I am a member of a great networking group called BNI. We meet every week and trade recommendations for new business to each other. It is great. If you want to pop along one day, drop me a mail. Now, I am not writing about BNI today. In our weekly meeting, you have to stand up and give a 60-120 minute pitch about what it is you and your company do. I have been a member of BNI for 9 months now so it is safe to say that I have ran out of new and original ways to talk about digital marketing.
Or have I?
I have. So, I pulled this bizarre comparison out of my rear.
What do a pair of shoes and a digital strategy have in common?
Nothing. Obviously. One is footwear and the other is a plan to maximise your online potential.
But for the purpose of this blog, there are loads of similarities. Or three at least.
I chat with business every day. Small to large. Some meetings are extremely exiting and the companies are eager to jump in and try something new with their digital presence. Others, not so much. Many brands / products / companies / magicians believe that their business is completely fine without a digital strategy. And they are probably right.
For the moment.
Technically, you do not need a digital strategy for your business. Technically, TECHNICALLY….. you do not need to wear shoes. You don’t actually need them, so why do we wear them? We walked around for hundreds of years without them. Hundreds of companies have survived and thrived without a digital strategy for years. Many companies have survived without them. Many survive without shoes. So what is the point of both?
1. The Landscape has changed.
We used to walk around the woods in our bare feet. Businesses used to solely rely on stellar work and word of mouth. Customers would wander barefoot into our business because they heard your product is of a quality standard or, you were just geographically close. The internet now allows people from all around the world to shop for your product, which sounds great, but the downside is the word of mouth can be drowned out by your vast competition worldwide. Your customers will research your product or services online to see what you are about. You need to have a crisp website, regularly updated, with a presence on social media. These factors can dramatically improve your brand reputation and awareness.
If your bagel store, “Bagel 2 The Grave” has the greatest Bagels in the world, why do you have no followers on Twitter or any copy on the website? Businesses must demonstrate why they are the best and why customers should use them. Blogs, articles and posts allow businesses to showcase their strengths (and improve search engine rankings). Post ingredients of your “Open Sesame” bagel to demonstrate how the reader can create the same dish, (offering useful information to the user) whilst allowing the user to salivate over your delicious bagel.
The landscape has changed, my friends. But for the better. You run your business because it is your passion. Show people why you love your business in different and creative ways. How can you expect others to love you if you don’t love yourself?
As I mentioned earlier, the customer does their research online. Without a solid digital strategy, you will lose credibility. Unfortunately, in this shallow world we live in, you probably would not buy a product off someone who isn’t wearing shoes. And even more unfortunately, you probably need a very stylish and up to date pair of shoes to push the sale over the line. I would love to go to meetings in my Italia ’90 Ireland jersey but unfortunately, I can’t. I will lose credibility. Your digital strategy is no different. How do you expect customers to enjoy your high end Thai restaurant, “Shirts & Thai’s” if your digital presence is basic and outdated. If you are digitally basic and outdated, I will assume the same of your business.
I always try to avoid scare tactics when pitching to businesses, but it is true. Your competitors are developing a digital strategy as we speak, if they are not already underway. If your customer is waiting at the finish line, and your competitor is wearing superb running trainers and you are barefoot, who do you think will get to the customer first? And when you eventually arrive at the finish line, your customer will wonder;
“Why the hell are you not wearing shoes?"
If you walk around without shoes nowadays, it is bad for your feet, and if you are operating without a digital strategy, it is bad for your business.