I have spent a lot of time over the last 6 months thinking about the WHY of this new business as well as spending even more time creating a bunch of courses, designed to impart my knowledge to you about how to develop and implement a digital strategy.
A part of that is actually putting out there what I believe a Digital Strategy is and also how I believe a successful digital strategy is put together.
What is a Digital Strategy exactly.
For me a Digital Strategy is bringing all of your online activities into a plan designed to help you meet the objectives of your business plan. Its sits at the heart of the Digital Ecosystem.
Woah, jargon already? Not really, here are a few definitions that I use.
an ecosystem is a biological community of interacting organisms and their physical environment. "the marine ecosystem of the northern Gulf had suffered irreparable damage" (in general use) a complex network or interconnected system. "Silicon Valley's entrepreneurial ecosystem"
So in the digital space, I teach that the Digital Ecosystem is made up of 4 key elements - WEB, SOCIAL, CONTENT & SEARCH and at the heart of all of these facets, connecting them all together is Digital Strategy.
But none of these elements and nothing in a digital strategy plan will work for you in the way you might anticipate if you have no overarching business plan first. You really can't develop a digital strategy, if there is no overarching direction that shapes what it is you are going to do or where you want to go.
So when people start working through my key program - the Digital Ascent, the very first thing we do inside Basecamp is clearly identify what their business goals are. For some people, this is often the very first time that they have spoken aloud or documented these goals. A documented business plan is only something that they might do if they are applying for a loan, or if they entering a business awards program.
Sound familiar? All too often this is the case with small business, we can be so busy working in the business, that we neglect what is really important in driving our business forward - the thinking and planning that we need to do to ensure our valuable time is spent in the right areas.
So whilst people might want to dive into getting into Facebook or insist that they need to do Google Adwords, I want people to take stock and really think about what their business goals are, who they are trying to sell to and how they as a business speak to them as well as where they want to see their business in 12 months, 5 years and 10 years time.
Once you are able to define your business goals - then you can start on the path to developing a Digital strategy. I have seen many businesses, get a marketing company on board to develop a PLAN to drive sales and these expensive plans land in a draw somewhere and never get done?
Because the key steps to getting things happening correctly haven't been undertaken, so there is no overarching theme or direction defined that will help dictate our direction. You often can be pulled into doing what is the pet focus of that company, their objectives become your objectives and not the other way around.
So how can you control this process? How can you know what you might need to do, or understand what might be suggested to you?
By understanding the Digital Ecosystem.
Find out more about the various elements of each facet of the Digital Ecosystem by following along with my next 4 blogposts on WEB, SOCIAL, CONTENT & SEARCH