How to avoid becoming a digital dinosaur

 
James Noble
Walking With Dinosaurs Spectacular Launches At The O2 Arena
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Professional firms don’t have the best reputation when it comes to digital innovation.

It can be such a slog for a business to get something as simple as a new website signed-off, that it’s usually outdated by the time the bureaucratic nightmare comes to an end.

So how can businesses extract themselves from this exhausting cycle, and ensure they don’t appear to be digital dinosaurs? And, moreover, how can they make certain that the digital marketing stuff they are doing is actually right for their firm?

Start simple

First, if your website features a news or blog section, make sure your latest article isn’t dated 2013 as it will leave a lasting poor impression on prospective clients. Similarly, if your site comprises an integrated social media feed, make sure it’s frequently updated with content that’s relevant to your audience.

Last year saw more people access the web from mobile devices, compared to desktop computers, for the first time. Despite these figures, lots of businesses don’t have mobile-friendly websites. For example, statistics show that 67 per cent of law firms’ websites aren’t mobile ready, suggesting that most would rather let their digital shop front gather dust and fall behind in the mobile-ready stakes, than invest the effort needed to become a 24/7 traffic magnet.

But fully functional doesn’t necessarily mean state-of-the-art. Simply aligning your website with Google’s best practices will ensure you’re heading in the right direction.

Loosen the noose

To keep up with the digital evolution, firms will need to let go of the red tape and lengthy decision-making processes that are choking their agility. As new trends arise and technology continues to transform professional markets and their clients’ habits, it’s imperative that businesses are set up to respond quickly.

For instance, in today’s market, publishing industry-relevant content is the backbone of a strong digital footprint.

Firms laden with rigid approval processes frequently miss the mark when commenting on time-sensitive topics, ultimately pushing their content further down the search results page.

To counteract this and support ambitious growth-goals, firms needs to adopt decision-making flexibility. Otherwise, their unnecessary officialdom will secure them a seat at the jurassic table.

Trust the experts

Another option to avoid falling behind is to join the migration towards outsourcing. The right consultancy (which is one step removed from the firm) can offer the dexterity and speed a business needs to compete in the digital era.

However, to succeed, these relationships must be built on trust, with both sides understanding where their responsibilities lie. The most successful firms let their consultants do what they do best, drawing a line in the sand between their own expertise and that of the marketing experts.

When allowed to act swiftly, implementing appropriate digital solutions in the best interest of the firm, a results-driven consultancy will assist a firm in outpacing the competition.

This will involve designing and implementing long-term growth plans and setting up technologically advanced, self-managing processes to generate consistent results long after activity has stopped.

According to our State of Digital Marketing in Professional Services Report, to get ahead in 2017, 84 per cent of senior decision makers feel that firms will need to embrace proactive digital marketing strategies.

However, 17 per cent of professional service firms are still not taking advantage of any digital marketing methods, and shockingly, 14 per cent still don’t have a website. This disconnect in recognising the need – but failing to act – demonstrates that there’s a clear distinction between those who are actively seeing results, and those who are standing on the sidelines waiting for the next referral.

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