Few would deny we live in an age where digital technology is important to business. But to make it work for you, it needs to be leveraged with a clear digital strategy. If your business has a website, you use emailing or even have a social media presence but no actual plan it's easy to create a series of tactics that serve no true purpose. You will be failing to capitalise on prime opportunities and your business will begin to struggle as competitors stride ahead. But with a digital plan, your business can benefit from all the web has to offer. Still not convinced? Here are five reasons why you may need a digital marketing strategy.
It gives you direction and focus
Companies without a digital strategy don't have clear goals for what they want to achieve online in terms of gaining new customers or building relationships with existing ones. If you don't have goals you likely don't put enough resources to reach the goals and you don't evaluate whether you're achieving those goals.
Your competitors will gain market share
If you're not devoting enough resources to digital marketing or you're using an ad-hoc approach with no clearly defined strategies, then your competitors will take advantage of this and you will be left behind. So the first step is to know what they are up to and here’s some ways to assess this:
· User experience: Gauge the usability or customer service of your business and contrasted it with your competitors and potential substitutes. What are their websites like and how is the buying or engagement experience?
· Features/functionality analysis: An evaluation of the features and functionality provided by your business or service compare with the competition.
· Reach: how do your competitors rank in search results, for social media loyalty and engagement?
You need to understand your customers better
It's said that digital is the "most measureable medium ever". But Google Analytics will only tell you volumes not why so you’ll need to use other methods to get to know your customers better; find out how, when and what they are looking for online. Some methods to use are:
· Exit surveys and online surveys using Survey Monkey (free for first 10 questions)
· Client Workshop
· Keyword research
Your marketing isn’t integrated
It's all too common for digital to be completed in isolation whether that's a specialist digital marketer, sitting in IT/marketing or a separate digital agency. It's easier that way to package digital marketing into a convenient chunk but it will be less effective. Most agree that digital media will work better when integrated with traditional media and this will help build awareness of the brand too.
It will help you to optimise and stay ahead
Every company with a website should have analytics, but many managers or business owners don't ensure that they make enough time to review and act on them. Once a strategy enables you to get the basics right, then you can progress to continuous improvement of the key aspects like search marketing, website user experience, email and social media marketing. What have you found can go right or wrong?
Key Performance Indicators or KPIs will help to create measurable goals. For example:
· Increase click through rates.
· Increase conversion rates.
· Reduce bounce rate.
· Reduce cart abandonment.
If you need help developing a digital marketing strategy contact me firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange an informal chat.
This article first appeared in the October 2015 edition of the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce’s Magazine ‘Business Connect’.