By now, almost everyone understands that a modern business needs a decent website and a digital strategy. The only issue with that is that plenty of people don’t know why they need these things, what a well-built site actually comprises, or how an online operation should run. There’s really no mystery behind the average digital strategy being so aimless and mediocre.
Since you decided to read this piece, I’ll go ahead and assume that you’re running (or responsible for marketing) a business that operates partially or exclusively online, and you’re looking for assistance with improving your digital strategy in an efficient way. It’s a worthy cause, after all, but your time is limited — you might not be able to afford a significant budget.
Well, making quick improvements is exactly what we’re going to look at here: specifically, some core tips that can help you overhaul your strategy within just one week. Let’s get started.
Improve your analytics tracking
When you renovate a building, you can see its condition fairly easily: some aspects might elude a superficial glance, but you can easily get a survey done. It isn’t quite so simple to adjust something abstract like a digital strategy. This is partially because it’s harder to discern when a small change makes a difference, but mainly because everything is comparative. Imagine being asked to assess the impact of a renovation with nothing but a single “before” photo.
Not only do you need a tracking system in place to record data for every field of any significance to your strategy, but you also need a way of tying results to the changes you make. This is particularly important in content marketing: if you produce five pieces of content but give each one the same CTA URL, how will you know which one is responsible for the resulting visits?
At a minimum, you need Google Analytics configured and some use of custom URLs or separate landing pages to differentiate between your traffic sources. Only then will you have the kind of insight you need to measure ROI and see when your campaign has actually improved.
Review your software foundation
Core to your online operation will be some arrangement of software tools: everything from the CMS underpinning your website to the email marketing system you use for promotion. And while you shouldn’t get into the habit of blaming your tools for any poor performance, you’re inevitably going to get better results with less effort if you get the best possible tools.
For instance, think about everything that goes into the maintenance and updating of your website. You may need to add content, curate comments, adjust plugins, update the system, and carry out numerous other tasks. Well, the more intuitive your CMS happens to be, the easier these tasks will be, and the more time you’ll have to spend on other things.
If you’re running an industry-standard CMS (e.g. WordPress — which is used for this site — or Shopify, which is for ecommerce) then you should have no need to make a change. Just think carefully about the other tools you use, and determine if you could get better results with alternatives (there are plenty around).
And if you’re running an old custom CMS, or a provided CMS that happens to be clunky and outdated, then you should give a lot of thought to how much time it wastes. If replacing it would save you a few hours every week, that would add up to a lot of value very quickly, more than justifying the expenditure and inconvenience of migrating your system.
Adopt a quality-first approach
One of the most common problems with a digital strategy is a wrong-headed determination to do as much as possible of everything. Write numerous pieces of content, update social media countless times each day, run PPC campaigns across all notable platforms… it’s such a waste of time, because it just adds to the online noise that drowns almost everything out.
Instead, you should focus on the quality of everything you do. Instead of ten bland pieces, write a single piece that’s outstanding. Pay close attention to the content that’s already out there and aim to surpass the top performer (this is called the skyscraper technique). If you can manage it, it’ll do far more for building your brand than a deluge of mediocre pieces ever could.
It’s easy to understand why people so often go for quantity. They don’t know if they can produce the kind of quality they need, and think that sheer saturation will be enough to cover that up. But if your business is truly worth following, you must have something meaningful to offer, and all you need to do is find the most productive way to tell people about it.
Set realistic high-priority goals
Lastly, you need to revisit the main goals of your digital strategy (assuming you ever set any, because that isn’t guaranteed). How specific are they? Are they directly measurable, or harder to gauge? A strategy with unclear or unknowable goals isn’t necessarily destined to fail, but you won’t know if it’s succeeding — which pointedly means that you can’t easily improve it (or discontinue it in the event that it isn’t accomplishing anything).
What does a realistic goal look like? Well, you aim to improve your email conversion rate by 5% within the next year. It might not sound very ambitious, but if you easily hit that rate within a month then you can simply bump up the goal.
Remember that the ultimate goal is almost always to make more money, so ROI is of paramount importance. You must always be able to compare the money you’re putting into your tactics (everything from the cost of your SaaS subscriptions to the value of the time you’re spending on them) to what you’re getting out of them: the conversions they’re directly responsible for.
Using these core tactics, you should be able to make some major changes to your digital strategy within a week. Track everything, get the right tools in place, focus on quality, and move towards some achievable goals. The specifics are up to you!