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How to Create a Digital Strategy


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Digital is changing everything. Business without a digital strategy are sorely behind the competition who might be using a variety of digital channels and methods to better engage with their audience. What does that mean? Deeper relationships creates more loyal customers who spread the word and drive more sales. Yeah, you need a digital strategy. Thankfully I've come up with a framework and a process that can help you build the dashboard to track how you are using digital to build awareness, develop interaction, manage relationships, and, of course, measure it all.

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How to Create a Digital Strategy

  1. 1. WHAT IS A DIGITAL STRATEGY? The use of digital and online channels to engage with people as a way to improve the success of the business.
  2. 2. DIGITAL STRATEGY DOESN’T STAND ALONE Corporate Strategy •What is the company going to do? Marketing Strategy •How will the company approach the market? Digital Strategy •How will digital be leveraged to accomplish the marketing strategy? Content Strategy •What will be produced to publish through the digital strategy?
  3. 3. STEPS TO BUILDING YOUR DIGITAL STRATEGY 1. Identify opportunities 2. Identify challenges 3. Take an inventory of digital assets 4. Align assets to opportunities and challenges
  4. 4. STEP 1: IDENTIFY THE OPPORTUNITIES This step is all about identifying opportunities for business success so that you can tie them to digital channels later as part of your strategy. Examples: Demonstrate business effectiveness of product/service by showing results from using it internally Generate pipeline by establishing thought-leadership in new market segment Establish expertise in {your market} subject matter Gain market share Increase revenue in underserved markets Increase customer satisfaction
  5. 5. STEP 2: IDENTIFY CHALLENGES You guessed it. This is the same as step 1.
  6. 6. STEP 3: TAKE AN INVENTORY What are you currently doing digitally? Examples: Website Community Social Media Marketing Campaigns Mobile App
  7. 7. STEP 4: ALIGN ASSETS You have opportunities to capitalize on. You have challenges to overcome. What digital assets do you have right now that you can use?
  8. 8. YOU STILL DON’T HAVE A DIGITAL STRATEGY You have opportunities You have challenges You have some existing things you are doing digitally. Well, maybe. What are you going to do now?
  9. 9. STRATEGY = FRAMEWORK To build a strategy you need a framework. Using the framework, you can identify and map projects to opportunities/challenges.
  10. 10. I HAVE A FRAMEWORK FOR YOU It’s called AIM2
  11. 11. AIM2 Awareness Interaction Management Measurement
  12. 12. DIGITAL IS ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS The framework is broken into relationship stages (topped off with analytics) Awareness Using digital to get people to pay attention to you Interaction Using digital to actually interact with people. Shocking! Management Using digital to manage relationships (i.e., like a community) Measurement Figuring out if you are doing the other 3 things successfully.
  13. 13. HOW AIM2 WORKS WITH A LEAD FUNNEL Awareness Search engines Attractive, relevant content is the key driver to develop a strong digital presence The target audience should be engaged and reached through relevant customer touchpoints Customer engagement and targeted guidance throughout the buying desicion process Automatic allocation of leads to the right sales personnel Social clicks, content share rates, download rates AdvocacyConvert Lead Generation EngageContent Social networks Publishers Blogs Website Interactive Tools Community Sales Activities Thrilled customers are key to social proof, repeat sales (upgrade) and referral Time on site, Shares, Comment s, Likes Fans, Followers, Regis trations, Permissions, Leads Orders, Revenue, Aver age order value Lifetime value, Referrals CRM Interaction Management Measurement
  14. 14. AIM2 EXAMPLES Awareness: Advertising/sponsorships Branded content Interaction: Social media Gamification Community Personalization Management: Targeted outreach Virtual events “Members Only”
  15. 15. GO BACK TO STEP 1 AND 2 Map opportunities and challenges to AIM2 stages. Where are you today? Awareness Interaction Management
  16. 16. MAKE EVERYTHING ACTIONABLE Convert opportunities and challenges into “digital objectives”
  17. 17. TIME FOR THE HEAVY LIFTING Each stage of the framework has three components you need to identify Dependencies What does objective depend on to succeed? Tactics How can you achieve the objective? Success How will you determine if you are successful in the objective?
  18. 18. AWARENESS EXAMPLE Develop and publish more content through inbound marketing  Dependencies?  Better content marketing tools to properly manage content production as it relates to buyer’s journey and personas  Defined publishing channels and ability to measure effectiveness  Tactics  Create more content around key topics and themes  Digital presence  Video  Performance  Develop specific programs targeting key industries and personas  New website features  Create high-profile, high-visibility digital projects (i.e., transmedia story)  Success?  Traffic to website and blog  Traffic to social channels (and re-sharing)  Traffic to third-party publishing channels (i.e., slideshare)
  19. 19. INTERACTION EXAMPLE Engage more with users through appropriate channels  Dependencies?  Additional website work to better integrate social elements  Refresh of social channels.  Facebook—build out specialized tabs/pages.  LinkedIn—build out specialized tabs/pages. Reboot group.  Tactics  Blog—comments/conversations  Facebook—comments/conversations  Twitter—comments/conversations  Success?  Increased number of engagements per channel per user  Scheduling appointments with users engaged through channels
  20. 20. MANAGEMENT EXAMPLE Develop specialized content/environment for engaged users. Publicize specialization to draw additional users.  Dependencies?  Ownership of communication and development of content  Third-party (i.e., for gamification)?  Tactics  Newsletter—a newsletter sent to engaged digital users  Gamification—development of one or more campaigns with prizes specifically targeted to engaged digital users  Webinars—hosting of “invite only” webinars  Success?  Increased volume of out-bound communication from users to their networks employing special content
  21. 21. MEASUREMENT EXAMPLE Track success of content and campaigns across AIM  Dependencies?  Need system to properly gauge social activity  Need better way to integrate internal systems data into dashboard for our own use  Tactics  Reports—generate weekly reports detailing success of activity cross channel  Success?  Based on KPIs for awareness, interaction, and management levels  Short-term  Medium-term  What nurturing is involved to measure success?  Long-term  What nurturing is involved to measure success?
  22. 22. SO HOW ARE YOU GOING TO GET THAT DONE? Through channels and methods
  23. 23. CHANNELS AND METHODS A variety of different channels for delivering digital experiences that relate to one or more levels of AIM2  Corporate websites  Partner websites  Dedicated microsites  Third-party content services (i.e., YouTube, Slideshare, Brighttalk, etc.)  Emails/Newsletters  Social sites (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.)  Mobile apps  Games A variety of different methods for delivering digital experiences  Short-form content (i.e., website pages, blogs)  Long-form content (i.e., e-books, whitepapers)  Video  Audio (i.e., podcasts)  Games  Webinar  Slideware
  24. 24. THE RESULT? You are building awareness which is driving new opportunities to form relationships You are developing new relationships by interacting with your audience When there is good interaction you are taking steps to manage the relationships
  25. 25. GUESS WHAT? YOU HAVE A STRATEGY You’ve assessed where you are and what you have You’ve converted the assessment to objectives You’ve mapped the objectives to stages in the framework You specified HOW you are going to accomplish the objectives through methods and channels You are measuring success for each objective using criteria you set
  26. 26. WHAT MIGHT IT LOOK LIKE (I.E., DASHBOARD!) Objective Project AIM2 Stage Channel( s) Method(s ) Start Date Develop and publish more content through inbound marketing “Dummies Book” Awarenes s E-book Long-form content 9/1/2013 Same Podcast Awarenes s Interaction Website Audio 8/1/2013
  27. 27. ANY LAST WORDS? 1. Create a project list for each AIM2 stage that helps meet objectives 2. Assess your competitors. What are they doing digitally? 3. You don’t have to do it all yourself. Agencies can help. 4. Continue to develop new digital projects 5. Continue to refine objectives, create new objectives, etc. 6. You should have projects covering all AIM2 stages…AT ALL TIMES 7. Getting the hint? The strategy is a living, breathing animal. Keep working on it.