An effective digital strategy is a crucial part of a successful business; you need to know where they are going or how they are going to get there. However, when it comes to digital, it’s surprising how many online businesses don’t have a strategy or goals in place.
Why is a digital strategy important?
If you ask most business owners what they want to get out of their website, they usually answer that they want to sell more. It might be that they want to sell more physical things or more of the services they offer or it might be brand-based etc. but they want to sell more…
However, most businesses don’t have unlimited resources and they might want to sell more of one thing than another. So, that’s why businesses need a strategy. An effective digital strategy helps successfully allocate effort and resources to best achieve business goals.
To help shape your strategy, start by asking a series of simple questions such as:
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- Would you rather sell 1 x £10,000 widget or 10 x £1,000 widgets?
- When you sell a widget can you cross-sell additional widgets?
- What’s the lifetime value of an individual widget?
- Which widgets have a clear market advantage?
- What’s the online competition for your widgets?
Once you begin to unpack the real commercial value of your products and services, you can then create a strategy and allocate resources. An effective digital strategy will not only drive business sales, but it can also change business direction.
Below is an example of how we helped one of our clients to plan and develop a digital strategy, define business goals and KPIs and the outcomes.
How to develop a digital strategy
Search Engine Optimisation in the finance sector is tough, particularly in the insurance market. Online aggregators with big budgets have reshaped the marketplace leaving traditional insurance brokers fighting for their livelihood. Working with an established broker we faced this exact David vs Goliath situation and to survive we needed an effective digital strategy.
We started by looking at insurance products and market opportunities and allocated resources based on the following knowledge:
- We analysed the data and researched the online competition
- We knew that our client was great at placing bespoke business packages
- We knew our client earned a significant margin on business packages
- We knew there was plenty of potential for cross-selling (from property to van)
- We knew that small businesses can grow into big businesses
Defining the North Star Goal
The next step was to define the North Star Goal which is a concept that came out of the entrepreneurial culture of Silicon Valley and has helped many start-ups become household names.
The North Star Goal is your main goal and everything you do should help guide you towards it. So, in this case, the North Star was to become recognised as the ‘go-to’ broker for small business insurance within 18 months.
Defining business goals
To help you progress towards your North Star you also need shorter-term goals. Here we set shorter-term goals of increasing small business insurance quotes and conversions by 40% by the end of Q3.
Setting SMART goals is essential so always make sure your goals are:
- Specific What are you trying to achieve and why?
- Measurable How will you know you have succeeded?
- Attainable Are your goals realistic given the resources?
- Relevant Are your goals worthwhile for your business?
- Time-Bound What are your deadlines and start points?
Defining Key Performance Indicators
Once you have the North Star Goal and shorter-term business goals defined the next step is to define Key Performance Indicators. KPIs are a marketing measure and their primary purpose is to provide guidance.
When selecting effective KPIs don’t use more than five or six as it will make it difficult to interpret the data. Remember that KPIs are all about measuring resources and progress, which means they can be turned-on, turned-up, turned-down and turned-off.
Turning KPIs on and off:
If your KPI is to decrease your Bounce Rate by 5% in Q1, once you have achieved the desired result you can stop working on Bounce Rate and focus on another KPI such as increasing Dwell Time.
Turning KPIs up and down:
If a KPI is to increase the Open Rate of your email campaign by 10% in Q1, but it soon becomes apparent the additional resource isn’t translating into conversions, you can turn down the volume on this KPI and turn-up the volume elsewhere.
Choosing Key Performance Indicators
With a clear strategy in place and an incisive understanding of opportunities, we decided on the following KPIs to help achieve a 40% increase in conversions by the end of Q3:
- 10% increase CTR in Search Results by reworking metadata
- Build 40 high-quality targeted links via content outreach
- Increase keyword footprint vis 6 product pages 3 guide pages and 3 case studies
- 10% increase in conversions via pushing get quote and newsletter sign-up
- 5% decrease Bounce Rate via UX and content review of key pages
- 25% increase PPC ROAS by improving quality score via landing pages
- 50% increase LinkedIn followers via Sponsored Content/ Sponsored InMail
The results of an effective digital strategy
Small business insurance quotes (and brand mentions) massively increased and by the end of Q3, all the targets had been exceeded. Not only had quotes increased geometrically but conversion rates had increased whereas conversion rates for other insurance products had fallen.
Small business insurance meant plenty of opportunities for cross-selling, lifetime product value was high, customer loyalty strong and our client was close to achieving their North Star.
The working example shows how an effective digital strategy can provide focus and quickly lead to targets being met and profits being made.