Digital Strategy is a plan of action used to achieve business goals through the implementation of digital initiatives.
So many leaders suffer from “digital shiny object syndrome”, where they find themselves enticed by emerging technologies. Too often, a business’ “digital strategy” is a blind adoption of the latest and greatest technology, simply for technology’s sake. You should avoid the distraction of buzzwords. Adding as many new technologies to your plan as possible is not the path to growth.
While this way of thinking may offer short-term publicity and a feeling of accomplishment, it can also lead to failure if it isn’t backed by a strong strategy. This is why I created the Digital Growth Strategy Framework. This framework assists businesses in focusing directly on what technologies work best for their company, in their industry, and with their customers.
Set Clear Objectives
You will not accomplish a goal you never set. The key to any digital growth strategy is clear objectives. The objectives you set must be specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and set to a timetable.
Tie objectives to your enterprise level objectives, so you are working in the same direction. Setting SMART objectives can many times identify unintended silos, that have been setup within your organization. The key to strong objectives is breaking down those silos and recognizing the ways in which each area, department, or function can work together for the benefit of company’s overall objectives.
Know Your Numbers
To know where you are going, you must know where you are currently. Often business owners implement new technology without identifying a baseline with which to measure the success of this new technology.
All initiatives should be put in place with the purpose of moving your business closer to your objectives. It’s imperative that you begin with a baseline and then measure against the outcomes of the technology implemented.
Optimize Your Process
Work smarter, not harder. That’s an old adage that especially rings true when implementing a digital growth strategy plan. Your process of implementation must be organized in such a way that all areas affected are considered.
So often, a technology is put in place without regard for all affected functions. Businesses design and launch new websites without bringing the analytics team, marketing team or even sales and customer support teams into the fold. This is one of the greatest mistakes you could make.
Identify a process for implementation that works well, and duplicate that process each time you are ready to adopt a new technology. The process you document should begin with a set of guiding principles that will help you navigate the ultimate “need” for the technology you are interested in using.
Know Thy Customer
While every customer may be unique, there are specific characteristics that can assist you in grouping them together. These characteristics give you insight into who your customer is and how to best engage with them, in order to encourage sales and loyalty.
Before implementing any type of digital growth strategy plan, you must know who your customer is, inside and out. Collecting data on their needs, influences, buying process, frustrations and overall interest in your products and services, can give you the upper hand against your competition. Use the data collected to inform your marketing message, product design, advertising tactics, and system/tool selection.
After identifying all the important characteristics of your customer base, you will want to use these insights to drive traffic to your lead generation or e-commerce platform. This could be a landing page, website, online store, or social media profile.
Tactics used to drive traffic should take into consideration the information collected about your audience. If your customer base has been proven to be nostalgic, this bit of information should determines the type of message used to attract them.
Revamp Your Conversion Process
Now that you have your audience’s attention, it’s time to convert them from website visitor to customer. Using the knowledge you gained when “getting to know” your customer, integrate a new conversion process that shortens the buying cycle, encourages sharing, informs the customer and most of all influences buying behavior.
You not only want to get conversions, you want to bolster loyalty after the initial purchase. Your conversion process should take into consideration a customer’s entire lifetime value. When would you like customers to return to make another purchase? How will they know it’s time to make another purchase from you? What will drive them to make another purchase from you?
And lastly, influence. Your conversion process should consider the influencer effect. How will your process encourage the customer to share their purchase and your products with their friends, family members, co-workers and acquaintances?
Be Clear on Your Offer
The offer you provide to customers should be clear to you, your sales team, your customer service team, your servicing center and especially your customer. What specifically do your customers get in exchange for the money they give you. This is a key question to answer prior to launching an offer or product.
If you offer products or services that are customized to the customer, be clear on what is included initially and what could be added on. After a customer has inquired about your products or services is the absolute worst time to start to figure out what your true offer will be. Preparation is key. Don’t forget to use customer data points to help you clearly define your offer.
Results Over Features
Customers don’t want, nor do they need, a laundry list of features. They aren’t interested in all of the features your product or service provides. Customers want to know how using your product or service will benefit them. How will it change their lives?
Customers want to know more about how your coaching will help them manifest their dreams and less about your credentials. They want to know how your newest product will make them more money, increase their self esteem, or improve their back hand. Start looking at your products and services from the aspect of a customer, and identify the real benefits they offer.
Get Social Proof
Word of mouth is the oldest marketing tactic known to man. It has sustained the test of time because it works! Humans are influenced by the testimony of other humans. And this can either bode well for a company or not. It depends on the testimonial being given.
To encourage positive testimonials, you will want to have this form of marketing on your mind at all times. When you design your product, what will customers say about it? When you write your messages advertising the product, what will customers say about it? When you place the product in its packaging, what will customers say about it?
These are all questions that need to be taken into consideration through the development process. From conception to sale, always be asking yourself, “What will customers say about it?”.
Encourage your past customers to share their opinion of your product or service and collect these testimonials. Social proof or proof that a customer enjoyed your product or service is one of the strongest, influential marketing tactics you have at your disposal.