Review your digital initiatives in 2021

Tuesday, 12 January 2021  |  Posted in: Most Recent, News  |  6min read

It’s fair to say that 2020 was one of the most extreme years in recent times. Across Australia, businesses endured seemly one catastrophic and disruptive event after another, with dramatic effect.

With the arrival of 2021, the new year presents established organisations with the perfect opportunity to learn from their experiences and make further changes to improve their business resilience and ability to operate and thrive in the face of further disruption.

Throughout the COVID pandemic, a common response for many enterprises has been to shift their operations, marketing, sales and other critical business systems online. These initial transformations often had to be executed rapidly and reactively in direct response the unfolding conditions. In some organisations, this situation led to rushed or temporary implementations that introduced new issues and created compromised online experiences for customers.

Now that 2021 is here it’s time to go back and review your digital initiatives. Looking at what worked, what didn’t, and what areas could be further improved, ensuring you are delivering value to your stakeholders while remaining resilient, effective and flexible enough to handle whatever the new year brings.


How well is your ‘interim solution’ still working?

If your business pivoted to eCommerce, moved to online meetings, started storing business information in the cloud or created online processes to maintain contact with your customers, it worth going back and assess if these systems are working in the exact way you need them to and if they are actually the solution you need for the longer term.

Online retail presents as a great example for the kind of problems many organisations are now discovering.

eCommerce was the big winner in 2020 with many businesses realising that with people staying home, the only way to sell is via a website. Simple, subscriber-based cloud website builders and eCommerce products exploded in quantity as a quick way to catch up in the eCommerce world, but there is also a significant trade-off to this approach.

These website builders and rapidly developed solutions may be straining to provide the functionality you need or delivering a sub-optimal customer experience. These kinds of solutions are designed to be quick to develop and deploy. The trade-off is that you compromise customisation and functionality, as well as not being able to host, transfer and completely manage your own solution.

These platforms work best when you operate your business only within their development and design parameters. Their development roadmaps are based on the general needs of all their customers, not just yours specifically. The problem this presents is as your business grows and evolves, your business needs (and those of your online customers) may no longer align with the platform you are using. Walking away from the platform means walking away from something you have invested a lot of time and resources into.

In addition to the constraints of the available platforms you may also, literally, pay a higher than expected price for these platforms. Many of these rapid development platforms charge an ongoing subscription fee and may even take a percentage from every sale, making your eCommerce solution less efficient than a more business integrated solution.

If you are reviewing your ‘interim solutions’ and finding them too expensive, too restrictive, outside of branding guidelines or lacking the functionality you need then this is a great time to work with a digital agency to review your requirements and develop a more robust and consistent experience for your customers.


Are your customers where you left them?

The other side of isolating and working from home is that we are spending less time in crowded places like shopping centres and office buildings. It is worth considering if your customers can still be found in the places they were before 2020.

It is not just eCommerce that needs to find all the incidental foot traffic that used to wander into a shop in a mall.

Other forms of advertising rely on your customers being out and about, being at home makes them less effective. We are not listening to the radio in the car on the way to work, driving past billboard advertising – instead we are sitting in front of our computers to do our work before switching over to streaming content or scrolling through social feeds on our phones.

As a result, the pandemic has seen an increase in digital advertising, particularly in search and social ad markets as more people are spending time online uncovering content through search engines and scrolling content on high dwell time sites/apps like Facebook and Instagram.

If you are looking to find, or re-find your customers, optimise your website for search engine performance or begin engaging your customers using digital advertising channels then it is a great time to talk to your digital marketing agency.


Are your new online systems secure?

Quickly developed solutions to evolving problems are at a huge risk of leaving lasting holes in your digital security. The shift to online meetings was plagued with ‘ZOOM bombers’ who would infiltrate video conferencing. We also saw increased hacker-type activity as vulnerabilities were exposed to malicious actors looking to compromise systems.

Much of this was caused by the need to operate businesses remotely and expose the internal processes to public and private networks but the need to respond quickly to an evolving crisis has reduced leaving time and room to review these systems and ensure they are as secure as possible.

Simple measures such as restricting access, providing VPN tools and deploying a password manager can help your workforce, whether they are working remotely or not, maintain your organisation’s standards of security.

It may also be time to look long-term at the kinds of security and infrastructure upgrades that will help secure your operations for years to come, such as web hosting migrations to locally managed dedicated solutions.

If you are looking for independent advice and assistance in securing your website and internal systems, then it is a great time to contact your IT consultancy or technical support teams for advice.


Benefit from working a digital partner

We have mentioned that it is a great time to speak with your digital agency, digital marketing provider or technical support team – and if you don’t already have one then allow us to introduce ourselves.

The Digital Embassy has been operating for over 20 years designing and delivering award-winning websites for clients all over Australia. As a full-service digital agency we are able to offer a full suite of services such as digital marketing, search engine optimisation, advertising, locally managed hosting and ongoing website maintenance and support to help you build your next website and then help it grow and scale online.

If you are embarking on a new project in 2021 or looking to upgrade or protect your digital platforms after a year like 2020, then we are ready discuss your requirements and get to work. Call us on 1300 375 368 or fill out the web contact form to speak with the Digital Solutions team today.

Ready to talk about your requirements?

Phone us on 1300 375 368 for an obligation-free chat with a digital specialist about how we can help to scale up your business online.

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