What is a digital business strategy today? Maybe this is another ephemeral category, a way to spend money nowhere? Unfortunately not.

Just as the Internet is developing at a rapid pace, pushing the development of IT technologies, the company's development strategy in it is rather a way not to lose, but to preserve and increase your business. The Internet is good in that it suits anyone - both the student and the oligarch. Each has its own goals and motives. But this article will focus on digital strategy for a private medium-sized Russian non-resource business.
essential elements of a digital strategy

The strategy, by the way, comes from the ancient Greek word στρατηγία, “the art of a commander,” and means a way to achieve a complex goal. Achieving a goal is a success. Thinking by analogy, like 99% of people on Earth, we assume that a digital strategy is a set of actions that will lead a company to success on the Internet. But companies do not always understand what success on the Internet is for them.
What could be the company's goals on the Internet? Variety. The main thing is to formulate a goal using the SMART method or at least close to this:
  • Increase sales of plumbing equipment using the online channel by 50%.

  • Increase the attendance of the content project to 50 thousand visitors a day in six months and start earning on an affiliate program.

  • Create a positive image of the employer for young professionals to rely not only on material motivation.
However, before the goal is formulated, some businessmen are wondering if they need to use the Internet space in principle.

Only a third-party expert can determine if a digital company is needed.

Owners and top managers of companies rightly consider themselves experts in their industry and usually decide for themselves what is best for their own company. But this approach is fraught with a painful rake.
1. Managers "brew" in their own routine to clear up the huge flow of information that falls on them daily. Keeping track of volatile trends in Internet marketing in this mode is almost impossible.

2. An ordinary “busy” top manager, when asked if a digital company is needed, immediately gets into a look at what competitors are doing in this area. In some cases, industry competitors do nothing and feel good. The manager calms down and puts off Internet marketing until later, without thinking that it might be too late. The company is simply ahead of the competition.

3. Digital experts, as a rule, have wide industry experience. They lead many projects at the same time and, one way or another, are always up to date with the latest trends in the Internet environment. In addition, they can clearly say what advantages the strategy of developing a business on the Internet, formed together with the owner, will bring.

7 elements of digital strategy

1. Consideration of industry specifics of the client’s business

It is important to consider not only the macro industry but also the micro-industry in which the company operates. The category “micro-industry” is akin to the concept of company specialization. I will give an example.

The company is engaged in food trade. Trade is the macro industry, and food is the micro-industry, that is, the specialization of the company. And you need to take into account both the trends in trade in general and food separately, so that, on the one hand, you do not miss development trends, and, on the other hand, you do not look stupid in your designs, conditionally trying to invent a bicycle when you have the car for a long time.In addition, an understanding of industry trends will help to further understand who are the real competitors of the company, and not just the top ten sites appearing in the top search engine results.

2. The composition of the digital strategy

2.1. Diagnostics of the site, the incoming stream of leads and costs/results

Quite often, companies do not realize that they are not using their site 100%. This is due to the fact that good stable companies over the years have learned to do without this information channel using the Internet only for email. But everything is changing. Competition is tightening. The one who is the first to realize the potential of online development has the best chance of becoming a leader. And, on the other hand: the leader company should not neglect the digital strategy if it wants to remain dominant in the market.

The site of the company today performs many important functions:
1) sales of goods/services, for example:
  • interactive sales of services and goods;
  • The attraction of new clients; promotional codes and discounts;
  • conducting marketing campaigns to increase sales;
2) attracting employees, for example:
  • creating career sections on the site;
  • resume submission form;
  • implementation of preliminary testing of candidates on the site;
3) company details, for example:
  • map of company offices or stores;
  • the site is open 24 hours, so the visitor can always get information about the company;
4) attraction of partners, contractors, for example: establishing relationships with new and existing partners of the company;

5) company advertising on the network, for example: support and promotion of the company's image on the Internet;

6) automation of business processes, for example:
  • increase service speed;
  • ticket system;
  • information services and representation goals.
In addition to the site, a company may have one-page landing pages. While the corporate website of the company can play many roles and is tied to the corporate identity, landing pages (popularly called “landing pages”) are needed only for sales. They can have an intricate design and close the visitor to themselves, in fact allowing him to either perform the target action (buy, download, write, call) or leave.If in life “the unattainability of an ideal is the best guarantee of the infinity of movement towards it” (Bulgakov), then for the site you can achieve a temporary ideal adjusted for the specifics of the business and the development of IT technologies by passing a conditional checklist:
  • the site is responsive;
  • the site has good traffic quality indicators, which, however, also depends on the traffic sources (failures, number of pages viewed, average time spent by the visitor on the site);
  • The site plays a significant role in the business of the company.

2.2. Positioning a company on the Internet

Positioning online, as well as offline answers the question: do users who have encountered the company at one of the points of contact on the network (website, landing page, banner, ad, article, etc.) understand what the company does and what helps this world is better.

2.3. Tasks that a company can more efficiently solve by acting online

A task is simply a unit of action on a scale smaller than a goal. Suppose a company’s goal is to enter a new market. How can a digital strategy help here? Here are a few examples:
  • geo-targeting content for a specific region;
  • article plan: we publish articles in publications popular among participants;
  • we calculate the capacity of companies / services interested in the company for a new market;
  • We build an online sales system for a market-region, etc.
There can be many tasks, and it directly depends on them in what ways we will solve them.

2.4. Digital tools with justification for use

A huge number of notes have been written about tools in Internet marketing, and for the most part a whole series of articles can be devoted to describing each of them. Therefore, we restrict ourselves to a brief description of the advantages and disadvantages of each of them.

3. Budgeting and planning, KPI

An important part of the strategy is also the budgeting of the selected instruments and the determination of the forecast ROI. It makes no sense to develop an effective strategy if no one can understand how much money the company has saved or brought.

4. The recommendation of specific counterparties to implement the strategy

Often a company that develops a digital strategy for a large organization seeks to close the implementation of all the steps described in it to itself. This is due to common sense (“I developed it myself - I’m implementing it myself”) and the desire of the development company to earn more money. However, there is a flip side to the coin: it is necessary to clearly understand that one company is good at SEO promotion, and the other is a leader in promotion in social networks.
Therefore, a self-respecting expert will always honestly tell you who can best implement this or that plan.

5. The concept of an analytics system

A digital strategy should not only describe the main business processes online, but also prepare the basis for reporting. What indicators should be monitored? What analytics systems to use? What are your goals?

6. Competitor analysis

This is a mandatory item, which, one way or another, is present in any development strategy.
As part of the analysis of competitors, an analysis is made of no more than four competitors' websites according to the following parameters:
  • the total share of traffic to the company's website and competitors' sites;
  • traffic shares: direct calls, mailings, referrals, social networks, organic search, paid search, display advertising;
  • traffic quality assessment: average visit duration, bounce rate, number of pages viewed.

7. Field control for two months

It is important to understand that the developed digital strategy, being even a document unique in its usefulness, may not be clear at first to the customer.You can never hope that the strategy in Internet marketing is implemented exactly in the form that the customer was counting on without your participation. To avoid negativity and misunderstanding, the expert needs to accompany the implementation of the strategy.

Options for a modern digital strategy

All seven elements of an internet marketing strategy described above are essential for a good strategy. However, it should be understood that there are different options for execution, depending on what the company needs first.

1. Website development (deep audit, development strategy)

The output is a report with specific recommendations, screenshots, and an action plan, budgeting, and ROI forecasts.

2. SEO strategy (search engine promotion)

At the output, we get internal and external optimization, a semantic core, a report with specific recommendations, screenshots, and an action plan, budgeting, and ROI forecasts.

3. Online sales system (strategy, tools, tactics)

At the output, we get a set of online sales tools - an understanding of how to apply them, budgeting and ROI forecasts, a methodology for tracking the effectiveness of online sales, a report with specific recommendations.

4. Internet PR (articles, banners, social networks, blogs)

At the output, we get a media plan with budgeting, a strategy for working in social networks and blogs, the basics of developing corporate online TV, a methodology for writing articles.

5. Email marketing (strategy, segmentation, plan)

At the exit, the client receives a company’s e-mail development strategy.
In conclusion, I note that the development of the site is a basic part of the digital strategy, which is combined sequentially with all other parts. For example, a digital strategy may consist of the components “Website Development” and “SEO Strategy”, but cannot include “Website Development” and only “Online Sales System”, since in this case an important aspect of SEO development is missed. In other words, a digital strategy is a constructor consisting of "Site Development", "SEO Strategy", and "Online Sales System".