Thanks to 2020, it’s safe to say that most business owners have at least recognized a need to re-evaluate how they run their organization. Adapting to a virtual environment during the COVID-19 pandemic has been essential for the survival of most companies, and as the U.S. inches its way closer to normalcy, it’s important for business owners to continue striving for digital maturity.
What is digital maturity?
Digital maturity is the ability of a business to adapt to new technological advancements. If your company is able to respond quickly to new tech innovations and find ways to implement them into your day-to-day tasks, you have successfully maintained digital maturity.
In the early months of 2020, nearly one-third of small businesses had yet to develop a website for their company but planned on doing so at some point during the year. Without an online presence, they probably wouldn’t have sustained the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s important to note that the process of maintaining digital maturity isn’t one size fits all. Depending on your brand and how you operate your business on a day-to-day basis, the technology you use might be vastly different from that of another company. In turn, digital maturity might look completely different for your business than it does for someone else’s. For some, the process might include continually updating marketing software or actively engaging with customers through social media and online business reviews. For others, digital maturity might be achieved by tweaking traditional marketing strategies to ensure effectiveness in the digital era.
Why is digital maturity important?
Here is a simple example that outlines the importance of maintaining digital maturity:
A dog grooming business that recently opened their doors just created an online website. The site contains information on pricing, hours of operation, and even photos of satisfied furry customers. In six month’s time, the website seems to have attracted new consumers and business is looking great. However, after a year goes by some customers begin experiencing a disconnect between the pricing listed on the groomer’s website and the pricing they are asked to pay in shop. It’s clear that the original site has yet to be updated. Yet even after receiving several complaints, the owners feel they have no time to address the issue.
Because the business owners assumed that having a website was enough to keep up with changes in the market, they failed at maintaining digital maturity. Without a solid digital transformation strategy in place, they also failed at communicating important information to their customer base.
What is digital transformation?
Many use the terms digital maturity and digital transformation interchangeably when in fact, one is actually the outcome of another. Digital transformation is the process of integrating digital technology in various aspects of your business. As consumer habits and demands continue to shift, so should a company’s digital transformation strategy. Continually implementing up-to-date operational processes and business models can help your business stay on top of demand.
How can my business achieve Digital maturity?
1. Understanding current digital trends – Becoming well versed in this year’s digital trends can help your company stay ahead of the competition. A simple Google search will allow you to see what customers are expecting from businesses in terms of their digital capabilities. It will also tell you how you can use new strategies to provide the best services.
2. Get comfortable using digital tools – The range of digital marketing tools that you can adopt into your company’s marketing strategy is broader than you might assume. There is software specific to every realm of digital marketing including social media, virtual design, website development, project management, and so much more. Using AI (Artificial intelligence), such as a chatbot, can also be helpful. Whatever tools you feel are best for your business’s marketing strategy, it’s important to make sure that your employees are able to effectively utilize them. Hiring a digital marketer to help you choose and manage some of these tools can be helpful if you don’t know where to begin.
3. Creating a digital transformation strategy – As we mentioned before, digital transformation strategies can help your company achieve digital maturity. The first step in developing a solid plan is to map out exactly how you want to market your brand. This will determine which digital marketing tools will work best in helping you achieve your goals and keep up with changing consumer habits.
How to address negative online feedback
In the dog grooming business example we gave, it’s obvious that the owners’ biggest issue was not addressing the feedback given to them by their customers. Failing to update their website caused some serious problems that could have been avoided had they taken the time to assign the task to an employee or hire a digital marketer.
Make sure that you have a plan to address all online feedback, especially complaints. Digital marketing best practice tip: craft a standard reply to negative reviews. Let the customer know you hear them, that you’ll work to make it right, and offer to take the conversation offline (email or direct message) for resolution). Depending on the issue, you might want to offer a replacement item or coupon for a future visit to rebuild customer trust and loyalty.
And remember to reply to your fans, too! Keep engagement high with likes, reposts, and comments that are positive as well.
Maximizing your digital content
Maintaining digital maturity is not all about keeping up with your digital tools but your brand’s online presence as well. While routine social media posts might get you a few likes and comments here and there, it’s always good to mix it up. Keep your audience engaged by asking your followers questions, posting polls, hosting giveaways, or creating more video content. By adding an element of creativity to your social media content, you’re more likely to attract new customers.
For more information on how you and your business can achieve digital maturity, contact us today!