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How to Develop a Winning Digital Strategy for Your Business

Unlock the full potential of your business in the digital age with a winning digital strategy. Learn the essential steps, from setting SMART objectives to understanding your target audience, assessing your digital presence, and developing key initiatives. Allocate resources wisely, implement and monitor your plan, and stay agile to ensure long-term success in the ever-changing digital landscape.

In today’s digital era, having a well-crafted digital strategy is crucial for businesses looking to thrive and stay competitive. For anyone new to this, a digital plan generally outlines how an organization leverages digital technologies and channels to achieve a goal, meet customer expectations, internal benchmarks, and more.

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In this blog post, we’ll explore the critical steps involved in developing a winning digital strategy. Then, once you understand the vital components (pssst — before you do, check out this 3-part digital transformation series!), it helps to create roadmaps that more easily align with a company’s “big picture.” It can also help align initiatives that compete with other overall business objectives or have a more departmental perspective.

So, follow the suggestions below to assess the current state, set clear goals, and implement effective tactics. Skipping over items further limits what you have to work with and unbalances those benefits vs. challenges.

Digital Strategy Development

1. Develop Your Objectives and Goals

First, we must clearly define our objectives and goals before we can plan a digital strategy. The goal is to understand what you want to achieve through your digital initiatives. For example, you could increase brand awareness, drive customer engagement, expand market reach, or boost online sales.

Digital transformation leaders (like me!) use SMART criteria during project planning.
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Digital transformation leaders (like myself) commonly start this process using the SMART method. Overall, the point is to help ensure your objectives are specific, measurable, actionable, relevant, and time-bound. Once you have this clarity, it’ll help guide your strategy forward. It’ll also help nix or determine realistic tactics so that you can track your progress.

2. Uncover Your Target Audience

Next, a company should aim to understand its target audience more deeply over time. Once they do, it helps to foster a more cost-effective approach to developing marketing campaigns and other digital strategies. Moreover, companies must use tools to help them conduct thorough market research to analyze customer demographics, behaviors, and preferences. This will enable them to create detailed customer personas, tailor digital initiatives, and meet their needs. We must also consider their preferred digital channels, content consumption habits, and pain points.

On a side note, if you’re completely lost and don’t have data or analytics, contact a digital strategy consultant like me (learn more) for more complex project planning needs, technical project management, or my specialty, using tech for good. Ultimately, the outcome here is to align your web strategy with customer insights to ensure that the efforts resonate with your target audience so there is meaningful engagement.

3. Assess Your Current Digital Presence

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Moving forward, we must evaluate the company’s digital presence to identify strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement. To do this, assess the website and social media profile(s), compile online reviews, send out surveys, etc.

Then, once you have tangible data and insights, analyze the performance of ALL existing digital channels and content against the information you’ve gathered. After that, put it into a digestible presentation to show your findings. This assessment helps us understand where the org stands in the digital landscape and helps identify gaps that must be addressed before moving forward. Additionally, evaluate your competitors’ digital strategies to gain insights and identify opportunities for differentiation.

4. Develop Key Digital Initiatives

Now, without skipping over any of the above items, use your objectives, target audience insights, and current digital presence to develop a digital initiative to drive your strategy forward. Additionally, those items could include website optimization plans, creating engaging content, a new social media marketing plan, implementing internal training plans, leveraging AI and automation, etc. Ultimately, decide which tactics best align with your chosen objectives. For example, are they realistic based on available resources (pssst that’s the next section)? Will they resonate with your target audience? Will employees understand the goals? Overall, each initiative should have a clear purpose, desired outcomes, and metrics to measure success.

5. Allocate Resources and Budget

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Allocate the financial and human resources (remember to assess your talent pool for skill gaps and remember that team communication is vital) to execute your digital strategy. Then, identify the internal resources or external partners needed to support the execution of your talent strategy. If you have the resources and talent, assign responsibilities, establish a timeline, or hire a project manager. If you don’t have the resources, you must go back to Step 1 and reassess.

6. Implement and Monitor

Once your digital initiatives are defined and resources allocated, it’s time to implement! To do that, execute each initiative according to your timeline and monitor performance regularly. Use analytics tools to track key metrics like website traffic, conversion rates, social media engagement, and customer feedback to save time.

After that, create a monitoring schedule so that the new data obtained isn’t wasted and can be used to gain new insights. At the same time, update documentation on dedicated resources with room for improvement or optimization. Ultimately, this is how orgs become data-driven decision-makers because regular monitoring and analysis allow you to adapt and refine your strategy to ensure ongoing success.

7. Stay Agile and Evolve

P.S. this is not an "agile methodology" -- it's only for LOLs
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Digital landscapes are dynamic and ever-changing. Staying agile (P.S. being agile and digital agility are different) and adapting to emerging trends and technologies are essential to maintaining a winning digital strategy. To do that, we must continuously evaluate the effectiveness of our digital initiatives. Also, we must stay updated on industry developments and be willing to experiment with new approaches. Then, seek customer and employee feedback, and be open to refining your strategy based on evolving needs. A flexible and adaptable system helps to foster enablement and buy-in to help a business stay competitive and achieve long-term success.

Digital strategy for the win!

Moira says "Bring it home!" (for the winning digital strategy, of course)
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Developing a winning digital strategy is time-consuming and requires careful planning and alignment. You can create a roadmap that drives digital success by defining clear goals and continually assessing, reevaluating, and optimizing. Of course, allocating resources, implementing and monitoring your initiatives, and staying agile are vital to ensure ongoing effectiveness.

Remember, a winning digital strategy is not a one-time endeavor but an iterative, continual process that needs refining occasionally. To truly embrace innovation, we need to stay ahead of industry trends and be willing to adapt. With a well-crafted digital strategy, businesses can harness the power of digital technologies to achieve goals and drive growth.

Some reports on this site were excerpted from publicly available information (research firms, third parties, public health organizations, etc.). This website and blog are for informational purposes only. Reports, reviews, and experiences on this website are opinions expressed by the author and do not purport the opinions or views of others. Any tools or technology mentioned are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute an endorsement or affiliation. Please use your discretion and consider factors like compatibility, security, and functionality before adopting any tool or technology. Lastly, this post/page does not establish a Jarred Andrews-client relationship. For additional info, please refer to my disclaimer. Please review the copyright, privacy policy, and terms pages for information on how to properly download, share, or copy content from my site. If you cannot find what you need, please reach out.
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