Let's start with a simple question: When does a customer become a customer? To get our answer, let's take a quick look at the Inbound Methodology:
- Attract Strangers
- Convert Visitors
- Close Leads
- Delight Customers
- Earn Evangelists
Based on the above, we can see that a customer pretty much always begins as a stranger. This is why having a good inbound strategy is so important – because you have to have a system in place to attract strangers to your site in order to convert them. Why does this matter? Because more and more businesses are asking their marketing departments to manage things like user experience and customer relations. When everything the customer touches can now be personalized and injected with product and service marketing, it makes sense to assign customer experience to the marketers.
Before considering your overarching Digital Strategy, you need to understand first what you're trying to achieve. You need to understand your product or service, your customer or user personas, your business goals, and then prioritize strategies and channels to create a roadmap to get from Point A to Point B, utilizing Digital Marketing methods. If you don't understand why you're marketing – if you're not focused on your customers or clients and the benefits they will reap – you will waste money and fail.
It is absolutely crucial to not skip this planning stage. If you don't understand why you're marketing – if you're not focused on your customers or clients and the benefits they will reap – you will waste money and fail.
The “L” Word – Leverage
A good digital strategy aims to achieve one thing – Leverage. There are many marketing strategies and channels to choose from, and every business is unique, so it's vital that you choose the ones for your business that will provide the most leverage. In Gary Keller's indispensable The One Thing, he talks about finding the lead domino: “What’s the ONE Thing you can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?” Consider this question constantly when designing your Digital Strategy.
I consider the following an incomplete list of considerations for a Digital Strategy:
- Creative (Including things like Web Design)
- Customer or User Experience
- Keyword Research
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
- Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC)
- Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
- Creative Growth Strategies/Growth Hacking
Did I mention incomplete? But you get the idea…
A thorough digital marketing plan is just one part of a broad Digital Strategy. It's certainly important, but if you're ignoring things like User Experience Design or Copywriting, you're missing out on opportunities to increase conversion. Understanding the current technology and digital space is essential to growing your business. If you're only using social media and PPC advertising, you are absolutely missing myriad opportunities for more growth.