19
Feb

Having a Clear Digital Strategy Will Boost Your Business

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Confused by Social MediaPretty much everything has gone ‘digital’ these days and every year there seems to be a new social media platform begging to become the next social media trend. Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and many others have proliferated and become an excellent way that you can not only communicate with your customers, but also find out what your customers are thinking and saying about your company. Although these can have a hugely positive effect on your business (if used cleverly), with all of these different communication channels it can all seem a bit overwhelming for the small business that doesn’t have a dedicated department of ‘social media personnel’.

Take a step back and think about your digital strategy…

Sometimes you need to put the brakes on and not jump two feet first into the potential social media quagmire. Take a step back and have a think about exactly what you want to achieve. What are your goals, your objectives, and how are they currently being met? Going back to basics can be really useful sometimes, especially when you get caught up in your day to day tasks involved in running a business.

In order to not feel overwhelmed and to make sure your business is making the most of being online the best approach is to go back to basics, and that’s where you think about your overall digital strategy and how it’s going to help you achieve your business objectives. The definition of digital marketing basically means marketing your business on an electronic device, whether that be on a website, smartphone, desktop computer, tablet etc.. Are your objectives to increase sales, improve customer loyalty or perhaps to generate leads? If so then you can devise the best digital strategy that will outline the steps you path you need to take in order to get where you want to be. As the old adage goes…

Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory.
Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.
~ An ancient pearl of wisdom from Sun Tzu

In the context of a digital strategy this basically means that rather than taking a shotgun approach at the latest ‘buzzword’ in technology and social media, create a plan that gives your company direction in the online world, and this in turn will inform the decisions you take and the methods you use to market your business. Here’s a good article from Duct Tape Marketing that has a few simple steps to help you outline your business and online strategy.

Google's Master Strategy Plan ;)

Perhaps this strategy / action plan is just a tad too detailed?! ;)  Photo Credit: Steve Jurvetson cc

Take a look at your competitors…

One of the major advantages of being online is that it’s really easy to see what your competitors are doing. See what strategies they are employing, have a look at their social media profiles, go through their website with a fine toothcomb and you’ll soon get an idea of how they are marketing their business, but more importantly… how you can be different.

Once you have your business goals in mind and have an idea of what your competitors are up to, why not go about trying to define exactly what angle you will take that will set you apart. For example for an ecommerce site your goals and objectives might be to increase sales, and also to increase the repeat orders and average order value. A strategy for this might be to become the leader in your particular product niche by providing expert information and keeping in touch with your customers.

What tactics should I use in my digital marketing campaign?

Well first and foremost pretty much every business would benefit from having a website professionally developed. Even this forms part of the overall strategy, as the corporate branding and tone of the site should be adapted to the specific target audience, thereby increasing the likelihood of the site actually achieving its goals.

Ok so I have an existing website, now what? You want to consider the overall structure of the site, the content and graphics, and if these are all aligned with the message you are wanting to convey? Do they encourage interaction, with clear calls to action? Or does the site all look a bit confusing to your potential customer? Obviously we don’t want to put any barriers in the way of a customer getting in touch or placing an order, so assessing its performance and current state of affairs is essential. If you need any advice on developing a website design then obviously feel free to get in touch and we can discuss the best solution for your needs.

Where does digital marketing fit into all this?

Just like building a business offline, when you launch your website people aren’t going to find your website unless you do things to actively attract or encourage them to visit. You need to think of what tactics are going to generate visitors, but not just any visitors, the ones that are highly targeted and are more likely to convert into customers. Going back to the notion of having a digital strategy, this is the point where it’s essential to consider your strategy and what tactics you want to employ to get you to where you need to be.

A digital marketing campaign could encompass a range of different tactics, from setting up a Facebook page and sharing funny content regularly to starting a pay-per-click (PPC) Ad campaign with a network such as Google Adwords. Having a strategy means you can finely target the types of customers you want to, using only those social networks that will be most effective. If you have a trendy designer clothing store then sharing pictures on Instagram or Pinterest might be a good option, as that’s popular with your target audience. Conversely if you mainly sell business-to-business then perhaps LinkedIn or Google Plus might be more appropriate. There are so many different tactics you can use dependent on your business objectives, such as search engine optimisation, pay per click campaigns, Facebook advertising and many more.

To summarise, if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed with all of the different social media channels and platforms then it would be worthwhile to take a break and step back from the everyday mayhem to think about your overall strategy. Putting a digital strategy in place will help you think about your target audience, their needs and how you can best attract and serve them. Take that forward and cherry-pick the best tactics you can use to get their attention. Concentrate on a few different methods and try and dominate those areas rather than diluting the effect by trying all at once.

If you need any help planning or implementing a digital marketing campaign then feel free to get in touch to see how we can help.

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