How to Create an Online StrategyNovember, 13 2012
Investing in your business online is not just about spending money. It’s about building an entity that resonates with your customers and keeps them coming back. To do this you need a solid, online strategy. Your strategy is an ongoing process, not something to set and forget. There are not any shortcuts to online success.
He says a successful online strategy has the following in place:
- A business plan or list of business goals you want to accomplish.
- The ability to factually audit your existing online programs and their performance
- A clear idea of the human and budget resources available
- Access to a trusted, neutral source of information to help guide you and answer any questions that may arise.
He also provided a five step digital road map process found in his book, “The Digital Dollar: Sustainable Strategies for Online Strategies.”
Frame Objectives and Deliverables
Create a “project scope,” or a definition of what the project is supposed to accomplish and the budget of both time and money created to achieve these objectives. You’ll want to be as specific as you can when you define goals and deliverables. You’ll also want to choose team members and project sponsors.
Look at the Current Environment
Look at your current online channels and see how they are performing against your goals, budget, and the time it takes to maintain them. You’ll want to look at who your customers are, what they are saying about your product and/or service, and what your competitors are doing.
Channel Option Mapping
Start to choose where you want to be online based on your analysis of the current environment. There are a number of possible channels, so the one you eventually choose “should be determined by how they can assist in furthering your business goals,” says Wozny.
Once you’ve chosen your channels, develop an outline of a strategy. Once the outline is done, take it to your team and review it with them. Wonzy says these discussions form the basis of recommendations and uncover items that haven’t been explored. You’ll want to discuss tactics and how they will be deployed and operated. Also take a look at what crisis may occur and test how you can overcome them.
Present the Strategy
Communicate your strategy to all who will be involved in operating and maintaining it. Wozny says effective plans should include a visual document that outlines what actions you plan to take over time, and key speaking points. Your plan also needs an estimated budget including one-time and ongoing costs, strategy assumptions that are measurable, and your activities and your competitor’s activities.
If you are already online, don’t stop what you are doing. Instead, use a roadmap process to modify and adjust your current activities. The challenge we face as we adapt to the digital age is to choose the right tactics for the right objectives for the right audiences. The key is to do what works best rather than trying to do everything.
Is your online strategy in place? If so, what tips would you add?