Digital strategies are a big deal for small businesses looking at going online

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Tips to help create a digital strategy…

Last updated: 26 July 2016photo of 3 people sitting at at desk in front of a computer

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of getting your business online, but customers judge your business’s digital presence in a matter of seconds. That’s why it’s important to have a good digital strategy in place to guide you before you take the leap.

What is a digital strategy?

A digital strategy is a plan of how you are going to use digital technologies in your business. It is an evolving document that helps a business plan how it will engage with individuals across digital platforms, which digital activities will further the goals of the business and how this will increase productivity and grow revenue.

What do you put into a digital strategy?

The process you use to develop your business’s digital strategy will depend on your needs. Here’s a simple step-by-step approach you can try:

  1. What are the goals for your business? For example, do you want to:
    • attract more local, national or global customers
    • reduce your costs
    • raise awareness about your business
    • increase sales
    • increase your customer base?
  2. What kinds of online activities would best benefit your business? For example, do you want to:
    • create an online presence
    • develop richer and more engaging content
    • connect with your online audience
    • make sales or receive donations online?
  3. How can your online activities help you achieve your business goals? For example:
    • having a website may help to drive foot traffic to your shopfront
    • selling online may increase your sales by allowing you to sell to customers outside your local area
    • having a social media channel can help you to keep your customers up to date with your latest products
    • providing online instructional videos for your products may reduce the number of returned products.

When you develop your digital strategy it’s important to consider who you are targeting, both in terms of demographics such as age, location, lifestyle and also where your audience spend most of their time online. For example, are your customer’s professionals on LinkedIn, mums on Facebook, food lovers on  Instagram or teenagers on Snapchat? As your target market varies, the technologies and social media networks you use to reach them will vary too.

What are the benefits of having a digital strategy?

A digital strategy helps you to align your business’s online activities with your business goals, so you can stay on track in the constantly changing digital environment.

Having a digital strategy in place may help you to:

  • cut down costs by investing in online activities that benefit your business growth, increasing your revenue
  • reach a larger target audience increasing traffic to your business
  • remain competitive
  • expand and grow your business
  • identify measurable Key Performance Indicators.

Quick tips to think about for your digital strategy

  • With new technologies and changing customer trends in the online world, a digital strategy that looks three to five years ahead is unrealistic. Unlike your business plan, with a digital strategy it’s better to start with a 3 to 12 month vision adapting and changing with the market and emerging technologies.
  • Don’t just think about how to engage with your audience with technology. Take the time to keep up with new digital technologies you can use to run your business. This may help your business processes to remain competitive.
  • Research your competitors. What online activities have they tried? What is working for them? How can you stand out from them online?
  • Review and revisit your digital strategy regularly to ensure that it continues to align with your business plan and provide benefits to your business.

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