Talk Business Magazine grills Edward Leake, MD of Midas Media, on making the most of online tools
Do you think the average business is utilising the internet to its best advantage?
I doubt it but then I don’t blame them, doing business online involves so much these days – you really need a Swiss Army knife of expertise. I think the biggest area of neglect comes in the form of data analysis, yes it may sound like a mundane subject but if interpreted and acted on correctly it can transform a business online. It doesn’t have to be hugely expensive to monitor and analyse either, so long as the business targets are rationalised against the costs then the resulting value can be identified and exploited.
What online trend is having the biggest impact on business?
It really depends on your position and industry, but as a one size fits most (if not all) answer I’d say Responsive Web Design is up there. Responsive really started to gain traction in 2012 and at the time many in the industry called it a fad. Thing is, a fad becomes a trend when it gains ground and a trend becomes the accepted normality when we all start using it – and a lot of us have.
For those that don’t know, what is Responsive Design?
For SMEs, usually budget is the overriding factor tempering what they can do
Why do you think businesses are still avoiding mobile?
Time and budget would be my guess, but that’s a short-sighted view because the potential of lost business over time could be far greater. If your website holds a traditional shape and form it will be awkward on a mobile device, but some users will persevere. However the same can’t be said of eCommerce website design, if you retail online and your site isn’t mobile friendly and even if your visitor really wants your product, they’ll likely give up before they commit to purchase.
For a business looking to go mobile, what would be your top tip?
Get the navigation right, it’s a deal breaker! If you make your site easy to navigate on mobile, people will use it. That should be your starting block. Also consider that space is at a premium, so tailor and offer your premium content first.
Whilst on the subject of mobile, Social Media continues to grow; what value do you see in it for businesses?
I think the biggest concern for organic is how much paid space is creeping over
And in comparison how do you see SEO and Organic Search changing?
That’s the million dollar question. What works today might not work next week, and what works next week might get you stripped of all credibility a week after that. Google has released several major updates this year that have each tackled certain areas of the search results pages, each one has a ripple effect and those ripples are ever widening. It really is a minefield.
I think the biggest concern for organic is how much paid (or sponsored) space is creeping over. I’m not convinced Google will eventually monetise the whole first page of it’s search results, that would be incredibly risky, however it’s clear that paid exposure retains and continues to gain traction with time.
Is Google still the king?
Yes. Over the past 3 years we have worked with over 100 client websites and so we see a lot of data. Google is still the biggest single source of traffic and that won’t change anytime soon.
It’s clear that things are rapidly changing online, what advice would you give to businesses?
Strategy, content, test, adopt. What I mean is you should always apply a well-considered plan to your online efforts, make sure the content is on message and well-targeted, test variations and then adopt what works. Rinse and repeat. If you’re doing it right you’ll grow, not only that you’ll generate profit – if you’re targeting the profitable business areas that is!
And what about new and small businesses, would your advice be different?
For SME’s usually budget is the overriding factor tempering what they can do, so their budget needs to be spent in the right places. The single ‘right’ place to spend would be on the most profitable area of the business, what really makes you money? Build a plan around pushing that product or service. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune but the reality is the more you put in, the more you’re likely to get out.
I know that sounds very much like common sense but the SMB owner is a busy person, it’s not surprising how quickly the obvious can get buried among the many other aspects of doing business.
Article originally published in the 2013 November issue of Talk Business Magazine.