A digital strategy is the process of a business using technology to further their visions, goals, opportunities and initiatives in order to maximize the business benefits. Digital strategy frequently includes customer intelligence, collaboration, new product/market exploration, sales and service optimization, as well as the technology architecture of a business. It can also include marketing thrusts like websites and mobile platforms.
How Does Digital Strategy Differ from Online Strategy?
We often hear “digital strategy” and “online strategy” used interchangeably. However, there are differences. Digital strategy refers to a company’s efforts to use digital services for day-to-day business. Digital strategies allow more data-driven decision-making through organizational models that are sensitive to changes in the company’s environment.
Why Do SMBs Need a Digital Strategy?
The business world is changing rapidly. SMBs that don’t change with the times will be left behind by their competitors.
From smartphones to social networks, today’s digital tools should be making it possible for your customers to connect and dialogue around the globe. Digital strategy has altered customer relationships with enterprises and with other clients—regardless of the size of the company. Before the digital age, businesses relied on a “broadcast model” to contact clients and potential clients. Today’s SMBs use a “network model”. Those who employ digital strategies take advantage of customers’ ability to engage, interact, and even collaborate with your organization as well as with each other…making IT solutions and IT consulting a highly relevant component to success.
Where to Begin?
For many SMBs, there is a steep learning curve with digital strategies. Here are some tips:
- Look at all the possibilities
- Select a digital strategy to begin. Know why you chose this one and how you intend to use it.
- Break the implementation task into manageable logical steps.
- Don’t try to do it all at once.
- With the right plan, digital strategies can help you save time and money.
- Any effective digital strategy plan must also start with understanding your niche market. Identify your business goals. Then select the most effective strategy to fit them.
What Makes an Effective Digital Strategy?
There are five strategies that you, as a business owner, should thinking about:
- The Access strategy: Be faster, easier to use, and there 2 4/7
- The Engage strategy: Become an expert source for your clients. Help them understand your services
- The Customize strategy: Be flexible to meet your staff and your customer needs.
- The Connect strategy: Dialogue with your customer.
- The Collaborate strategy: Ask your clients to be a part of building your business.
Here are some great examples of digital strategies:
Zip-Car – linked vehicles to the Internet, and gave customers the tools to find, rent, and return vehicles through their phones, laptops, PCs or handheld devices 2 4/7.
CD Baby – created a highly successful an online business by allowing independent musicians to build their own digital storefront and sell their products from this website.
Wine Library – built a huge online following with daily web videos of wine tastings. The company increased ten times in three years.
Entrepreneur mistakes in digital strategy
Entrepreneurs, in their eagerness, often get ahead of themeselves. Instead of focusing on their business and client needs they get caught up in digital strategy trends. Trends are sometimes helpful, but make sure they will be benefitial to your company.
Establishing an effective digital strategy: First Steps
Before you decide HOW you are going to use digital strategies, you need to know WHY your business needs them. Set clear aims and objectives. Once you know and can articulate your objectives, you can figure out the most appropriate digital strategy. What are you hoping to accomplish:
- Reaching new potential customers
- Reducing overhead
- Improving employee productivity
- Improving business communication
Study what digital strategies have been effective for other SMBs. Setting your business objectives first will ensure you don’t waste valuable time on false starts.
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