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Change is difficult, but also essential. This is especially true when doing business online. Customer trends and expectations, privacy concerns, and global events (to name a few key issues) often force companies around the world to make major changes in a very short time.
According to a joint study by Boston Consulting Group and Google, digital leaders (i.e., those with the greatest success in scaling digital solutions) are three things in common. This includes top-down coordination, starting with the C-suite, connecting technology capabilities to data and leveraging the “always on” expectations of customers.
Although this study looked at 2,000 global companies, there are many lessons that small businesses can learn from these findings. Here are five ways small business owners can embrace change and get closer to their customers.
Relevant: How to navigate the fast-changing digital marketing landscape
1. Serve the customer
It’s a cliché, but the phrase “If you take care of your customers, they will take care of you” fits perfectly in the digital age. From social media to online reviews, customers are always engaged with your business. Just listen.
The best way to understand your customers’ needs, needs, desires and expectations is to have at least one designated digital “point” employee. Owners, managers, and responsible employees need to align with their priorities and goals when it comes to digital.
Primarily, the Points Representative/Points Representative’s job is to listen, report and implement changes based on online activity related to your business. The goal is to use all available digital means (including business websites, social media pages, email, etc.) to determine what customers want and respond with effective messaging and solutions.
If this turns out to be too much for your employee(s) to handle, hiring a digital marketing agency can help.
Relevant: Pandemic Related Changes Small businesses are impacting profits.
2. Leverage your own data
According to the investigation of Kinney Consumer Labs, 76% of consumers trust small businesses more than large businesses. When customers trust your business, they are much more likely to share information with your business.
Information provided by customers is called first-party data. Businesses may collect their data directly from customers, such as by filling out online forms, or through analytics about how customers interact with websites and advertisements.
No matter how you collect it, first-party data is critical for businesses to effectively market and advertise online. When trends and behaviors change rapidly (eg demographic shifts and certain items are outselling others), you will have real-time insights that you can use to adjust your digital strategy and operations.
Relevant: Forget third-party data. You’re already missing out on most of your first-party data.
3. Pay attention to analysis
Consumer digital behavior changes in an instant. Google Analytics and other online platforms allow you to monitor the actions your customers take, how your marketing and advertising efforts are perceived by a diverse audience, and more.
Of course, the analytics landscape is changing at a rapid pace. For example, Google will be discontinuing Universal Analytics next year. Pros of Google Analytics 4. Google Analytics 4 tracks user activity across platforms (example: A user’s navigating from your website to your app and back is categorized as a single session and focuses on events (i.e. online actions) rather than overall traffic.
Google determines how other companies collect and provide data. As such, you can expect more platforms to start emphasizing cross-platform tracking, multi-channel attribution and greater privacy protection.
Businesses, in-house marketers, and agencies all need to be aware of these changes. Now, companies that adapt based on the data and tools they use to collect them can develop more effective marketing and advertising campaigns, reach their target audiences faster, and achieve greater success.
4. Go Where Customers Go
There is no shortage of websites, social media networks and other online outlets where users spend most of their digital life. Given the budget constraints small businesses face, honing on a site that can reach the maximum number of potential customers is essential.
To engage and activate these users, you need to optimize messaging, content, and creative across organic and paid channels. This process combines branding and audience research.
Companies that succeed online know themselves and their customers. Consistency of messages, images, and calls to action is critical to maximizing awareness, driving customers to action, and achieving your goals.
5. Use the small size to your advantage.
Money and resources are the main advantages of domestic and global enterprises over SMEs. Big brands have the people, finances, and infrastructure to make big changes, such as embracing digital transformation.
However, the large size of a large corporation can also be a disadvantage. As your business grows, there are more moving parts to scale and implement change. Small businesses are much more agile. Digital solutions can be implemented much faster when fewer employees and institutional hurdles are involved.
How to succeed in digital disruption
It is tempting to see the rapid pace of modern business as chaos. However, this mindset limits our ability to adapt and win in the digital space.
Changes in the community, industry, and business world are driven by the behavior of consumers who are always online. To be successful, you need to take the best digital step forward and focus on providing maximum value to our customers who are looking for timely products and services that engage, value privacy, solve problems and improve their lives.
It is important for businesses of all sizes to adopt the digital-first mindset of their customers. Streamline operations and meet or exceed customer expectations with data-driven decision making.