The answer to this question is (like most business questions) – it depends. Partly it depends on the nature of your business, your goals and expectations, and whether your customers are using digital channels for any reason at all.
It also depends on what you have in place already, and how suitable that is for your business needs.
A digital strategy should be part of a marketing plan, which in turn should be part of your overall business plan. If you don’t already have a business plan and a marketing plan in place, then your digital strategy will need to be a lot more comprehensive.
If these two plans are detailed and current, then the task of creating a digital strategy is a lot faster and more straightforward.
Where do I start?
The planning hierarchy usually looks a bit like this:
1) Business plan - this includes all aspects of your business, projections, competitor analysis, SWOT analysis benchmarking, goals, financial analysis and budgets.
2) Marketing plan - encompasssing everything marketing related: online and offline, traditional media (radio, TV, print ads), events, print collateral, PR and comms, client events, trade events, packaging, branding and more.
3) Digital strategy – this focuses on digital specifically, and should be part of the marketing plan (if you have one), helping to leverage your overall marketing spend. For example, this could be reinforcing your offline campaigns by ensuring contennt across your website and social channels is relevant and helps conversions. This includes consideration of your full digital ecosystem and how all of the elements work together, including your website, email marketing, mobile apps, online content creation, social media, and more.
4) Social media strategy – a sub-set of your digital strategy, a social media strategy includes reinforcing your brand messages, running targeted campaigns, building relationships and loyalty among your customer base, providing insights into your business and team, sharing relevant and useful information to your existing and potential customers.
Why is a strategy important?
New clients of hairyLemon are asked if they have a strategy in place. We are looking to understand your business and marketing goals, so we can provide digital support that will work towards your goals.
Considering the full estate helps retain consistency across your online presence, and increases overall effectiveness by leveraging all channels to their greatest potential.
If you have a new business or want a website for a new initiative for an existing business, you may not have all those elements in place as yet, and that’s where we can help you by running a strategy workshop and helping you to create your digital strategy.
Going through this process before we start designing your new site means we are not in a position of having to add elements and functionality later that would have been better included in our thinking and design process from the start.
So don’t be afraid to start your relationship with hairyLemon by asking us for a workshop planning session – our Digital Srategists are happy to work with you to lay the groundwork that will increase the overall effectiveness of your project in both the short and long-term, and ideally also streamline the design and development part of the process.