Let’s say you’re taking a trip. You’re going somewhere you’ve never been before, maybe an exotic locale that you’ve always wanted to visit. You couldn’t be more excited. What happens before you ever set foot on the plane?
Odds are, you set aside some time to sit down and come up with a gameplan. How are you going to get there? What do you want to accomplish while you’re there? What would you like to avoid?
Approaching your organization’s web experience is no different. You can invest loads of money in a flashy new website, but what good will it be if it doesn’t have purpose? That’s why taking the time to create a digital marketing strategy makes all the difference in the world. Trust us, the destination is a lot more beautiful when you do.
The reluctance to create a full-fledged digital strategy stems from concerns regarding the time and effort needed to complete one. This is a misguided way of thinking. An all-inclusive, strategic framework will play an important role in creating a strong final product that has value. However, dedication is required. When an organization becomes stuck in a routine, it can be challenging to alter the course and make improvements.
Before you begin, it is important to lay out the significance of a digital strategy, the impact it can have, and to let others know what to expect. A good strategy will provide real value to you and your team in three principle areas:
1. Obtaining Resources and Support
Nothing helps secure the support of others in your business better than detailed, well-thought-out, long-term goals in a clear, established direction. The development process offers the team countless opportunities to provide feedback, make suggestions, and finalize direction.
It’s a supportive process that can effectively create a sense of teamwork and collaboration. When done properly, your end product will stand a much better chance of creating added value.
2. Setting Goals
Setting specific, measurable goals will allow your team to maximize the value of selected issues and determine top priorities.
A simple trick to approach mid- to long-term planning is to begin where you would like to end up, and then work your way back to where you find yourself right now. This goes a long way towards creating a solid foundation upon which you can build a plan of action, and avoid simply following what others are doing.
3. Investing for the Future
One of the biggest benefits of implementing strategic planning is the impact it can have on your organization’s future plans. While software is wonderful for providing structure quickly, it is not always easily adapted for future needs.
Consider the wholesaler who selected and implemented a corporate-wide inventory management system for his organization. He was in the process of adding a retail arm to the business, which was completely unsupported by the selected package. The result was a return to the drawing board and a new investment in a replacement.
By actually sitting down and discussing the organization’s direction three-to-five years out, you will stand a much better chance of protecting the investments you are making today. Always be building towards the future, and avoid starting over from scratch.
A dry, boring review of current trends in marketing and best practices will not be enough to help your doubters see the light. However, solid, detailed strategy delivered with enthusiasm can win over even the biggest skeptics in the room and encourage positive change to take place. By acquiring the right support, setting proper goals, and recognizing both short- and long-term implications, your digital strategy can transform your website into a competitive differentiator, instead of an expensive billboard.