Digital marketing in 2017

Making the most of digital marketing in 2017

As businesses begin implementing their plans for 2017, making the most out of their digital marketing will be high on many to-do lists.

Using web channels to promote your business remains a challenge for small and medium businesses. A lot of organisations have a website and even a social media presence on Twitter and Facebook but using them for meaningful business growth can be a challenge.

West Midlands businesses behind in digital marketing

For those of us working in the digital sector, a recent survey made for fascinating reading. The UK Business Digital Index, produced by Lloyds Bank with Accenture, benchmarked the digital maturity of businesses across the UK. 

The organisers conducted in-depth interviews with small businesses and charities in the West Midlands, to understand their attitudes towards digital technology, and found that: 

  • 48% of small businesses had no basic digital skills, 10% higher than the UK average. 
  • 41% of those surveyed said they had created social media communities, four percent lower than the UK average.
  • 48% had no website
  • 67% invested nothing in digital skills
  • 68% still need to invest in cyber security

All of these ratings were at the same level or slightly worse than the UK averages.

For many, this will confirm how far we lag behind in establishing a business landscape where our region's SMEs use digital marketing skilfully, but I believe this indicates the opportunity ahead of us as we transform the way our region, renowned for its industrial heritage, asserts its position as a leading digital force.

We can make small but impactful changes to the way businesses think about their online presence, giving them the tools for growth. If a business is prepared to invest the time in learning how they can make the most from digital, the opportunities are there in front of them.

Small business marketing advice

Website design improves at a rapid pace, giving opportunities to improve the user experience of every person who visits a business site which in turn builds the trust in their products or services.

Companies can use search engine optimisation (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) services to feature higher on Google and Bing results.

Content tailored for digital platforms, whether it is compelling copy or eye-catching video, can help an organisation stand out. Digital advertising can also play its part in getting potential clients interested.

There is no doubt that traditional media, such as print editorial coverage or advertising, will continue to play a key role for businesses looking to market their services. With the range of services now available, online advertising can play a greater role in each organisations marketing mix.

Like any journey, taking the first step on improving a company's digital marketing can be the hardest, particularly given the options available.

If those of us in the region's digital industry can support every business to make a start, we all benefit from their success.

To read the survey in full, go to:

  • Andy Hill is MD for MNA Digital, a West Midlands-based digital marketing agency. Find out MNA Digital can help you by registering your details here:

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