Digital transformation brings a huge number of opportunities for development, growth and innovation for SMEs, but they often face different challenges compared to their enterprise-size counterparts. One of the biggest mistakes that fast-growth companies can do during the transition is invest too little on their biggest digital asset, their website.
According to web agency Alchemy Digital managing partner, Will Morris, the way businesses use their website needs to keep pace with the way consumers interact with businesses.
IDC research reveals two in three UK SMEs are already using new technologies to improve their business through a digital transformation strategy. This strategy involves moving some or all of a company’s systems to the cloud in order to drive operational efficiencies, increase the opportunities for innovation and become more competitive.
This, according to Morris, is a critical step in improving the way in which companies engage and communicate with its audiences. It integrates all web and mobile channels to deliver consistency across customer touch points.
One of the key questions companies need to ask is how the website meets existing and future business objectives.
“Digital transformation may seem like the reserve of enterprises, but the UK’s medium and small businesses are quickly recognising that it unleashes a whole new world of creativity and innovation that positively impacts business growth. As part of that, the website has a new role to play; it needs to meet a whole new set of considerations and order to support that growth,” says Morris.
He sees quick fixes like using template kits as counterproductive as this cookie-cutter approach won’t align with what’s needed for the business in the long term.
“Mobile is a critical part of that strategy; not just making sure your website looks nice on a mobile device or re-sizing the site for the screen, but designing it for mobile from the ground up. Make it truly responsive – not as a nice to have, but an essential,” he adds.
Part of this strategy is to remember to lead with regularly updated content relevant to your audience that will take them on a journey. And crucially, Morris adds, remember it has to be easy to use with a thumb and fingers.
Today’s websites need to be designed to solve a problem, not sit there looking pretty, especially as they become increasingly complex to produce, and require integration with back end systems to become the platform for an entirely unified system.
“Close scrutinisation of the performance of the website across desktop and mobile is essential in the transformation process – especially for customer-facing sites where it is considered the focus of the customer experience,” says Morris.
The sheer amount of data that can be captured and analysed via the website is also a boon for marketers, as it boosts other areas of digital transformation. Features like a single customer view across channels, personalisation and being able to pull data like location-based alerts for advanced digital applications in mobile, will make the website almost like a centre of operations for growth businesses.
“The role of the website will always evolve, but a solidly designed platform will remain the rock hard foundation for some time. None of this can really be achieved with trendy out-of-the-box solutions; the only way is bespoke,” he adds.
“To make your website truly work for your business now and in the future, it’s crucial to truly understand where the website sits as a part of your overall growth plans and ensure that you’re taking your audience on the journey that you need them to go on.”