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What is a Digital Strategy?

14 Apr

Digital strategy…

Web strategy…

Online strategy…

Many different agencies use different terminology for digital strategy and you’ll read all kinds of definitions that sum up the same thing.

We believe that a digital strategy and a web strategy are the closest terms to our passion.

A digital strategy, for iformat, in the broadest sense is…

“A defined plan for a holistic approach to the initiatives you adopt, online, in order to fulfil your business goals.”

Why is a digital strategy important?

Imagine starting a business without any plan; no knowledge of who your target market is, how to sell your product or service, how to market your service and so on…

You wouldn’t do it!

But business owners everywhere use digital and online marketing strategies to try and generate business. They may have a website, Facebook Page, LinkedIn profile, and a YouTube channel, but these pages may have been set up by different agencies or people without any kind of strategic thought governing the approach.

The results of this can be:

  • Unclear and mixed messages
  • Unclear branding
  • Unsuccessful outcomes due to a lack of clarity
  • Poor quality of the content marketed leading to low brand perception

There are five key questions we ask when initially defining a strategy

1) What is the product?
2) What does it do?
3) Who does it influence?
4) How should it resonate with your audience?
5) What action should they take on the site?

These are simple set of questions, but the answers form the basis for everything we do. But many people do not know the answers or how to articulate them.

If you can’t answer them, how did you, for instance, create a website?

What is the product?

You need to be able to explain this clearly, and effectively. It sounds simple, but many people do not clearly explain their product or service. When asked the question – the answer is long and convoluted. We need to define this and then create content tailored to it.

Who does it influence?

In order to create a great website that converts or social media posts that speak to the right decision makers, you need to answer this question. Your need to create a strategy that attracts, engages and talks to the people you are influencing.

These are just five questions within our approach to digital strategy. The actual process is more complex than this.

So, if using online or digital strategies to help generate more business, sales, and leads is key to your business’s success, then yes: digital strategy is paramount.

What are the components of an effective digital strategy?

There are many approaches to a digital or a web strategy. iformat has a simple 10 point plan, or process, that we find is the most effective way to explain our approach:

1. Business Assessment
A thorough, on-site strategic workshop focused on gaining an understanding of the fundamental focus of the strategy.

2. Research & Analysis
Research and thorough analysis of your online marketplace.

3. Strategy and Planning
In-depth planning that defines the criteria for all major strategic areas.

4. Content Creation
The development of content used across the website and other online platforms.

5. Structure
Planning and outlining the best framework for your site.

6. Website Design
The part every client loves – the creative fireworks that make your site stand out from the rest.

7. Website Build
The part every developer loves – but one that bores clients.

8. Online Marketing
Clever and engaging, these online strategies are tailored to generate leads and sales.

9. Social Media
Broaden your market-reach through platforms that engage your target market.

10. Support
Don’t forget this one – ensure you get the ongoing help and support you need from your web strategy partner.

Each of these 10 points is critical to a successful, holistic Digital Strategy and each one can be broken down further into more detailed strategies and tactics.

What’s the difference between ‘strategy’ and ‘tactics’?

Too many people get confused between ‘strategy’ and ‘tactics’.

They think because they blog, or post on Facebook, that they are involved in a digital strategy.

  • Elements such as blog posts, social media posts and video posting are ‘tactics’
  • Oftentimes, business owners jump in without a strategy guiding these tactics
  • The messages and content distributed can be confusing, ill planned and inconsistent

A digital strategy governs the content you create and the right tactics to use. To illustrate the difference, consider this:

  • Digital Strategy: To increase the conversion rate for a specific product.
  • Tactic: Create a landing page focused on the specific product. Simplify the message and offering so there is no external ‘noise’ to distract from the offer and conversion.

The success of a digital strategy will hinge on achieving numerous defined goals. Once we have defined a clear and effective digital strategy for your business, it is then far easier to define the digital components and tactics you are going to need achieve those goals.

Every time that you, one of your staff, or your digital agency employs a ‘tactic’ to achieve a goal, they should refer to the strategy and ensure the tactic, design, content, and messages are in line with that strategy.

If a tactic is not in line, it should be cancelled. The best ‘tactics’ are then implemented based on their ability to deliver on the overall strategy in the most efficient manner.

What outcomes can I expect from a digital strategy?

There are many outcomes of an effective digital strategy:

1. A defined process…
That everyone can follow. You, your staff, marketing managers, web developers and designers.

2. A clearly defined product or service…
That can be easily explained and marketed across your digital strategies and all tactics.

3. A clearly defined marketplace…
That helps you understand who to market to and what to say to them. Importantly, this helps define how to talk to the decision makers.

4. The ability to influence…
Creating content, promotions and calls-to-action (CTAs) that resonate with your target market and gets them to act.

5. Clear calls-to-action…
That are consistent and related to your sales process to ensure that your target take the right action.

6. A clear scope…
For the strategy, components and tactics needed to fulfil your goals.

7. Set expectations…
So you know what you will get and how much it will cost.

8. Defined goals…
That help you envisage what you want from your digital strategy and enable your strategy company to plan to achieve them.

9. Measurable outcomes…
So you can measure the success of your digital strategy.

10. Alignment across all strategies and tactics…
Consistency across your website, online marketing, content, design and social media.

11. Creative brief…
An absolute and clear brief that ensures your brand is always well defined and promoted.

12. Technical specifications…
So you get the right solutions and tactics without hitting brick walls later on in development.

To organise a meeting to discuss your web strategy please contact us today!