In an increasingly technology-driven world, it is essential that business owners understand exactly how to harness digital marketing to achieve their full potential.

But the rules are plentiful and the lines blurred, with no straightforward set of guidelines to follow. Each sector, campaign and target audience require a different approach. For many women venturing into the world of freelancing or self-employment for the first time, there is a distinct realisation that they lack the digital skills and knowhow needed to fast-track their road to entrepreneurial success. These women need to boost their Digital Literacy.

What is Digital Literacy?

“Digital Literacy” is a popular buzzword that can mean different things to different people. For Women On The Web, this phrase is in reference to how much understanding an individual or businesses possesses of the digital world and how it can benefit them. For many, this can be an intimidating phrase as the digital world is constantly developing.

Digital Literacy, to break it into two sections, can be viewed as two sets of skills; technological and digital. Again, there is not one set definition for these two categories however this is my interpretation:

Technology skills: Technological skills involve equipment. This is knowledge of computers, installing software, programming and network skills (WiFi, LAN etc).

Digital skills: Digital skills centre around the knowledge and skills necessary to conduct or organise business online, whether this be for marketing (social media, email etc) or organising (CRM systems, Quickbooks, etc.) your business. These are indispensable when using smartphones and other devices.

Why is raising digital literacy important?

At a basic level, raising digital literacy in women has been recognised as important and an area that many feel they need more training in. In a Women on the Web survey, over 90% of 100 surveyed business women agree that knowledge of technology and digital systems is required to generate success, but only 11% of respondents said they had a ‘high’ level of digital literacy, with 31 per cent of respondents believing they had little or no understanding of digital at all. With women making up almost 50 per cent of the workforce, it is clear that more needs to be done to equip them with the digital skills they need to succeed whether in the corporate world or that of self employment.

Whilst there will always be a requirement for the use of more traditional marketing techniques, it is now becoming an essential requirement that this forms part of a wider campaign that includes digital elements. Here are a few ways to become more digitally minded.

  1. Keep it simple – with so much advice out there, it can be hard to decipher which parts to take notice of and which to ignore. The best route is to keep it simple and focused. Take one profile at a time and make sure you really understand it and are working it well before moving on to the next. It’s far better to be managing one profile effectively than several profiles badly!
  2. Drill down the data – the Internet is your oyster when it comes to finding out about your customers! From who they are, where they browse online, their location and their interests, whatever you want to find out about them, there are statistics, figures and insights available to help.
  3. Staying up to date – the digital-world is fast paced and nothing stays the same for long. That’s why it is essential to keep an eye on the latest developments, tools and techniques that could aid your strategy. Simple ideas such as setting up Google Alerts for digital marketing news could help you stay ahead of the curve.

It’s clear that Digital Literacy is an area that many could benefit from developing, but luckily, there are a great many resources online to help you do just that. All you need to do is invest the time and you’ll soon be reaping the rewards.

About the Author

Carol Mann is a digital literacy expert with 25+ years experience in sales and marketing. Her organisation Women on the Web (WOW) is dedicated to equipping women with the necessary digital tools for a successful business. More information can be found on Women on the Web.