Internet Marketing November 11th, 2013
You can create a macro strategy, one that covers your entire communications plan, or a micro strategy, one that covers a single initiative.
In simple terms, a digital strategy is a plan in which a digital channel is used to create a two-way medium of communication in a business or industry. Such a strategy can deal with both micro and macro strategies. Your micro digital plan will thus deal with one particular segment of your communications and a macro one will encompass your complete communications strategy. The best digital strategy will help you attain your objectives. It must also be adaptable to enable you to make changes in the future and incorporate ideas and concepts that spring up in a fast changing technology. Above all, it should provide you with a view that enables you to calculate and make it come alive.
The first step in your digital strategy plan is, broadly speaking, to do research of your stakeholders, customers, market policy, business documents, competitors and other aspects that have a vital bearing on the particular business your company is engaged in. As far as customers go, the strategy for them should include research on them, interviews, online habits etc.
Interview stakeholders: Person-to-person conversation is generally the best way to find out things. Therefore, talk with people who play key roles in the digital agency; this is the first step in formulating your digital strategy. In this way you will better understand the environment you are working in as well as your company and its employees. Armed with this, you will be able to chalk out your strategy in a scientific, methodical way.
Interview/research/customers: You will also need to interview customers and do research on them. Interviews could be conducted on a person-to-person basis. Have online discussions centering on your brand or conduct web interaction tests. It’s essential to speak to customers in the same manner you talk with stakeholders and you must base your strategies at the point where these two conversations converge.
The objective of your customer research will be to discover what motivates your customers to purchase your services/products, besides the values they hold dear to themselves. But don’t speak to customers in mass or at random. You have to specifically target the customers in a well-defined group; only then will you be able to devise a relevant strategy. If you don’t know your customers’ online habits, whether they use mobile devices or not, for example, you won’t know what mode of mutual communication will work best for them with regard to the strategy you are devising. You have to know how your customers use latest technologies and how tech savvy your own company is.
Research the competition: You must know your key competitors; the business and digital strategies you are contending with; what the competition is and its intensity, besides regional versus national/international competition. In this way you’ll know exactly where your company (or client) stands and accordingly develop your digital strategy.
Market reviews: A marketing review reflects the success of the business. So analyze all marketing endeavors of your company before you recommend anything. Or you might be duplicating some endeavor! You must be very sure that what you are recommending will fetch good results.
This phase of a digital strategy is an exciting one. It’s where you become a detective who is prowling about and digging up nuggets of information to be used in the final digital strategy. You pick up clues here and there and piece together some puzzles too. It will require both legwork and brainwork and will be most satisfying for you. Most importantly, it will put you on the path of a great strategy solution.
The all-encompassing business goal in a digital strategy refers to the strategy’s ultimate aim. The goals may refer to any segment of the business, but one thing should be clear: they must be of high-level ones. Many strategists tear out the goals in fear that they may backfire and become negative factors in the overall plan, but I would advise you to retain them.
Objectives are a part of goals. Goals are broken down into objectives. They explain how you will attain your goal – in a measurable way. That is, they quantify the ‘how’ of your digital strategy. When you are able to measure certain aspects of your business, your strategies will be better defined. For instance, if you have to measure the response time of customer service representatives, it will be easy if you have a system to do it. If you don’t it will be a tough task.
Having done research on your customers and having gathered data from sources other than online, you must be in a position to know precisely what they need and how they use digital technology. So you have to focus on their requirements, what they value, and how you can deliver their needs in both a digital and non-digital way. Don’t stick to the technical; use offline methods too to put a sort of hybrid marketing in place.
The analytics of an organization will tell you from where your audience/traffic is being driven. It is extremely important to know the behavior and tendency of your visitors and the points where conversions take place for then you can better formulate your strategy to drive more visitors and increase your engagement with them. It is essential to know which channels are helping you the most. For instance, merely knowing how much and from where you are getting those social media visitors means nothing unless you know how many are converting and why. You have to recognize which channels are good for you and why they are good for you. For instance, high channel volume is meaningless without high conversion rate.
What is success –– or failure — for that matter? This will depend on the metrics you take into account for your different techniques. Thus leads, or sales, should not necessarily define your website’s success. This will depend on the set of metrics that you have set to gauge success/failure. In organic search analytics for instance, we examine the amount of non-branded keywords that are sending traffic to your site and how quickly the traffic’s volume is going up. For email, we prefer the click-thru rates, for paid media plans the metrics we calculate are how further the customer goes ahead of the landing page that’s associated with the advertisement. These metrics, normally referred to as KPI or Key Performance Indicators, frequently fluctuate, depending upon the company, channel and how success is defined. Whatever be the KPI, it must be measurable and thus measured.
You must have multiple strategies in place and not one grand one. Of course, if you have great strategy, it’s terrific. But since many changes have to be made to it in time, its value can fall quickly. Therefore, it’s better to build multiple strategies which can be tested, measured and which adapt fast. Since you are creating ideas and not dogmas, you must produce strategies that solve problems, like attaining objectives by communicating with persons you wish to reach out to. Also, you should bring your strategies to life. That’s where the ‘digital’ aspect of your strategy will be seen.
If you have some ideas on digital strategies please share them in the comments column. Hope my post has given you some insights into this subject.