Developing a Digital Strategy
If you’re not sure what developing a digital strategy entails, then as Julie Andrews says; ‘let’s start at the very beginning, it’s a very good place to start!’;
- What are your business objectives and how might they be met through digital channels/how might a digital strategy contribute to meeting these?
- What policies do you have in place around use of digital in the workplace? Do you have (or need to develop) social media posting guidelines? Do you have a tone of voice brand guideline document to steer communication through the various channels?
- What are your priorities in terms of matching the business objectives with the digital tools available/in need of development? All of these need to be considered when developing a digital strategy.
The channels for consideration in a digital strategy are;
To take your B2B online, what features and functionality do you need to provide? What content needs including and who will be responsible for creating and/or curating it? Who will take responsibility for managing site maintenance from both the day-to-day running and strategic ongoing optimisation technical side? Do you need to appoint a third party agency to assist with strategy, development, hosting and maintenance? A successful digital strategy will incorporate detailed information on how your website will factor.
The contemporary assumption is that all sites should be built responsively (i.e. automatically adjust their appearance according to the device they are being accessed from). However, this doesn’t mean that the site is optimised for mobile. To provide mobile users with a user experience which makes it as simple as possible to place an order without unnecessary onscreen clutter, it’s important to work with your website development company to prioritise the content viewable on mobile, and remove unnecessary elements. In some instances a native app can either replace this, or augment this by providing downloadable content accessible offline with the ability to send app downloaders push notifications. Commonly B2B online has been conducted from desktops, but it’s important to realise that this trend is changing. More and more buyers are moving away from the desktop, placing their orders on the move operating in their live environment, be that kitchen, warehouse or other, tablet or smartphone in hand. These buyers expect B2B online to be available wherever and whenever they need it.
Which social networks are the most appropriate for your business to be present and broadcasting on. Social media often needs a strategy of its own! A content plan around what you’re going to say, how you’re going to say it, how, to who, and when is vital from a broadcast perspective and should ideally be tailored per channel bearing in mind the potential audience of each. The other side of the social media coin is your ability to respond to user generated content, who is responsible for it, when, and what policies do you have in place around managing it in a live time sensitive environment. Determining how to handle criticism and negative feedback is an essential component, a swift apologetic response encouraging the user to move the discussion offline is the common go-to, but being transparent and providing visibility of the resolution process can actually enhance your reputation and public perception.
With a whole raft of categories of its own, your email strategy warrants careful planning. From newsletters to trigger based emails, your external communications channel needs to be well managed, and your database well maintained (and protected).
Every one of these digital channels feeds into the other. If you build a website and leave it at that, you can’t naturally assume that you will receive organic visitors. Through adoption of digital marketing techniques, you can drive traffic to each of your digital channels. A considered investment in strategic SEO and PPC campaigns along with banner advertising and affiliate schemes can lead to healthy ROI.