How To Plan a Digital Strategy
Tips on how to plan a digital strategy effectively
One of the crucial aspects that can help your business thrive in today’s world is to plan a digital strategy. However, at the same time, it is not the easiest task, and don’t expect to come up with one overnight.
You can find much useful how-to advice online, but oftentimes, it requires observing, collecting data, and trying out what works best specifically for your business.
However, having a structured plan is always beneficial. Today, we will look into the particular steps that will help you determine and plan your own digital strategy! Let’s dive in!
What is Digital Strategy?
We have been hearing the term digital strategy for quite some time. The digital strategy represents efforts and actions you and your business need to undertake to take your business digital. Here, a straightforward action plan can help you achieve the desired results.
Having clear goals and a well-established digital strategy is vital for a successful business nowadays. Whether we want or not, we already live in a digital world.
One might think that in order to plan a digital strategy, you can just read a bunch of useful advice and in the end, you’ll come up with your own plan.
But the truth is, you can get inspired by other businesses that have already mastered their digital strategy and online presence, but in the end, it is up to you to make your own decisions.
A digital strategy is something that is individual for every business.
Even though we stress the topic of a digital strategy in today’s article, it doesn’t mean that we discuss something completely new and unknown.
The fundamental business principles are still on-point and what has changed is that the world goes through a digitalization process, so you need to keep it in mind when you want to both plan a digital strategy and communicate with your audience.
How to Plan a Digital Strategy?
Before we dive in and explore the particular steps that are beneficial to follow in order to determine and plan a digital strategy for your business, we need to highlight one important aspect, which can be also viewed as a ‘step zero’.
Remember that when planning a digital strategy, you need to keep the bigger picture and main business goals in mind. A digital strategy is something that has to be in alignment with your main business objectives.
You cannot just plan a digital strategy separately, without thinking about your business goals.
So, when you master the digital strategy from this point of view, it will be a lot easier to put into words what you want to achieve with your online presence.
What is a Digital Marketing Channel?
Online space gives you the option to choose from numerous digital channels. If you are completely new to this topic, it is worth mentioning that not all the channels are the same. You cannot just randomly pick a channel that appeals to you or is the most convenient for you.
Digital marketing channels allow you not only to reach your target audience but also to engage and communicate with them.
To mention some of the popular digital channels, you can consider Social Media, email marketing, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), affiliate marketing, and the list goes on.
Think of your digital strategy as something above all your efforts and actions. This will help you stay focused. You can still be present online but without a clear digital strategy, you may not know where all the actions will lead you.
Each and every one of the digital channels has its own characteristics. For example, considering who is your target audience will help you decide what tone should you use when communicating with your clients or potential customers. But let’s break it down step by step.
1. Establish Your Goals
When you want to plan a digital strategy, the very first step would be establishing clear goals. You probably don’t need one just because all other businesses have a digital strategy.
Both long-term and short-term goals will help you come up with the formulation of your digital strategy. However, this can turn out to be a slippery slope sometimes. Forget about goals like ”I want to be successful”. You want to be as specific as possible here.
To help you with formulating your goals, we recommend using a SMART framework. It is an easy way to remember what criteria should your goals comply with.
Each goal should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. Here is an example to get a better understanding of the framework.
You can set a goal that for the next 5 months, you want to attract 40 new customers every month.
2. Who is Your Target Audience?
We have already tapped into this topic previously. As it is important to figure out your target audience when thinking about your initial business plan, equally important is to keep it in mind when you plan a digital strategy.
This way, you will be able to determine the tone and language you want to use. On top of that, it will be also less complicated to find out which channels are most suitable for your business.
For example, when establishing yourself on the web, you have many social media options to choose from. Should you use Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram as your primary platform or would Twitter be a better idea?
Well, you’ll find the answer when you determine who is your target audience. While LinkedIn is mostly suitable for professional purposes, less formal networks require a more friendly approach.
3. Establish Your Customer Personas
Once you figured out your target audience, you can take it a step further by visualizing and outlining the typical customers you are targeting. This step certainly goes hand in hand with the point above.
To create your customer personas, you will need to answer all the demographic details such as age, education, or nationality.
You can aim to define around 3-5 personas. This way, it will be much easier to figure out the tone you want to speak with your audience, so it will be in alignment with your digital strategy.
If you want to plan a digital strategy that is not only good but also efficient, this point shouldn’t be underestimated.
And remember it won’t just appear out of nowhere. If you don’t know where to start, you can simply try to conduct a survey, and make data-driven conclusions.
4. Think About Your Budget
Expecting you can plan a digital strategy but not considering the expenses might not end up with a fortunate outcome. You simply need to be aware of what you can afford.
If you are taking your business digital for the first time, then the initial budget will be probably bigger, since you might want to invest in different tools that will help you achieve the results.
Making sure everyone in the team is on the same page with you and is aware of what the goals are can ensure that the work is not doubled. Otherwise, you might end up finishing the tasks, but not efficiently.
This will also help you determine to which degree you can afford paid advertising, or if you are about to build your website, you can make a better decision on which hosting solution would be the best for your needs.
5. Mobile Devices
Don’t undervalue mobile devices. The fact that we live in a digital era not only means that almost everything can be accessed digitally but also that people are using mobile phones all the time.
Therefore, it is vital to keep it in mind when you plan a digital strategy.
This means, for example, having a mobile-responsive design of your website, so users don’t need to do additional zooming when they access it from mobile phones.
Oftentimes, a slow, not responsive website is something that can easily drive your users or potential customers away.
And did we mention that mobile-friendly websites are also seen as more valuable from a search engine point of view? This means that with a mobile-friendly website, you have better chances to improve your SEO and rank higher on search engines.
6. Measure Your Performance
All the steps we have mentioned so far are crucial for you to follow in order to plan a digital strategy. However, the fact that you figure out a plan, doesn’t necessarily mean all the work is done.
Measuring how your efforts are performing can help you make additional adjustments and improvements. Your business can benefit from setting up Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in regards to your digital strategy.
One of the biggest positives of KPIs is that you are more likely to stay focused on your overall business goals.
This is especially important because sometimes, you might find yourself in a situation where your digital strategy is not in alignment with the bigger picture.
Nowadays, digital strategy is probably one of the core aspects for the majority of businesses out there. However, not everyone has mastered the skill of how to determine and plan a digital strategy that is both powerful and efficient.
No matter what, the things you might always want to keep in mind are your target audience and the business goals, so your business can keep thriving and growing.
The action plan will only help you make your journey organized and less stressful. And remember, there is always space for improvements.
So, whenever you discover some things don’t work out the way they should, you can consistently come up with new ideas and solutions.
We hope this article was helpful and that you are a step closer to determining your own plan of a digital strategy!