HOW TO WRITE A CLEVER DIGITAL STRATEGY
You have a business strategy, a marketing strategy and now you need a digital strategy too? Great…. something else to add your to your never-ending list, and another document to add to the growing pile in your office…
And while any strategy needs to keep you on track to ensure you achieve key business goals, a Digital Strategy should be detailed, right down to daily and weekly tasks to keep you or your marketing resources on track. So if you struggle with knowing how to achieve the goals in your other strategies, you will definitely find a Digital Strategy helpful for your business.
A digital strategy is simply a plan of the actions you need to take to achieve your goals using online marketing.
Sounds incredibly simple right? But pulling together a strategy can be challenging when you don’t know, what you don’t know. So what do you need to know to write your strategy?
Know your market
For any strategy you need to know who you are marketing to. Creating a buyer persona, or a detailed description of your ideal client/customers is a good start. You should ideally be able to describe the age, location and income bracket of your target market but also:
What problems are they trying to solve?
What are they trying to achieve?
And CRUCIALLY, what are they interested in (this informs your content creation, potential collaboration partners and interest based digital advertising)
Key Tools for Buyer Persona Research:
Facebook Page Insights
Articulate your goal
Your strategy needs to clearly state a goal that is linked to the KPI/s of your business. If your business goal is to grow revenue, then your digital strategy goal may be to grow leads by a specific number or percentage via your website.
Know the lay of the (digital) land
Know your assets - social media profiles, websites, blog content (both on your website and on LinkedIn or Medium), imagery
Know your key referral websites or collaboration partners: Articles, features, posts on other websites, referral websites
Know what you’re spending on paid digital advertising: Google AdWords, Facebook Advertising - anything you PAY for
Your strategy will include elements of all three of these - for example: You may have a landing page on your website that helps you generate leads. To increase the quantity of leads you may have made it shareable via social media, increasing traffic. You may have then posted a link to the page to Facebook or used it in a Facebook Ad.
A Digital Strategy must include how your current online real estate can be used to meet your business goals, what real estate is missing, and what isn’t really working for your business and needs to be cut
Planning your content: what content do you already have?
Content is so important because it simultaneously defines your brand (through topics, products, and posts), helps people understand what makes you different from your competitors AND it is what allows people to find your brand online via search engines - creating leads and customers.
Content is the core of your Digital Strategy - you must know exactly what you are going to do to create new content or leverage existing content.
But what content do you currently have to work with?
Everything on your website
Social media posts
Planning your content: determine which content works
As part of your strategy you are going to figure out which content you already have that will help you achieve your business goals. If you’re aiming to generate more leads via your website, then you’d focus on pages that already drive leads OR identify key products/offerings/landing pages. You wouldn’t focus on your About Us page, if that wasn’t generating leads.
If you have value-add resources like an e-book or infographic on your website (that people provide their email in exchange to download) then that would be an example of content to re-use AND content to develop more of during the year.
Planning your content: understand the gaps
Check back in with your buyer persona/s … does your content speak to your key markets? Are you missing a commonly asked question or topic that would be useful to your target audience? If so, then analyse what type of content has historically converted well (ie, eBooks) and create new content, in the format your target market has engaged with previously for best results.
Planning your content: where to publish
You may know that your website referrals from a previous article you wrote on Medium or LinkedIn generates a lot of web traffic. Or an old article that featured in a specialist industry publication continues to drive traffic to your site long after the public date.
Website referrals, which can be found in Google Analytics, should help you refine your biggest bang for buck collaboration partners and contribution websites to focus submitting your content to. If you haven’t tried publishing your work outside of your website, LinkedIn and Medium are great places to start!
Assess your Digital Advertising channels
I’m not going to lie to you.. it is undoubtedly pay to play out there and you need to evaluate how you are going to spend your digital advertising dollars.
If you’re running AdWords campaigns and can’t figure out what your ROI is… perhaps it’s time to pause those campaigns and see what else could work for your business. Ideally you should be able to articulate for every dollar spent on ANY digital advertising, how much you are getting back in return.
At the very least you need to be able to clearly document how much you have spent on any paid channel in the last 12 months (or YTD)
Creating your Digital Strategy document
If you have followed through on the above you should now have:
A list of your current assets (website, social media accounts etc)
A list of your available content
A list of your key referral websites/partners
A list of your paid digital advertising and spend
Identified your most effective and popular content
Identified any missing content for buyer personas
Identified your best performing referral websites/partners
Identified your most effective paid digital advertising channels
Pull all of your observations together and create a list of monthly actions
January - begin blogging (continue monthly for rest of year) which will be shared to Facebook and reposted on LinkedIn with call to action
February - Launch eBook and accompany with Facebook advertising
March - Publish an article on a key referral website/partner, share to LinkedIn and Facebook with call to action
April - Begin email marketing campaign to all eBook downloaders
May - Review strategy goals and progress to date
Creating a Digital Strategy is unique to each business but all it needs to do is map the actions you need to deliver to achieve your business goals over a 12 month period.
We work with our clients by creating a bespoke Analysis & Action Plan, and then coaching them through delivering it over three or six months.