Becky Lipscombe is Marketing Coordinator with Ashford based ITL Group a trusted and established design and manufacturing partner for leading companies developing life-saving medical technology, diagnostic devices and analytical instruments.
Becky took time out from preparing for the MEDICA 2017 World Forum for Medicine event taking place in Düsseldorf, Germany, next month to answer some questions for October’s Tech Talk.
What are the tech changes that you see as shaping the future of business for ITL and for businesses in Kent more generally?
BL: The Internet of Things (IoT), 3D printing, Artificial intelligence (AI) and big data!
What do businesses need to do increasingly to make themselves stand out in a digital world?
BL: Be social – get involved in the conversations that go on online and don’t afraid to be a little out there
Target the RIGHT audience – don’t waste time sharing content that isn’t appealing to the consumers your trying to attract
SEO – stay optimised, if you want to remain visible on Google, utilise keywords that consumers search to find your site
Get creative – think of innovative campaigns and ways to gain business through online, think outside of the box – people like unique content.
How (and in what way) is online marketing important to ITL?
BL: Our customers are online, so the simple fact is that we need to be too. Online marketing is a crucial player in ensuring a business’s success, not to mention profit.
Email marketing – it’s a great way to keep in contact with our clients, allowing us to strengthen those relationships and is a great tool for increasing brand awareness. For ITL, email marketing is most beneficial in the run-up to exhibitions because it enables you to keep your clients, new and involved informed of your whereabouts.
Social media – is vital for ITL, especially when our customers are based all over the world. Having social media channels makes ITL and Vitl much more accessible to customers and unveils the potential for new connections and improved customer loyalty. It is the key driver of traffic to our website, so the importance of sharing quality content online is crucial and especially for enhancing our SEO ranking. Platforms like LinkedIn are a fantastic tool for prospecting new business, allowing us to approach potential clients in a professional manner, avoiding the need cold-calling.
Website – the whole aim of online marketing is to drive traffic to our website. Our website is the catalyst to driving our business forward because we can track, analyse and start to understand users’ behaviour.
What are the common myths and misconceptions or pitfalls companies fall into when setting up a new website or promoting themselves online?
BL: The most common misconception with running a website and/or social media is people assume ‘it’s easy’ – websites do not run themselves, as great as that would be, it sadly isn’t the case. Websites require ongoing maintenance and monitoring and many under estimate the work involved.
“Is there really any point in SEO?”- Yes. 100%. In order to keep that highly ranked position on Google your website needs to be fully optimised. A lot of people have asked, what even is SEO? And to put it simply, it’s just the words people click on. Analysing the data from your website allows you to narrow down the keywords that visitors to your website click on to get there. Once you know what the most common search terms are, it involves threading them into your site to ensure it stays visible. With the forever changing algorithm, keeping on top of keywords is essential to maintaining that position.
It isn’t all about appearance, your brand must be unified throughout the content, the design, everything. If you want a brand to be taken seriously, then you need consistency to flow throughout. Pretty pictures are visually pleasing yes, but if the content is sloppy and/or not engaging then visitors will not stick around for long. Having content that is interesting to readers is just as important as the branding and design of a site.
Setting up a new website doesn’t equal instant visitors and the same goes for promotion online – don’t expect to see the high numbers rolling in straight away, it’s a slow and steady progress. It’s equally a lot of trial and error, tailoring your content to the needs of what your followers have liked or not liked in some cases requires ongoing analysis.
In what ways are tech developments such as big data influencing how business is done in 2017?
BL: Big data is a controversial topic within the tech industry because no one quite understands it or it’s potential.
It is a valuable asset to businesses who possess the ability to analyse it. For ITL we can analyse user behaviour, their location, how they got to our site and how long they stayed for, even what they were reading and if they found it interest by the amount of time they spent there.
You can start to notice trends and patterns forming therefore allowing you to target marketing campaigns around the users likes and dislikes. Its hugely beneficial for market research and in turn the development of new products. Analysing the data flowing through your website and online platforms allows you to gain valuable insight into potentially untapped market.
What does the future hold and what place will ITL play in that future?
BL: My mind has gone blank! I’ll come back to this one.
Is there anything connected you’d like to say?
BL: Pillory Barn are a dream to work with. Their team combines a talented mix of coders, designers and marketeers that have taken our two outdated sites and given them a modern twist.
The team got hands on with the project, listening and spending time understanding our work, our ethos, our services and ensuring the sites were right for both brands. Our website is the catalyst in driving our business forward and the redesign has resulted in increased awareness, improved brand image and has provided us with a platform to move forward.