopped in-store while 79% of consumers said they will shop online regularly in six months’ time.
Evolution not Completion
A review of your digital brand presence and development of a company website should never be perceived as a standalone project with a start and finish date.
Instead, it should be perceived as part of your day-to-day business operations, something that evolves and develops over time and something you can continuously review and improve to drive consistent user engagement and resulting business growth.
With the ‘new normal’ evolving and a strong digital presence now vital to survival and resulting success, a ‘joined-up’ digital approach is not something any business can afford to ignore.
Those that take the time to continuously review, change and improve are those more likely to come out on top. As Richard Branson famously said – “Every success story is a tale of constant adaption, revision and change.”
To find out more about Sparkloop’s recent research and to understand the importance of improving your digital brand presence, download a copy of the full report here.
Gayle Carpenter, Director of creative agency, Sparkloop