"I NEED A WEBSITE!!!"
When speaking with new entrepreneurs and business owners, often one of the first things I hear is: “I need a website!” Over the years I have come to realise that many times this a desperate cry, best interpreted as: “I have no idea what I am doing with my digital marketing”.
Don’t get me wrong, websites are important and can be a crucially important tool for many businesses. However, for that very reason, deciding to set up a website should not be the first step in the process.
Let’s say you finally buy that beautiful plot of land overlooking the ocean. Would you rush to the store to grab some cement mix, pick up some bricklayers along the way and get going with it? My guess is no. You would probably take some time to think about what you want your house to look like – should the lounge overlook the ocean or the mountain? Do you want a terrace or a pool? Should the roof be a golf course or a helipad? What about a glass elevator between the garage and the third floor? Once you have all your dreams neatly scribbled all over the place, you would probably consult an engineer and an architect who would help you shape the design and draw the blueprint for building your ideal home. You can obviously build the house without following a plan, but chances are the helipad might collapse into the jacuzzi at some point, causing the glass elevator to shatter and spill glass all over the floor.
In the same way, before embarking on anything like website build, logo design, or setting up social channels, what people should be prioritising is the development of a solid digital strategy. Not only does this blueprint provide the roadmap to achieving impactful communication with customers and building an effective marketing structure, it also helps to identify what is not needed, to avoid wasting resources on unnecessary channels. So, when you say “I need a website”, my response is, “Do you?”.
So, how do you go about developing a digital strategy as a business owner?
Speak to an Expert
The starting point is to involve someone who knows what they are doing. You could attempt this journey on your own but, as mentioned earlier, it is comparable to designing your dream house when you haven’t studied architecture or engineering. The basics can perhaps be found on Google, but there are specialists who are well versed in the technicalities and nuances of digital strategy and have through experience refined the most effective techniques. You can always get input from a friend who has experience in marketing, but as the digital space is constantly evolving, designing the most impactful strategy can be complicated and there is no match for expert guidance.
Define Your Objectives
It is essential to have clearly defined business objectives. When getting your house built, you need to decide what you want it to look like, what the practical requirements are, when you want it to be built by, and what the budget is. The architect needs this information before she/he can even begin their design work. The same goes for digital strategy; your business objectives and requirements help the digital strategist to design the concrete strategy best suited to achieve your specific target outcomes.
Learn How it Works
Whilst an expert is advising you on your digital strategy, make sure that you are continually learning about the digital space. Notice what your competitors are doing, absorb information from the digital strategist, read blogs, play with free tools etc. As we all know, knowledge is power. COVID-19 has created a massive shift in consumers’ purchasing and engagement behaviours, resulting in digital becoming an even more crucial marketing channel than before, so it is both important and beneficial to know how it works. Remember that as you are the expert in your own business and have a different perspective, through this learning and discovery process you may identify nuances specific to your field or business that the digital strategist can then harness to further bolster the digital strategy.
Be Sure to Follow the Plan
Once your digital strategy is in place, you can get started with constructing the various digital elements of your business. Make sure that you are following a clear roadmap, as this eases the process and keeps your activity on track. Ask your digital strategist for recommended specialists to help you with different components such as logo and web design, content writing, influencer marketing etc. It does not help to have a state-of-the-art design for your house but get unqualified contractors to build it.
Finally, have fun with it. The beauty of the digital space is that it is optimisable and constantly changing. You can see what is working and what isn’t, and make adjustments to keep enhancing your results and building on your successes.
Clever and effective use of the digital realm provides the opportunity to get ahead of your competitors without changing your products or pricing. At LUNIR, this is our passion and our expertise, and along with our large network of experts who specialise in different aspects of creative messaging, we are equipped and eager to build your house with you.