I am an 80’s teen having spent most of the decade in games arcades, listening to Michael Jackson and watching new and exciting films like Star Wars and Back to the Future.
Marty Mcfly and Doc Brown went time traveling in a what we now know to be a unsuccessfuly produced car called a DeLorean, heading back into Micheal J Fox’s character’s past to save his future.
So what has this storyline got to do with the current state of digital marketing for SMEs?
The past 7 or 8 years has seen a huge change in the way we access content online, whether it be on a social or informative level. Information based websites have taken a step back and been neglected for a number of reasons. The idea of controlling the content on your website without a web professional’s help seems a great idea – but in practice has become a stumbling block for countless SMEs.
It is so much easier putting news stories on our business Facebook page than our own website. We have an instant following of people who we can track – so why bother with updating the website? In our experience, this is the thought process of many business owners.
Ease of using social media has blinded most SMEs to the real benefits of having a great website, but Facebook has changed its algorithms in early 2018, limiting the reach or organic posts and forcing you to spend money on advertising. All of a sudden your neglected website has a new lease of life. My argument is that it should never have been left alone in the first place.
Mobile and security
Here are some cold hard facts that can’t be ignored: 45% of searches for products and services on the internet are done on a mobile with geo-tagging. So if your website is not mobile friendly then neither is your business. Likewise, no encryption on your site with the green padlock? Then Google Chrome and Firefox browsers are blocking your site.
CMS Websites are the future!
Content Managed Software like the WordPress platform makes updating your website as easy as posting on Facebook, so what’s your excuse now? Best of all Google will rank your website higher when you are adding news and blog pages between 2 – 4 times a month.
Social Media posts lift websites Google rankings, right?
Wrong. They don’t. All the work you put into Facebook makes no difference to your SEO. I’m not saying ditch your Facebook page, but use it as a driver to your website. It’s where you can use the opportunity to have regularly updated geo-specific content that will really lift your search visibility.
SEO: What is it and does my website need it?
This is the most important decision you can make if you want your website to be seen by the right people, at the right time. A recent survey by the marketing industry indicates that 61% of marketing managers say that SEO is the biggest priority in their digital marketing strategies.
I can’t stress the importance of making sure that your website is optimised for search engines, and it should be an ongoing process. This includes the writing and tagging of the website, right down to load speed and accessibility for the end user.
Google quality scores your website on the user’s experience and will increase your search visibility above other websites that do not. You wouldn’t put a car on the road without regular maintenance – your website is no different.
Go ‘back to the future’
My prediction for the next 12 months will see SMEs asking why their digital marketing is nowhere near as effective as it should be.
Realising that there is a real shift in the public’s view on social media and the amount of time spent senselessly scrolling their feed. I can see a concerted effort of people spending time away from their devices. Having a ‘digital sunrise and sunset,’ where mobiles, tablets and laptops aren’t used. The increase in the purchase of so-called ‘dumb phones’ with no internet has grown 400% in the last 12 months.
So What does this all mean?
Your digital marketing strategy has to make sure that you are in the right place, at the right time and with the right message. Where’s the best place to start? Your website. When that person who needs to use your services types the 4 words ending with ‘near me’ into their search bar and you appear in front of their eyes first. It’s time to celebrate, jump back into the DeLorean, travel to 2089 and buy that hover board you always wanted.
Picture courtesy of Amblin Entertainment and Universal Pictures.