How You Can Build an Effective Digital Strategy for Your Online Business: A Step-by-step Guide

Digital Strategy
Your strategy is key

Need to break through the noise and reach or create an audience?

A digital strategy is a blueprint of how you will build your business’s online objectives. Building a digital strategy that is successful in breaking through all the content that is being created by other businesses, actually reaches who you want it to and facilitates meeting business objectives takes a little bit of work and research. I took these steps in order to create a digital strategy for a client – you can take them too.

Goals and Targets:

Goals and Targets
Here is where to begin

Before making any plans or creating digital content, you should define your goals and establish your targets.

What do you want your digital strategy to do? Do you want it to increase the sale or use of your products/services? Bring about awareness? Get traffic to your website? Every company has a goal is to be profitable. So you need to dig deeper than this to define your digital marketing goals. Maybe it could be that you want to increase your online sales by 25% or to aim for 100 social media shares. Once you define your goals, prioritise them and take your top three. These goals will now guide your digital strategy.

Also think about some business targets as well. These could be things such as: create an appreciation for good quality products; environmentally friendly products and so on.

Assets:

It is important to establish what assets you have accessible and currently available. Assets are anything the company has that they can use to their advantage.

These might include:

  • Website
  • Products/service
  • Testimonials
  • Stakeholders

What are Your Key Channels?

Social Media Icons
https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/391039180143518368/?lp=true

A channel is a distribution point. For digital these might include:

Social media: Facebook, instagram, snap chat

Website (SEO)

Ads: Google, Facebook, Instagram

Video: Youtube, Vimeo, IGTV

It is important to establish all the ones you have available and which ones are going to be relevant to your digital strategy. Ensure you eliminate what is not needed for your company and focus on your audience and the channels that they will use. For example, if your target market is adults who are 50+ you could eliminate snap chat from your digital strategy – facebook or email might align better. This will also cut any unnecessary spending on channels that aren't cutting through.

Potential Markets:

Outline what the potential markets are for your product or service to break into. A potential market is a group of consumers the show some level of interest in your market offering. Potential markets for coconut oil for example could be: cooking (recipes and food), beauty (used as moisturiser), or hair care.

Your Brand:

Make sure you're 100% clear on what your brand encapsulates or what it is you want people to associate your brand with. What is it trying to portray or communicate? What does it stand for? What does your brand mean? What are the key words that are associated with your brand? I find it useful to write down all the key words that I want people to think of when they think of the brand that I am working with. For example a health food brand might have words such as: wholesome, clean, unprocessed and so on.

Now, time to start developing a digital content strategy:

Developing a digital strategy
Planning for your digital content strategy

When developing your digital content strategy, pinpoint your audience’s needs and wants. Really delve into what is out there, who your target audience might be,
Product research and uses. Some of these explained in more detail below:

Target Audience:

Determine who your target audience is and this will help guide your strategy. You want to find a specific target – what are their interests? Why might they want your product or service? What are their key considerations when choosing this product or service (price, quality)?

Market Research and Competitors:

Delve into market research as much as you can. What are the current trends that relate to your product or service? It is essential that you really look into what products or services are already on the market and of course what your competitors are doing. Go onto their channels – that is their website, Instagram, Facebook. Look at what their strategy is. Do they have a hashtag? Do they have a certain campaign? Are they targeting a specific audience? What is their overall approach? You might like to create a competitor analysis table.

Searches:

Searches
Search and discover what your target audience is consuming.

Looking at what people are searching is a great way to figure out what people want. I utilised two very useful tools to find this these were Ubersuggest and Keyword Tool.

Ubersuggest: helps you generate keyword ideas for your content marketing strategy and production. As you can see below, when I used coconut oil the page provided me with key word ideas and page title URLs. For the page URLs I was able to gauge what topics were popular. Getting these insights of what people are interested in can help shape your digital strategy.

Ubersuggest
Image from: https://neilpatel.com/ubersuggest/

Keyword Tool: is a great alternative to Google Keyword Planner and other keyword research tools. The free version unfortunately doesn't provide all the statistics, however you get a pretty good idea of what people are searching. You can see google, youtube, instagram and more.

Keyword Tool
Image from: https://keywordtool.io

NOTE: You can additionally go searching yourself. Go to Instagram and type in your key word and see what comes up in suggested hashtags. Do the same for youtube and google. From these insights this can help you navigate which route you want to take when applying your digital strategy. For example, if a lot of people are searching ways to use coconut oil for beauty – you might take this approach and post beauty recipes or benefits to the skin when using coconut oil.

FAQ's:

Also take notice of FAQs coming from your customers about your product or service. This may help guide you to develop an email drip campaign that educates – if email isn’t the best channel for your target audience, try another avenue. Just make sure the content you create is useful.

Remember, people share what they find interesting. And the more they share, the closer you will get to achieving your goals.  

Creating the Content for Your Digital Strategy:

Creating the Content
Time to begin creating

You have now deciphered what is relevant to your target audience, how you can position yourself against your competitors (or in the market gap) and the path you want to take with your digital strategy – now it's time to create.

Canva is a fantastic tool to use when creating different content for different channels. It is important to have the right dimensions for each channel or platform so as it suits. For example facebook cover pages will be different to instagram posts. Canva has all of these options that you can preselect and a great range of templates.

Canva
image from: https://www.canva.com

Create a Calendar for Your Digital Strategy:

Create a Calendar
Plan a content calendar you can easily follow

Once you know the type of content that will work for your business or brand, create a calendar or a timeline. This will help you to stay consistent. You will likely use more than one channel and have multiple pieces of content to manage – so this calendar will act as the lifeline of your digital strategy. You might include details such as content formats, deadlines, and channels in your calendar.

A program I used is Hootsuite. It allows you to seamlessly create a calendar for sharing content to different channels. When linking accounts such as facebook and instagram you are able to schedule posts for each day – including a caption and post times.

Hootsuite
image from: https://hootsuite.com/platform

So there you have it – my step-by-step guide to creating an effective digital strategy.

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References:

Belo Media Group. (2017). Create an Effective Digital Strategy in 6 Steps. Retrieved from https://www.belomediagroup.com/create-an-effective-digital-strategy-in-6-steps/

Rum, J. (2016). 10 Steps to Building an Effective Digital Strategy. Retrieved from https://www.socialmediatoday.com/marketing/10-steps-building-effective-digital-strategy

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