Digital Transformation is an overexploited buzzword. People, employees and management in almost every company speak about it and give it their own meaning in their particular context. For me it was first standing for paperless workflow, than it become a new way of finding projects and customers. Now Digital Tansformation touches almost every aspect of my daily life. It is an irreversible change – in the ways of doing business, managing the customer relation, adapting to dynamic technological, social and cultural shifts.
Emerging new businesses have popped-up, took the place of well-established companies, because they could manage better digital technology, and answer the elevated customer needs for convenience, responsiveness or frictionless service.
Nowadays, we all enjoy e-commerce, apps, mobile connectivity, and high level of service and logistics. It became a standard that customers expect anyway.
The new battlefield is in digital communications. Here you can fight and win in customer loyalty and engagement with the brand. AI, loyalty programs, affiliate programs and persistent communication through many fragmented digital channels and social networks is the communication playground of large corporations.
Smaller companies however, can communicate faster, clearer, and on more channels when using targeted digital communication to reach their prospects.
Do you need to communicate digitally?
If you have business in France or other more traditional country, you most probably rely on direct sales and communication, backed-up with a website. Maybe you have distributors or partners that further extend your presence on the market through their sales force and web sites.
There is nothing wrong with this business model – it is still the most efficient one. The only problem is that it is expensive when trying to reach larger number of prospects. So, keep it and size it for your top strategic customers.
If you feel like the business is becoming harder either it is due to a market trend or your competitors are getting to your customers.
In both scenarios, developing targeted digital communication will help to win new customers and to optimise your new customer conversion rate for the fraction of the cost of a direct approach.
Digital transformation – the opportunities
Developing a coherent digital communication is a powerful mean to:
- Increase your brand awareness at new customers ;
- Catch new opportunities and leads ;
- Get access to decision makers you could not have before ;
- Measure how performant your communication is and adapt.
Digital transformation – threats
Like any adventure, especially in the communication field, your digital journey is to be planned in order to avoid risks of costly advertising or worst – bad brand image.
Higher exposure means higher risk. In the new digital world, consumers have a clear voice. They will express freely an opinion, most probably polarized – good or bad. No brand is immune to negative feedback, especially if there is a mismatch between what you communicate and what you do.
Your sales guy is no longer face to face with the customer to argument, explain and charm. Your digital content – text, images and video on your website, emailing or social media is what sells and converts. Copywriting and visuals become therefore essential for emotional impact and reaction.
Transforming digitally your communication the clever way
If you are a small to mid-size company, you have one important advantage – you know your customers, their pains, what they are looking for. You know how your products, services or solutions answer these pains. This knowledge is the key to set-up a targeted communication plan. It can be 100% digital or mix of digital and traditional communication (direct, expo, seminars, press releases), depending on whether your market is diffuse (end-customers) or B2B.
A good start to apply a targeted approach is to go back to the basics of digital communication – your website, emailing, social media interactions and targeted advertising. Then you can extend further your digital strategy to influencers and opinion makers relevant to your activity.
Customers are hyper-connected to their prefered brands, blogs and content of interest. They expect meaningful real time communication. The bare minimum a company should provide to engage with its prospects is a mobile-first website. It is the backbone and the converging point of all other actions.
When I audit the digital communication of a client, I assess the website first. The assessment checklist:
- Keywords analysis and SEO ;
- Design and user interface ;
- Copywriting ;
- Technical performance and functionality.
Search Engine Optimisation assessment
Often the website content is pushing information based on an internal idea of company’s added value and offer benefits. It does not take into account your customer pains and needs – the search terms they use in Google to find answers. Remember you know best your customers. Why not try to imagine what they are looking for. Come up with a shortlist of search terms. A check is then performed to validate the search terms are relevant and more importantly – how does your website rank for them in search results.
UI / UX assessment
What is the user experience on your website? Is it easy to navigate and read? Are your visuals, messages and technical infrastructure working together in order to guide and convert the user?
When you publish content online, there are two different type of audiences. On one hand, your targeted customers should feel comfortable, confident and get answers to their needs. On the other, Google needs to understand what the main topic is. The good SEO copywriting is by far the most time consuming and creative work among all other aspects of your digital communication.
Could be anything related to IT infrastructure, site speed, mobile version, html structure and meta of your pages. This assessment is generally focusing on how technology and web standards affect user experience and SEO.
Based on the global assessment a number of corrective actions is possible, ranging from building a new website to addition of landing pages for our top keywords.
I would not repeat a largely available information about the importance of the structure, the design and the cross compatibility of email newsletters. I would like just to stress how important for your targeted digital communication the emailing is. When executed correctly it is a great tool to have constant presence at your prospects.
Social media interactions
You are probably already on social media, because everybody everywhere preaches it is vital. How do you use it? Are you interacting or pushing information? Did you go into deep exploration of what social media could offer? What do you do when someone likes your page or post? How did you choose in which social networks to invest your time and efforts? Did you have any new customers through social media?
Certainly posting on social media improves your website rankings, but it can do so much more. Like finding and contacting decision makers at targeted prospects in LinkedIn or Viadeo. Or building and animating a community of potential customers through great content. Or set-up targeted advertising campaigns.
Interacting and winning customers on social media is not a rocket science, however the possibilities are so wide that it requires a substantial investment in knowledge, time and energy. Be sure to subscribe to PubUp newsletter to get more insights on the topic.
It is a big chunk of the web marketing. Also a lazy way to get to your prospects through targeted ads like Google Ads (targeting by search keywords) or Social Media Ads (targeting by demographics and based on the user published content). Managing such campaigns does require deep knowledge of the functionalities and the client business, keyword research and constant follow-up and adjustment.
This type of advertising comes with a price tag. Depending on the business, it could be a temporary or sustainable solution for online presence.
When I joined my studio 10 years ago, the print design was about 70% of the business and the web design about 30%. Now print is less than 30% in favour of web development and web marketing.
Digital transformation in communications happened. It is eating bite by byte the more traditional ways of approaching and converting customers. Businesses transform to catch new opportunities and digitalizing the communications is part of the process.