Without a smart digital strategy, it is unlikely you will have a successful online presence. Moreover, most businesses will need a digital presence to remain competitive in the future.
COVID-19 had a critical effect on how organizations must conduct business to respond to new customer needs and demands. For example, shops and restaurants had to adapt to offer online orders and home delivery.
Even financial institutions experienced an increase in online queries. However, many of these businesses handled the challenges successfully, even though they were not planning on boosting their digital offerings so unexpectedly and abruptly. Instead of allowing a desperate situation to cripple their revenues, these businesses demonstrated resilience and forward-thinking strategies that benefited their clients and kept their companies afloat in a time of crisis.
The coronavirus pandemic is only one instance that demonstrates the importance of building a smart digital strategy. Companies with a solid digital footprint have more chances to survive their competitors in case of an international crisis.
Why Should You Build Your Digital Strategy Right Now?
Here are the main advantages of building an intelligent digital strategy right now:
- stay ahead of the competition;
- reach more customers;
- grow profits and revenue;
- remain profitable even in times of crisis;
- be more resilient and prepared for uncertain events;
- keep up with the times and stay relevant;
- respond to consumer needs and demands.
The Deloitte Digital Transformation Executive Survey 2021 shows that digitally mature companies are more resilient and ready to navigate change than lower and median maturity companies.
Resilience gave businesses stability and a variety of opportunities to use technology (like AI and machine learning) to meet customer expectations and improve the customer experience.
These companies also observed a positive impact from pushing digital transformation initiatives during the pandemic and have a strong desire to keep up with the times.
Here are some Deloitte study key figures reflecting how companies with an innovative digital strategy led digitally developing organizations in terms of capacity to change and win. Digitally mature companies have implemented two or more techniques and are only 13% of the respondents to the survey. The digitally developing organizations are 87% of respondents.
- 35% of respondents from digitally mature companies said their digital capabilities helped them deal with the challenges of COVID-19. Only 24% of companies less developed digitally reported similar achievements.
- 77% were better able to scale vs. 64% with a less digital footprint,
- 74% reported revenue growth rates above industry averages vs. 65% of the less digitally engaged companies.
How to Plan a Smart Digital Strategy?
By now, it is clear that you must plan a smart digital strategy to remain competitive and relevant in any niche online. Your strategy will include your online presence plus paid, owned, and earned digital media.
In essence, an intelligent digital marketing strategy will unify all the online and offline channels to deliver a seamless customer experience: your website, social media, digital advertising, mobile apps, mobile web, chatbots, email marketing, VR, and more.
Without integrating your sales, PR, and marketing teams, you cannot create an innovative digital strategy.
So, how and where do you start?
Use the RACE framework created by Smart Insights to build your digital strategy. RACE stands for:
- Reach: build awareness about your brand, products, and services using all the means you can afford. These may include a website, social media, email marketing, advertising, press releases, offline ads, and offline media.
- Act: build up your media momentum by engaging the audiences you reached.
- Convert: turn gained customers you reached through your marketing strategies into leads or paying customers. Use both your online and offline channels to achieve this goal.
- Engage: don't drop the ball. Instead, maintain meaningful relationships with your clients, past and present, followers, and fans, through time to achieve retention goals and return customers.
Credit: Oxford College Marketing
Of course, some businesses may not afford or need to include all the reach components stipulated in the RACE framework; however, they all should adhere to the following imperatives:
- Experiences: build outstanding customer experiences;
- Insights: gain knowledge from data analytics and insights to better the customer experience;
- Platforms: combine digital platforms to gain digital capabilities that foster even better customer experiences;
- Connectivity: make sure that all your digital platforms are connected and seamlessly interoperable to simplify the customer journey;
- Integrity: conduct your business ethically and with integrity.
Credit: Deloitte Insights
It would be good to begin optimizing your already existing digital channels and then invest in those you don't already use. Also, unless you are a digital marketing guru, DIY is not a recommended solution. Instead, hire someone in-house or an agency to advise and handle things on your behalf. They may seem expensive at first, but they will prove quite effective and invaluable for your business growth in the long run.