Digital strategy, what is it? The internet is turning into a never-ending expanse that we just can’t seem to catch up with. So, is it worth spending time and money developing a strategy for your digital channels that may well be out of date by the time you’ve figured it out? In short, yes.
Developing your business strategy is the first thing to establish. Knowing your weaknesses is key to this, identifying where you’ve gone wrong in the past can, and will inform where you’re heading in the future.
Look at the challenges and obstacles your organisation faces and create a plan to overcome them. A solid business strategy will form the basis of your digital strategy. There isn’t much difference between the two, it’s just about how you apply your strategy to the wonderful world of digital.
Know the difference between an aim and a strategy. While you may have a really clear idea of what you want your business to achieve, this is an aim not a strategy. You may have a list of goals and sales targets: again, this isn’t a strategy. However, knowing where you want to go means getting there will be a lot easier, that’s where strategy comes in. It’s the master map that gets you to your goals.
Let’s look at company A.
Company A aims to be the largest financial services provider in the North West of England. But how do they get there? They need to develop a strategy.
They start by analysing their competition. It becomes clear that their main competitor is Company B. They are a more established financial services provider, they’re much bigger, with several offices across the North West. They have solid relationships with local accountants and solicitors, most of which provide them with referrals. Their main focus is to attract clients over 55, because they specialise in equity release and pensions.
How do they market themselves? Local newspaper, newsletters and DM. They have a website but it’s definitely not their main port-of-call to attract new customers, it’s dated. That is their only digital presence.
By conducting this analysis, Company A has identified their competitors weakness: lack of digital presence means they’re missing out on an entire customer demographic, younger business owners in the 35 – 55 age group. Company A identifies a gap in the market that plays on their already established strengths, they have expertise in products that appeal to this younger audience. So, how do they get their products in front of them. They conduct research and find that this audience is more digitally focussed, researching the services their business needs online. With this, company A decide to place more of a focus on their digital identity. This forms part of their strategy.
They update their website to reflect the audience they want to attract, championing the products they offer that are relevant to this younger demographic. They know their website will be the first destination for new customers. They add a ‘live chat’ option and an online enquiry form, building their existing database of potential customers. They offer clear guides on their website to explain their products in plain English. Making even their more complex services easy to understand. Customers want transparency, especially where financial services are concerned, to them the simpler the better.
Company A also identifies emerging businesses ran by people within this age group are frequently specialist in digital. So, they develop a plan to translate their identity across various digital medias, giving them a stronger presence in their target audiences channels of choice. With campaigns across Facebook, Google, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.
They begin to attract new clients and they analyse their user journey (this is also key to improve your digital strategy). They soon learn that many of their new clients had searched YouTube for understandable tips and advice about financial services to no avail. Company A use this insight to inform their digital strategy further and decide to create content for YouTube with short videos about their products and the benefits.
In summary, once they identified their weaknesses, understood their competition and analysed their target audience, they were able to develop their strategy accordingly and in turn, identify the appropriate channels to communicate with their audience.