When I conducted an online marketing audit for Outbax camping in 2014 with a view to improve their online strategy and their return from digital, I was able to improve profitability by over $6,000 a month. This was achieved by re-allocating resources and improving how they measured success so we could make better marketing decisions. The beginning of the year is a good time to review your investment in your online presence and how you capitalise on digital channels to grow your business. But where do you start and what should you focus on when reviewing and improving your online strategy?
Back to basics - what is an online strategy?
I often hear the word strategy thrown around - it plays a critical role to getting a return on your investment with digital. “Digital” has become a pervasive term which covers many channels, and with the abundance of solutions/suppliers it can be difficult to prioritise how you invest in your online presence and choose the best digital tools to grow your business. The effectiveness of strategy is underpinned by how well a business focuses its limited resources to address the biggest challenges in a way which will have the greatest impact on the business. Given there are so many options and ways to spend money on your online presence, it is key to focus efforts on what will have the biggest impact.
Creating your 2015 Digital Strategy – 5 questions to ask yourself
1. How good is your customer experience today?
Increasingly it’s about your ability to deliver a seamless customer experience across your online and offline channels to make it really easy and appealing to buy your product or use your service. Stepping into your customer’s shoes and auditing how effective your online customer experience is versus competitors is a good starting point. Choose a customer persona and go through the purchase process. How does your offer, messaging and website user experience compare with competitors?
2. What are your business’s biggest challenges and what role is digital playing to address these?
Answering this question will help you focus your attention on what matters most. Your online marketing and website will play an important role in addressing most business challenges. Maybe you’re struggling to attract the right clients, you’re losing certain types of customers or maybe you’re planning to launch a new product. From this point you’ll be able to figure out how to best tackle these challenges.
3. Do you have a content strategy?
Content creation is central to your digital strategy to attract customers through SEO, engage them when they get there and to increase the conversion to sale. But it’s resource intensive and average content will not achieve anything. So it’s vital you have a clear plan and content calendar to prioritise your content writing efforts and ensure you’re able to create a few pieces of awesome content. Quality always beats quantity when it comes to content.
4. How is your current online marketing performing?
If you’re not sure, this is likely to raise a bigger question around measurement. Typically I see Google Analytics is not fully utilised to measure return on investment from marketing activities- whether that be Facebook, Adwords or display advertising. When thinking about your overall strategy you want to understand how channels are performing relative to each other so you can make good decisions on how to re-allocate resources. How effective is Facebook? How are you measuring success? Does it justify the time you put into it?
5. Do you have a prioritised action plan?
At the end of your review it is vital to prioritise your efforts and have an action plan to execute any improvements. If you're a small or medium sized business owner you will have limited resources, so work out the top 3 strategies or improvements and focus on these. Then work out who is going to do it? When? What is the process? And how will you measure success? Or do you need external resources to execute?
Given the plethora of ways you can invest in your online presence, it is important to review your investment in digital for the upcoming year. These 5 questions provide a good starting point to ensure you have an effective online strategy.