Every aspect of life has a strategy attached to it. Regardless of the task, when deciding to accomplish something, we come up with a plan. Sales calls are broken down in the car on the way to the meeting, videos are storyboarded, websites are mapped, movie scripts have a treatment, novels an outline. Most people practice pickup lines in the mirror before trying to get a date. Knowing this, why do so many companies operate digital marketing campaigns without a strategy?
A digital strategy is a blueprint for an organization's digital real estate. Anywhere a company is represented in the digital space, whether its in video, graphic design, web design, or any other form, even just your logo appearing on a webpage, it must be part of an overall plan. Because of the fast paced nature of digital media, many companies simply execute random aspects of a digital strategy without an objective in mind. This is akin to performing surgery without a diagnosis.
Of course, so much of this digital realm is brand new, and it is completely understandable that many companies have lagged behind. The explosive growth of social media, mobile technology, and the internet itself has resulted in a constantly changing landscape. Marketing strategies have gone from print advertising, television and radio spots, and other forms of static media to text based fundraising campaigns, dedicated YouTube channels, Facebook and Twitter strategies, mobile app development and hundreds of other digital marketing opportunities.
Companies have added these new marketing techniques piecemeal, as their popular has grown. It started with a web presence, expanded into social media accounts, including an explosion of video marketing on YouTube and Vimeo style sites, and progressed on to mobile apps so people can carry your marketing around in their pockets. By starting with the how, and not focusing on the why, an enormous amount of capital and energy is expended on utilizing tools with no end game in site.
All digital marketing must begin and end with a goal. What is the purpose of these tactics? What do I want my website, social media accounts, and online advertising to do for me? Am I educating consumers? Driving sales? Raising awareness? Publicizing a portfolio of work? No matter what the goal is, the strategy must be built around it.
Once we have a purpose, the digital strategy can begin to take shape. Instead of having a website and then adding a Facebook page two years later and a new marketing video five years later, take a look at the full spectrum of your digital presence. Ensure that your website is optimized to integrate social media and video. Use social media, blogs, video pages, and other sites to create strong back linking and link sharing relationships, to drive your site's visibility and SEO. If you're looking for qualified sales leads, drive traffic to your site and have a clear call to action on the front page, encouraging potential customers to become actual customers. The tactics are limitless, the methods incredibly varied, but none of them will work without solid architecture to build on.
The ever changing world of digital media is at once a scary and beautiful place. There are so many opportunities and different ways to engage and interact with people, it can seem overwhelming. However with the proper strategy in place, harnessing these tools and using them to our advantage is not only easy, but an incredibly effective way to drive businesses and organizations forward.