A digital strategy is important for the same reason that any other type of strategy is. If an army was planning to invade a country they would have to create a battle map and plan of action in order to achieve that goal.
Numerous studies prove that successful people and successful companies share something in common: they are those that strategically cast a vision for where they would like to be and create micro steps towards making that dream a reality. This is the basis of SMART goals.
A digital strategy may encompass the following areas: digital products and services, content marketing, e-commerce, social media marketing, online customer service, SEO, online advertising and analytics.
You can either create a digital strategy as a stand-alone document or as part of your overall marketing strategy for the year. Here are five signs it’s time to get started now:
1. You don’t have a clear online unique selling proposition
A clear online marketing strategy should help you identify what your business offers online that the competition doesn’t and help you engage with potential customers and turn them into loyal clients/consumers.
2. You don’t know your online audience
Before you can market anything successfully you need to understand your customers. Who are they? What are their likes and dislikes? Where do they live? How old are they?
3. You’re not taking an integrated approach or are duplicating efforts
The trouble with lots of businesses is they delegate their online marketing to external agencies. There’s nothing wrong with this but often this creates an inconsistency in branding and messages between your online and traditional channels.
It also might mean that you waste resources, either time or money, by doubling up on systems and content.
4. You’re stagnant, directionless or losing market share to competitors
Maybe you feel overwhelmed by the digital technology so you implement a few things but largely leave this area to chance. Or perhaps your sales and conversions have stalled for a few years and you’re not seeing the growth you had hoped for.
Time to get a plan and fresh ideas and trial new approaches.
5. You’re not tracking results or optimising
Every website has the ability to track views, and other types of data. Plus there are services like Google Analytics which can give you much more detail on click through rates, conversions and bounce rates etc. Many businesses don’t take advantage of this rich data look for patterns and take time to act based on the information.
Analytics let you know what you need to improve on, and then help you measure the results of the changes.
Why is digital strategy important?
There are many reasons but let me give you the most important one: People. People now spend more time on digital media than any other form of media e.g. magazines and TV.
More and more demographics are getting digital-savvy. Devices now have more digital capability including higher bandwidth and more applications including social media.
The reason you are in business is to make money, yes, but it’s also to serve people. Without a human demand for your product or service your business is dead, so keeping up to date with how people interact with technology, and adapting to meet them on these platforms is critical.
How to get started
Firstly, figure out what you want your strategy to do. Do you want to use it to increase brand awareness, drive sales or figure out how to interact with your customers better? All of these are quite distinct and separate and will push your digital marketing strategy in a vastly different direction than the other goals.
Secondly, figure out what tools you might need to help you achieve that goal. Do you need to invest in a mobile-friendly website, do you need to purchase software, improve your understanding of SEO, start a Twitter account, build an app, or hire a content writer?
Next, know your audience or invest in research so you can understand your consumers.
Lastly, track everything. How will you measure your success? Does success look like 2,000 new social media followers, a four per cent increase in market share, or beating last year’s sales figures? Use analytics to track your advertising, social media and website, and adjust regularly until you see the desired results.