Wednesday, July 29, 2015

7 Points to keep in mind when going Digital

As I work with new clients helping them make the best of Digital media, or when I interact with some of my older clients helping them plan newer growth strategies, there are some key points that I find myself repeating over & over again. Some get it immediately while others take time. So I thought why not put down a few key points that are critical to anybody who is using or planning to use Digital for their business.

So here goes:
  1. Tie in all your digital presence. Is your website connected to your blog, and your social media presence? Is your pinterest page connected to your e-commerce site? Is your blog helping you draw more customers for your product or service on your website? Is your app notification helping you increase app opens and are these then helping you increase product or service sales ? Is your e-mail marketing helping you get people back to the site or to interact with you on social? Tie in your presence with your goals. Also tie in your offline presence with your digital presence.

  2. Make sure your connected digital presence is helping your customers or target audience. e.g. Are they able to know about your new collection from your social post or app notification, see the range immediately on your pinterest board and buy it from your website or e-commerce channel?

  3. Understand that you do not have to be on all social media, but only where it's relevant. Know your business, your audience and what you want to achieve before you choose the social media to be on. It's not about being on all possible Social media but being on the right ones for you, and then, doing the right things there.

  4. Remember this is an interactive medium so try and interact. Do not just broadcast - have conversations. Engage with people. A website can be more than just a brochure. Social posts can be much more than just announcements. Don't just push. Pull. Also make sure you respond to user queries & problems quickly and positively.

  5. Measure everything. Have analytics in place and use what you learn, to change, modify and improve results. The advantage of the Digital Medium is that it is measurable. So if you are not measuring visits to your website, user demographics and behavior, social media analytics etc then you not making full use of the medium. Your visitors, members, followers, what they do, when they do it, what they react to, is all there for you to see and learn, so use it. Test changes, see results and change again.

  6. Use Marketing. First market on your website, your blog, your e-mail communication, your social presence, your mobile app, and then use marketing such as SEO, SEM, Social Media Advertising, Mobile advertising, Affiliate marketing, etc. Here again run tests, measure the response and test again.
  7. Keep testing and changing. We still have a huge overhang of traditional media where we made brochures once in a few years or ad campaigns that lasted for a while. In Digital Change is the only constant so keep changing, measuring, and change again. A website once made is not done. A social media page is not something you make once and forget . Technology is changing, how and where people access is changing, and what you can do there is changing too.

While there are many things that can be added here, and many more if we get into the details of each, just keeping the above seven in mind should help you as you go about making your Digital Strategy and then implementing it.

Please feel free to add your points to the above and do write back with comments.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Ask Why before you decide What on Digital

At a recent gathering, a business person I was introduced to, remarked - "Oh! You are a Digital Strategy Consultant? You know? I have tried everything, but this Digital thing doesn't really work" . When asked what he expected, he replied  " I don't know. At least something should have happened after spending so much money on all this, but it hasn't."

Turns out that wanting to 'Be Digital' they had got a fancy website made, had a LinkedIn Company page, a Facebook page, a Twitter account, a Pinterest account, A Google+ account, a Blog, they were on Instagram, and every place else. The problem was - That was it.

They had made it all and now didn't know what to do with it. They expected that just being in all these places, making announcements (social posts & blogs, emails etc) should have, in some way, helped their business. And when nothing changed, they blamed it on the medium.

My suggestion to them all - First ask "Why"?

The problem is, if you don't know why you want a website, or an e-commerce site, or a Facebook page, or an app, or any other digital presence, then - 
  • You will be doing it all, or nothing at all, or doing something that you really didn't need.
  • Doing it all wrong, because there is no particular result you are looking for.
  • Losing time and money, as you would have done it and will then ask "Now what?"

And hence you will finally get nothing out it.

So first ask yourself a few basic questions to define why you need a Digital Presence. Then get down to where, how and what of it. Start with simple questions with specific answers. 
  • What Business are you in? 
  • What  business problem are you trying to solve? 
  • Who is your target audience?
  • What problem are you trying to solve for your Target Audience?
  • Where is this Target audience present?  What channels, devices, technologies do they use most, and are likely to use in the future?

These will help you decide digital medium to use, to solve what problem.

Next ask
  • What do we do there? 
  • How do we do it? Do we have the required expertise in house, or do we need to hire externalresources?
  • What is the right way to do it so that we get the desired result? How do we make people come there?
  • How do we know it is really working or not? Is there a way to measure the effectiveness of the channel?
There are just too many businesses out there with a website that has no traffic, those who are posting daily on social media but ignoring customer queries or remarks, those that have build apps that no one downloads, those with company blogs that no one reads, and those with e-commerce websites that make no sales. Being there and doing that is not the solution unless you know why.

So start with a strategy, know why you are doing what you are doing, and work towards achieving what you set out to achieve. You can do brand building, connect with your existing or potential customers, increase sales of your products or services, service your customers better, acquire new customers, sell more to your existing customers, improve business efficiency, reduce customer acquisition costs, increase customer retention, and a lot more depending on what You set out to do.

All digital channels are just the medium. Digital will not do it for you. You have to do it using Digital. And No, it's not a fad to be on Digital. So please don't just do it.