Which Digital Tools should you use and Why?


Events this year have massively impacted how businesses operate, and these changes have led to a surge in digitization, previously unmatched. 

The digital tools available offer significant support to Marketing and Sales departments, as well as their customers.

Karl Middleton

Marketing & Digital Manager

Some tools available include: 


Lead Generation

Online tools that help attract leads (potential customers) to your marketing software systems, with the hope of nurturing them throughout the buying process. Providing reasons why they should become customers.

Cloud hosting

Instead of hosting your content on local servers (potentially restricting access) you can upload the data into cloud platforms, providing global access for team members who can’t physically be in the same location.

Online surveys

If you would like to perform your own research, online surveys are a great tool to use, as you can reach a wide audience and allow them to complete your questions on their terms. 

Results can also be analysed and reported on much easier.

Video promotions

It is believed that video marketing will grow substantially over the coming years, as it is a great way to provide key information in a much more engaging technique than text. Video promotion tools allow you to create presentations and product videos, increasing the likelihood that customers will understand what you are selling and the benefits it could offer.

Social media

Social media has been around for a relatively long period of time, but from a business perspective its full benefits have not yet been realised. It is an opportunity for you to maintain regular contact, with an audience base already engaged with your business or industry, with no direct costs. Though keep in mind the importance of having regular high-quality content available on your chosen channels.

Email marketing

If you have a customer database email marketing can be highly effective, allowing you to communicate key messages, on mass, to a very relevant audience base. The success of email marketing depends on two key elements; having the right database of contacts and the right content. 
It is also important to keep in mind the GDPR guidelines for direct communications.

Online advertising

If you want to reach a large number of new contacts, who are relevant to your business, online advertising can be an extremely cost-effective tool. You can advertise through the Google AdWords platform, as well as all social media channels. 

Webinars

This year face to face meetings with customers has become extremely difficult (in most cases non-existent), leading to an increased usage of online webinars, where sales team members can give presentations virtually, to a select number of contacts. 

It is important to make sure adequate preparations are done to allow these events to run smoothly.

Content marketing 

This is the creation and sharing of quality online materials, such as videos, blogs, news stories or feature articles. The content should not directly promote your products or services, but rather stimulate their interest to work with your business. The creation of this content can be tricky at first but is a great way to improve the perception of your business in the eyes of potential customers.

Apps 

Well designed mobile apps can be a highly efficient way to connect with customers, whether it be access to the latest information, or other digital tools (i.e. product calculators or videos etc). However, it is important to create the right business case for the production of an app – you should not create an app, just because you think you should. The app should be there to solve a business problem.




What to do first?

It can be tempting to try using all of the tools, but this is not something I would advise, it’s better to understand which tools would provide the most benefits to your business, then formulate a 6-12-month strategy, and advance slowly.

To start, try to identify some of the pain points you are experiencing and research which tools may help, for example;

If you are having problems organising face to face meetings with clients explore video hosting software for webinars – in turn allowing these meetings to go ahead digitally.

If you are having difficulty driving traffic to your website, online advertising can be a very cost effective and highly target-able tool, and so forth.



The next step

The good news is that you don’t require a highly technical IT team to help you, though you may need to do a little research.

Visit YouTube, which can provide advise on how other companies have integrated the tools. Do a web search for forums to get more advice, and if you can, reach out to your contacts to see if they are using the tools, and if so, how.

Once you have integrated a digital tool into your business it’s important to monitor if it is being adopted correctly and if it is solving the problem you identified. 
If it isn’t, don’t be afraid to stop using it, but keep an open mind as it can take a few months before true benefits are visible.



Conclusion

When deciding on which digital tools you want to incorporate into your business, it’s important to do your research, whilst keeping an open mind. Identify the problems you are experiencing that could be solved. Prioritize which tools to focus on and learn the best ways to incorporate them into your business processes.

Continuously monitor the relative success and make sure it is working how you want it to.

Once you feel comfortable and ready, assess other tools you think may offer further benefits.