Understanding Digital Strategy – The Basics

By January 20, 2019 Marketing

A strategy is a set of organized actions that help to achieve a clearly defined goal. In marketing, actions are carried out with the aim of achieving the business objectives of the company.

Here are a few examples strategies that, if executed correctly, can lead to hitting business objectives:

  1. Publish a series of articles on a blog to improve the SEO of a website.
  2. Advertise on Facebook to get more likes on the company page.
  3. Create a free pdf download on your website to increase email subscribers.

My definition of digital strategy can be summed up like this: A digital strategy is a set of actions organized in a precise way to digitally connect with targeted audiences.

Why a successful digital strategy is a real challenge for companies?

Your digital strategy is crucial to getting results from social media involvement and other web activity. Whether a company lacks visibility or not, digital is part of a new paradigm essential to marketing as a whole. For many companies, the digital presence is far from being anchored in habits. It’s also underestimated by leadership figures who are afraid of spending too much time without result. Tools can also seem too complex to use. Here’s a guide to refute these clichés and to highlight the power of a digital strategy.

A digital strategy, what is it?

Marketing and digital communication

Digital marketing is using marketing methods and practices on the web and on social media. For example:

The optimization of e-commerce

Marketing Funnel Development

Traffic creation and lead generation

Digital communication is an integral part of a marketing strategy. Yes, it’s about digitizing information media, but it’s also about creating a real digital ecosystem. The digital communication strategy can be established in three different environments: the web, social media and mobile devices.

Definition of digital strategy

A digital strategy is the implementation of marketing and digital communication in an organized manner with specific objectives. I recommend using a SWOT analysis (strategic matrix of the brand) as you form a digital strategy, so you can make informed decisions about your digital tactics. The SWOT will help you analyze the strengths and weaknesses followed by threats and opportunities in your environment.

An essential characteristic of our time

Today, it’s impossible to ignore the importance of digital tools. Widely used, digital media and digital tools have a place in the strategies of the largest companies as well as smaller ones. The use of digital is a sign of modernism and that the company is in stride with the changes and progress of society.

In addition, the explosive growth of active users on social media and the web over the last decade is accompanied by a decline in traditional print communication. Print is now inefficient, and setting up a digital strategy is a far more efficient way to boost communication and marketing efforts.

There’s no effective community management without digital strategy

Another important point to consider: Many companies want to be active on social networks at all costs. But they don’t put forth the right amount of resources to communicate effectively on social networks; most of which are recreational rather than professional environments. This improvised approach often has very little effectiveness and it can also have the opposite effect of creating a bad image. This is a real problem that your digital strategy can prevent because it will specify the attitude to adopt and the guidelines for use of social media.

The implementation of a digital strategy is based on the same principles as any communication plan. It’s important to define the objectives, the positioning, the targets, and the messages.

 

What you need to know before designing a digital strategy:

 

Integrate your digital strategy into your overall marketing strategy

Before setting up your digital strategy, take into account the fact that you’ll have to integrate it into your overall marketing strategy. You’ve got to be consistent. This strategy should also be in line with the company’s objectives. Before organizing your digital strategy, you have to decide what your objectives are and they must be consistent with the overall objectives of the company.

You’ll also have to characterize your objectives and define which ones have priority: expansion, reputation and visibility, increased sales or loyalty potential, etc. These objectives, in agreement with those of the company, should follow the SMART principle (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely).

Determine the financing

Finally, setting up a digital strategy can be more or less expensive. So before starting the process get a quote to evaluate the cost. This will give you a clear vision of how to budget for the proposed services. It’s essential to determine the financing in advance to avoid surprises and extra costs. But don’t be tempted to make choices solely on price. The cheapest option may not be the best one for you. Remember, you get what you pay for. Get professional advice on the right strategy to put in place and adjust your budget to fit.

The choice of tools and techniques used in a digital strategy will depend a lot on the budget.

Even if, for example, the creation of a Facebook page doesn’t cost anything, its engagement, its moderation, and its promotion represent a significant budget! The same goes for the investment of manpower. It’ll be important to think in terms of human resources. Is it the marketing manager, who’s already overloaded, that can support the engagement? Is it an external agency, an internal recruit, freelancer, or a fixed-term contract? Think on it and choose the best option for your business or organization.

Steps to Insure Success for Your Digital Strategy

Every opportunity for contact with a person is an opportunity to establish a positive relationship with them. With there being so many ways to make contact, developing a good digital mix can be very complex. Your digital mix should be everywhere at all times to address all your audiences. It’s easy to get overwhelmed. All the more reason not to improvise your digital strategy. Let’s see how to build it in 12 steps.

  1. Do an audit of your current digital presence

As the first step, establish a benchmark to evaluate the company’s potential, to identify possible obstacles and also to define the objectives.

It’s like when you feel tired or stuck. You suspect something is wrong but can’t put the right words on how you feel. You visit your doctor, and thanks to their in-depth knowledge of the context, your history, and your environment, they can make an informed diagnosis and treat you.

The audit stage of your digital strategy is like a doctor’s diagnosis. It’s a process of collecting all the situational data, gathering all the statistics available on your industry and your audience and use all the knowledge available to your team.

  1. A successful digital strategy integrates into the overall strategy of the company

Your digital strategy needs to be at the heart of your business strategy. It isn’t a question of making a pretty Facebook page whose only objective would be to gather “fans”.

Is one of your business goals this year to better qualify the leads you pass to your sales people? You may have noticed that sales people don’t love making cold calls to filter your contact lists. How can digital help you achieve this goal? One solution might be to provide relevant content for your audiences through an automated campaign that would collect helpful qualifying information about each potential customer. Magic? No! And this is only an example! Take this example and always start your digital strategy as a way to solve an existing business problem. A digital strategy offers solutions and isn’t an end in itself.

  1. Define your digital goals in accordance with your business objectives

The goals of your digital strategy should align and support your business goals. After defining the objectives, the digital strategy must have specific targets. You want to establish a target market made up of the most important people you want to reach because they share your company’s interests and values. This target market must be relevant and not utopian.

  1. Define and measure objectives

To get real results, a digital strategy must be based on concrete and realistic objectives.

  1. Organize your strategy

After planning what your digital marketing strategy will be, its then important to organize it so the company can monitor its strategy to improve efficiency and profitability.

  1. Organize your Inbound Marketing

When you adopt a digital strategy, you often adopt the technique of Inbound Marketing that focuses more on the qualitative aspect of marketing. By creating a connection with customers, inbound marketing naturally generates inbound traffic. It’s important to organize your inbound marketing content to best target your customers and their expectations and to be as efficient as possible in generating leads.

  1. Establish a customer journey

After selecting the right digital tools for your strategy, establish a “customer journey”. This journey should break out various stages of awareness in order to reach the customer at each stage with valuable insight that is customized to his or her interest.

  1. Use Benchmarking

Benchmarking is a marketing strategy that assesses the digital presence of your competitors and analyzes it. Competitive analysis on how your competition is positioned on the web helps you determine your own strategy with that information in mind.

  1. Organize the work

A digital strategy requires an organized work flow around mobilizing the strategy. Be sure to learn and observe the best work and communication techniques.

  1. Use a calendar and plan your strategy

One of the indispensable tools of work is an editorial schedule (or calendar) of publications and events in order to better plan and communicate your news. An editorial calendar helps you communicate strategically and customize content production so more of it gets read and more impact can be made.

  1. Choose automation

You can also automate certain tools and publications, which can be convenient for publishing on the web and social networks at regular intervals to create a habit with customers who will be anticipating your posts.

  1. Identify your targets (influencers, ambassadors)

One of the most important parts of the digital strategy equation is the precise identification of your targets. Digital analysis tools make it possible to accurately pin point the geographic and demographic information of people who are or have been in contact with your brand. And not just your existing customers! Having this information is tremendously powerful, and all that information will need to be sorted and analyzed to truly gain leverage. Digital has brought up lots of new concepts about the people who make up your audiences. Two, at the forefront right now are: ambassadors and influencers.

The ambassador or evangelist is the person who’s so impressed by your brand that he or she is promoting it (for free). What better gift could you give? The best-known example of a brand with a real “army” of ambassadors is Apple. A lot of us have that one friend that’s a true Apple fan and is always trying to convince everyone their iPhone is superior, and yet Apple doesn’t pay them a dime.

The influencer is a person who has acquired a status and an audience on a given subject. Their opinions are widely disseminated and listened to. Brands often seek out these individuals for their help to exponentially develop the brand’s exposure.

The results of a digital strategy

Once the digital strategy is in place, you can’t put it on cruise control. You have to keep evaluating its effectiveness and keep analyzing it to adapt it to any changes in the company and the clientele. Once you have invested in a digital strategy, it’s essential to regularly analyze ROI (return on investment) but also the ROA (return on attention). If you notice a failure, don’t hesitate to fix it as soon as possible.

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