Defining a cohesive and effective digital strategy for your product or brand website can be challenging. In fact, according to research implemented by Smart Insights, only 51% of companies have a defined digital strategy*. This is likely because a) many marketers think, as long as they have a website, that is good enough and b) many marketers may not know where to start in formulating a digital strategy.
Let’s start with point A. Is it good enough to just have a website? The answer is no, because chances are, without a defined digital strategy, your website is likely not good enough. To further elaborate, see our top 13 reasons on why you need a digital strategy:
Top 13 reasons why you should need a digital strategy
- Without a defined destination, it may be difficult to move forward: All websites should have clearly defined goals and KPIs (key performance indicators) and track accordingly. It is best practice to benchmark yourself against your own past performance to understand if you are improving year over year.
- You may not be fully aware of the issues with your current digital platform: It is difficult to be objective about your own website or the website that you currently manage. Also, it is important to assess the site from a user perspective, not your organisation perspective.
- You may not be user-centric: Many of us create our website based on the needs of the organisation and the agendas of your stakeholders. This is not a model for a positive user experience. You need to build your website around what the user needs, not just what the organisation wants to say.
- You may not have a strong brand proposition or defined benefits: You want to make sure your user understand what is in it for them. What are you offering them that will make them trust you, like you, and want to know more.
- Your site may not be accessible: Accessibility is important for reasons of compliance, but it also has significant user implications. Accessibility also extends to a user’s ability to find content, understand the language you are using, and responding to key site call to actions.
- Your website may be providing a negative customer experience: Customer experience is at the heart of your organisation’s success. If you are allowing for a sub-par customer experience on your website, you can be significantly damaging your overall brand trust and like-ability.
- Your competitors may be winning online: it is integral to understand how you compare to your competitors online. They may have key digital offerings that are allowing them to gain a competitive advantage. Also, there may also be emerging industry standard features that you don’t have, leaving you to fall short.
- You may be missing key innovation opportunities: Digital is a medium that is always progressing and there are always new innovation emerging. Many of these innovations can help you reach your audience more effectively and/or help to improve your web experience overall.
- You may not fully understand your audience: Many marketers might believe they have a good sense of their audience, but likely, many marketers can afford to know a lot more. To effectively reach your audience, you need to know way more than just age range and income level.
- You may not know how your audience is behaving on your site: Also, just because you know they live in Dublin and have 1.5 children, doesn’t mean you know the first thing about what they are doing when they visit your site. Are they getting lost, abandoning shopping carts, confused, frustrated? If so, you need to know why.
- Poor web design may be damaging your credibility: Your website is your storefront, and sometimes your first and only interaction with potential customers. Therefore, it is crucial that you build trust and credibility immediately with a well-designed and easy to use site.
- Your technical set-up may not be the most efficient for your needs: You may be spending more time and money on site maintenance than you have to. Your CMS may be cumbersome to use and update. You may not be working as efficiently as you can in implementing content updates and amends.
- It allows for clear and explicit direction that will inform all briefs and tender documents: With a defined digital strategy, you will be able to write informed and explicit agency briefs, compile tenders that provide definitive direction to tenderers. In return, you will receive recommendations from agency partners that are actionable and relevant to your organisation.
How to create your digital strategy
Now that you understand why it is so important to have a digital strategy for your website, we can move on to Point B, which is how to get started. We recommend implementing a 5 stage methodology to identify a thorough digital strategy for your current website.
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Author: Tara Hitlin