8 Steps to Follow when Building a Digital Strategy for Your Business

Guest Post by Elena James

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Photo by XPS on Unsplash

In 2021, the question is no longer: “Should you build a digital strategy for your business or not?” This fourth industrial revolution of digitalization has become essential for the development and success of your business.

The ideal digital strategy for business is one that maximizes the profitability and sustainability of your business over a defined period. Today’s customer is tech savvy, demanding, and always on the go.

According to studies, 89% of Swiss people use smartphones and 21% a tablet computer to access the Internet. In fact, in 2022, the number of monthly active Internet users will reach 6.92 million people.

Carrying out a regular review of the actions carried out makes it possible to determine where to reinvest in your business. If you find it difficult to calculate, you can outsource accounting services. Nowadays, many reputable firms provide online accounting services for small business.

What is a digital strategy?

In short, digital offers many channels that you can (should?) use to market the services or products of your company, SME or multinational.

But, without direction, all effort is empty. To be successful in this ever-changing digital world, you need a plan of action. This plan is an effective digital strategy to ensure that your efforts have the maximum impact, i.e., the greatest possible return on investment (ROI).

Designing a strategy is easier than you think. The secret is to break it down into small, realistic steps.

8 steps to build an effective digital strategy:

Allow me to share the eight essential steps to facilitate the construction of a digital marketing strategy that guarantees your business goals’ success.

  1. Analyse your position in the market
  2. Define the goals and objectives of your digital strategy
  3. Analyse your competitors’ strategy
  4. Identify your target customers
  5. Define your communication strategy 
  6. Create an effective content strategy
  7. Manage your resources and budget 
  8. Measure the performance of your strategic actions 

1. Analyse your position in the market 

Before starting your digital strategy, consider three points: 

  1. Your business, 
  2. Your industry 
  3. Your position in the market.

Define the strengths and weaknesses of your business concerning the market. Consider the business opportunities available in your market and external threats.

This methodology is known as SWOT analysis. This English acronym can be translated into French by SWOT: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats.

It gives your business an overview of internal and external business factors and identifies key issues.

2. Define the goals and objectives of your digital strategy

To ensure the success of your digital strategy, set realistic goals. Digital technology makes it possible to achieve many objectives, such as:

  • Conversion of Internet users into customers
  • Lead generation
  • Increased visibility
  • Traffic generation
  • Customer loyalty
  • Improved Customer Experience

The best practice for defining your digital strategy’s objectives relies on SMART indicators – Specific, Measurable, Acceptable, Realistic, Time-bound.

3. Analyse your competitors’ strategy

You strive to establish a dominant position of your business in your digital market. Your competitors are doing it too. 

Plus, they might have the same goals as you. It is, therefore interesting and useful to analyse their practices followed to build your digital strategy.

Here are the key points to consider when analysing your competitors:

  • Who are their clients?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of their strategy?
  • What communication strategies do they use?
  • How do they connect with their target customers?
  • What social media are they active on?

By comparing your objectives to your competitive analysis, you assess their relevance.

4. Identify your target customers – the famous Persona

If you want to tell a story that connects with your audience, you need to understand who your audience is. Therefore, identifying your target customers is one of the essential steps in the implementation of your digital strategy. If you don’t know your target, you are likely shooting nearby.

Creating ” Persona ” can be an effective solution! The persona are profiles that represent your ideal clients. A persona considers several elements of the client to be targeted: his needs and requirements, his behaviour, his professional career, his values, his objectives and his decision-making tendencies.

By creating the personas specific to your products or solutions, you can better tailor your marketing efforts to your target customers’ needs. 

The use of persona has been shown to increase the traffic of targeted Internet users to the website between two to five times.

5. Define your communication strategy 

Once you have identified your SWOT, your objectives, competition level, and persona, identify the communication channels to disseminate your marketing message.

The channels to consider for your digital strategy are

  • Ecosystem Web (main website – microsites, apps)
  • Email and customer relationship management (CRM)
  • Intranet
  • Social media for internal and external use such as WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook Workplace, Twitter, LinkedIn
  • Email marketing
  •  Pay per click
  • Search engine optimization
  • SMS / text messaging
  • Video Marketing
  • Integrations / Systems that will help reduce administration

Find the exhaustive list of digital channels to optimize on this link. 

When identifying the channels your customers spend most of their time on, focus on those that generate between 60-80% of the traffic. Thus, you make your resources profitable. 

6. Create an effective editorial strategy

A strategy within a strategy? 

Yes, by creating content that engages your potential customers, you attract Internet users looking for your solutions. Leaders in content marketing (editorial or content strategy) collect 7.8 times more traffic on their site than others. 

So, promote your engaging content through the most effective digital communication channels. This will make it easier for you to get the results you want.

Rather an inbound marketing or outbound marketing approach?

Inbound marketing is a strategy that focuses on creating high-quality content for Internet users who in turn will promote your product/service and your marketing messages.

Many marketers, often inexperienced, believe that content marketing is too expensive. Reality shows the contrary.

While content marketing takes longer to be profitable than outbound marketing, it costs 62% less and generates more than three times as many leads over the medium term.

7. Manage your resources and budget 

To optimize the functioning of your digital strategy, consider these two essential points:

First, identify the resources internally and externally. Hire the people in your organization who can best handle the actions that add value to your strategy – and outsource accordingly. By analyzing your available resources and deciding where to place talent in relation to your goals and milestones, you ensure more tremendous success for your strategy, and therefore your business.

The second point is to set a web marketing budget. This budget determines, at least in part, the resources you will use to achieve your goals. Some digital tactics require larger financial investments (e.g. paid listing). While other solutions require more patience and internal efforts (eg inbound marketing).

8. Measure the performance of your strategic actions 

Don’t think that once you have your digital strategy in place, your job is done. Measuring the performance of your strategic actions is an ongoing task.

Collect all digital data from resources such as Google Analytics, Google Search Console. Regularly request reports from key departments and your suppliers to distinguish which actions are working and which are not.

The KPIs (key performance indicators) that can help you effectively measure the performance of your strategy are

  • Traffic to your website 
  • The average time spent on your website 
  • The position of keywords on Google (natural referencing) 
  • Click-through rate 
  • Conversion rates
  • ROI of each campaign (return on investment)

There is a free tool that allows you to generate dashboards with all these indicators for free: Google Datastudio.

By regularly tracking your KPIs, you find out which content or campaigns are driving traffic, clicks, engagement and ultimately sales. Learn from your mistakes to correct your digital strategy. It will become smarter, stronger and more efficient.


Author Bio: Elena James is a Business analyst and growth hacker. She helps small businesses to grow with the best business ideas and digital marketing strategies. Currently working as a business analyst at eBetterBooks(One of the best accounting and bookkeeping services in the United States)

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