Digital Isn’t Always the “Next Best Thing”

From a business perspective, focusing on the digital world could mean a surge in sales – or a crashing enterprise. It's not always the "next best thing".

Why It May Not Be Right For Your Company

Digital – the word brings up so many ideas, simply because of the times we live in. It could mean the Internet you used to reach this post, or the computer you’re reading it on. It could mean a mobile phone, a tablet or a card reader. From a business perspective, it could mean a surge in sales – or a crashing enterprise.

It wasn’t too long ago that people were just getting on to this whole Internet “thing”. I mean, come on – Google hasn’t even been around for 20 years and it’s a household name. Hell, it’s a verb. Swarms of companies and marketers panic when Google makes a change, right? We spend so much time talking about Penguins and Pandas, RankBrain and Mobilegeddon, that it’s hard to imagine that digital couldn’t be important.

It boggles the mind.

And yet, maybe we – as business owners, CEOs, people who have a say in how a business is marketed – need to take a step back. Maybe we need to think about whether the Digital Age is right for our business.

3 Ways to Know You Aren’t Ready to Improve Your Digital Standing

Here are a few ways you can tell if you’re wasting valuable company resources on a bad bet:

  1. If it’s just because it’s digital.
  2. If you aren’t getting mobile visitors.
  3. If you haven’t done your research.

Let’s take a closer look.

Digital for Digital’s Sake

Remember when everybody HAD to have a website or you’d get left behind? You had to have a website if you were going to be found online. You might still think that’s true, but have you ever done a local search for something? Some results say “Website” and others just have a number. Why? Because that place has no website. And yet, they’re still visible to you in local search.

Okay, sure, so they aren’t reaching out to the world wide masses, but not everybody wants to do that. Moral of the story, not everybody needs a website to be found online.

How about the MySpace craze? The Facebook craze? The Twitter craze? The Google+ craze? Each time it was, “If you don’t get on it now, you’ll be buried.” Yet, again, there are many companies that have no Facebook. Believe it or not, hundreds of thousands of people AREN’T on Twitter, and at least three people don’t use Google Plus at ALL.

I think you get my point.

You may be tempted to add a mobile app, because you’ve heard that mobile apps are really successful. But are they a good idea for your company and clientele?

Maybe you’ve heard that making content easier to share is important, so you want to have someone put social functions all over your site. Well, goody for you, but is that a good idea for your company and clientele?

Before investing time and money into a digital addition, upgrade, solution, etc. make sure it will actually be a good choice for your customers AND your business.

You Aren’t Getting Mobile Visitors

I can’t count how many people have talked about a mobile website and don’t know what kind of traffic they’re getting. If you have any analytics on your site at all, it should be an easy number to gather.

Now, I’m not going to give you a percentage for when mobile is a viable solution. I am going to tell you that creating a business-worthy mobile site, or revamping your site to be responsive, can be an expensive endeavor. Not only in money, but also in time. It can be a big change. In other words, this is not a move to be taken lightly.

Weigh the balance. If you don’t have enough mobile traffic to warrant the change, wait until you do! Perhaps your money would be better spent in marketing.

At the very least, develop a plan to bring in more mobile visitors to your new mobile site – BEFORE you worry about who’s going to build it.

You Haven’t Done Your Research

I know. This is kind of the same point as above, but there are SO many opportunities for digital growth out there, I’d hate to just touch on websites, mobile apps and social.

For example, Nieman Marcus is investing in memory mirrors, developed by MemoMi. While it might make a lot of sense for NM, it’s probably not a good investment for WalMart at this time.

Hillshire Brands is another example, using purchase intent beacon technology to increase their sales. From a marketer’s standpoint, that’s awesome. –And Marketing Land seems to think the top 100 retailers will have embraced this technology by the end of the year. What about places like the Dollar Store, though? Maybe someday, but anytime soon?

If you’re going to invest in digital – and there’s nothing wrong with that, by the way -, you need to do your research first. Ask yourself:

  • What will be helpful for my company?
  • What will increase the shopping experience for my customers?
  • Does XYZ technology make sense for my company now? In five years? In ten years?

Researching before implementing is the most cost effective business process… EVER.

The Wrap Up

In some cases, upgrading your company’s digital opportunities is an excellent choice. –And sometimes it isn’t. A wise business person knows the difference, because they took the time to sniff it out.

Don’t just jump on the digital band wagon because you’ve read how great it is, and how much this technology or that has really helped increase sales. Invest it what works best for you, and always in what works best for your customers!

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