It’s a new year, and for many companies, that means it’s time to do business in new ways in an increasingly digital marketplace. If one of your resolutions is to build your business and boost your profits, don’t overlook your digital strategy. There may be significant uncertainty in the world these days, but the value of having a successful digital strategy isn’t one of them.
Consumers are flocking to the internet in droves. They research products and services, read reviews and shop for what they want and need in an ever-more competitive market. If they can’t find your brand, or don’t like what they see when they do, you lose.
If your current digital strategy doesn’t seem to be garnering results, you can’t just sit back and hope for the best. Do a deep dive into your strategy to find out what you’re doing right and what’s off the mark. Here are three things to consider as you do so:
1. Figure Out Where You Are Now
You can’t know how your digital strategy is doing unless you thoroughly assess it, so begin there. This step is particularly important if your brand’s digital manifestation was a knee-jerk reaction to the pandemic. Many companies faced with the need to change the way they did business when the world ground to a halt did so without a well-considered plan.
If you merelyconverted your analog marketing to digital, it probably isn’t working. Let’s say you have a printed troubleshooting manual you send customers with every order. Merely uploading a PDF version to your website won’t cut the proverbial mustard because the information needs to behave in a different way. It must be searchable for customers and easily accessed by your chatbots. In other words, you must transform it from static to interactive.
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To find out where your brand stands, read what your prospects, customers and competitors are saying about you online. Does your digital strategy include a way to monitor chatter and respond to it? Allowing less-than-stellar reviews to sit unattended on your website and social media can be deadly.
Also, determine the metrics you need to measure the success or failure of your digital strategy. Look at things like inbound links to your website, new and returning visitors across all your digital channels and bounce, exit and click-through rates. Make a habit of reviewing Google Analytics to see whether your content is moving the needle. If it’s not, adjust your content strategy until it does.
Assessing your digital strategy is not an occasional exercise. Given the fluidity of the marketplace, and your brand’s need to adjust accordingly, it should be routine.
2. Figure Out Where You Want to Be
A digital strategy without goals is aimless. Those goals should be ambitious but realistic, and every component in the strategy should be a step toward reaching them. So after you figure out where you are, figure out where you want to be. Then focus on engagement to get you there.
Audiences no longer just want to buy goods and services. They want to engage with the companies they buy from, so companies need their buy-in. Perhaps driven by remote work and all the hours spent at home, customers and employees crave interaction.
Look for new ways to engage people inside and outside your organization. Take advantage of new trends, like the phenomenal attraction of video content. A growing number of people not only engage with videos with shares and comments, but they’re also using platforms like TikTok to create them. Curate those about your brand, created inside and outside your company, to attract and engage a wider audience.
Engagement builds rapport and establishes relationships. As those increase, so will your brand’s credibility—a required goal in any marketing strategy.
Digital channels provide profitable opportunities for engagement. Make sure your strategy is using them to their full advantage.
3. Help Your Team Reach Optimal Performance
As technology-driven as they are, digital strategies don’t run themselves. People are still required. Consider how your team is executing your strategy and what you can do to help them reach optimal performance.
Begin by examining individual performance within the team. Who are the stars? Who are the underachievers? Before you bench the latter, think about what the stars can do to teach and support them or what tools they might need to do better.
You’ve probably invested significant resources in software and other tech designed to help team members do their jobs. Just as you monitor metrics for your digital strategy, keep track of your team’s use of the tools you’ve given them. For example, how many software subscriptions do you have, and how many team members are using them?
Next, reflect on how you’re employing your team’s time. If you aren’t maximizing it, figure out why. Maybe you’re expecting team members to do more than they can handle. If so, determine what roles you can outsource. Contracting out some tasks in your digital strategy will give your team the time they need to ramp up performance on what’s left in-house.
Look at the responsibilities your team is handling and what you’re outsourcing. Assess the cost-effectiveness of continuing those hybrid duties versus expanding your team to bring some tasks back under your roof. For example, if you currently contract someone to do a task (e.g., SEO audits) no one on your team knows how to do, what would it cost to hire someone with that talent to join the digital strategy team? What would be the benefit?
The success of your digital strategy depends on building the right team. Once you’ve done so, give them the right tools and make sure they’re using them. Outsource tasks when keeping (or bringing) them in-house doesn’t make sense. You’ll then be coaching a championship team.
A winning digital strategy requires constant time and attention. It’s worth the effort because you can’t succeed in these times without one. So take that deep dive and prepare to get wet. It’s a new year, and it’s time to sink or swim.