Is Your Website Driving Growth for You? 3 Do’s and Don’ts for Getting Serious about Digital
– Nish Bhutani
How do you move beyond your basic company website and get serious about growing your business using digital?
The digital landscape is vast, evolving and frankly, confusing. To add to the confusion, every agency and vendor out there positions itself as the solution to your problems.
How do you cut through all of that noise? We don’t have all the answers, but we have some key dos and don’ts.
First the DON’Ts.
1. DON’T put the execution cart before the strategy horse
Companies sometimes hire a marketing agency with the expectation that the internet will drive customers to their doorstep with minimal effort. However, like any marketing initiative, having a clear strategy and goals are critical to eventual success.
For instance, which customer segments will you target online? This decision may be based on the online buying behaviour of some segments, or the current high cost of selling to others, or a combination of both.
Being clear about strategic decisions like these, and passing this guidance to an agency or marketing team, along with specifics on metrics such as desired cost of acquisition, increase your odds of success.
A generic – and all too common – brief such as ‘we want more customers’ will lead to unfocused execution and the hasty conclusion that ‘digital marketing does not work for us.’
2. DON’T figure out the digital space all by yourself
Assuming that your current team has limited digital experience, you will only be limiting your vision and short-changing your efforts if you don’t bring in the inputs of digital experts.
Those experts certainly don’t have all the answers, particularly as they don’t know your industry or company. But a combination of their experiences in applying digital to various industries and scenarios, and your knowledge of your own business, can create some magic.
At Indiginus, that was our experience in working with companies like Alliance real estate. Their knowledge of their domain combined with the approach and skills we brought in from the digital realm, led to a large and tangible impact on sales metrics.
3. DON’T be paralysed by your lack of digital experience
You do not need to know the digital space deeply to move forward. Digital platforms are impacting so many areas of business right now that even digital experts know only a fraction of what there is to know.
The best way to learn is by doing. Pick a goal that is important to your business – maybe a customer segment that you have not been able to crack – and experiment with using the digital medium to drive awareness or sales.
Kids who grew up in the era of YouTube and blogs are used to being lifelong students and figuring out things as they go along. You must emulate their example. The sooner you get going on a project, the more you will focus your learning on things that matter, and the faster you will advance your digital IQ.
Now, for the Dos.
1. DO fall in love with learning about digital
There are some basic principles of the digital world, not just technologies and platforms, but also business practices and implications for company culture that are important for you and your senior team to get up to speed on. From there, take your learning where your curiosity
and business needs take you.
There are a number of sources of this information. As an example, the well-known VC firm Andreessen Horowitz has a number of excellent videos on its website on a large number of digital topics. Similarly, the Indiginus blog has a number of articles that are focused specifically on a non-technical business audience.
If you approach the digital space with enthusiasm and humility, you may surprise yourself by how much you enjoy exploring it. But if you approach it with fear and the assumption that these new tricks are beyond you – well, you will prove yourself right.
2. DO trust your business knowledge to drive your digital priorities
Yes, digital is a revolution, but it hasn’t fundamentally changed what business is about—delivering value for your customers. Nobody knows your customer needs better than you. Let your value proposition and priorities drive your digital activities, rather than letting digital experts set the agenda.
Is driving top line growth a more immediate need, or greater operational efficiency? Within either, which problem or opportunity – and related metric – is important to tackle? Pick a single business priority that really matters, and focus on that as an experiment or pilot project to evolve your digital strategy, execution and learning.
3. DO work on a holistic digital strategy
In parallel with pilot or experimental projects, you also need to build a holistic digital strategy. Otherwise you will end up with a series of piecemeal projects, without clear direction on which digital skills and assets you should invest in for the long term.
As an example, while tactically improving the digital customer acquisition funnel for Healthspring, which runs primary care clinics, our team at Indiginus also worked on a marketing strategy that identified segments to be targeted, the buying journeys of those segments, and marketing hypotheses for validation.
While on one hand the tactical work led to immediate outcomes that impacted the business and served as encouragement for the teams involved, our strategic work laid the foundation for driving longer term marketing priorities.