There is no doubt that digital has shaped the way we live. While this digital landscape continues to provide boundless opportunities, it also brings oversaturation of numerous markets – largely in content-related fields such as publishing, marketing and social media.
To compete in an oversaturated market, you need a strong, bulletproof digital strategy. Engaging with your customer-base, potential or current, is about taking the time to invest in understanding them, so you can strategize around their selective actions. What made one consumer get to the end of the buyer's journey just to close out of the cart on your e-commerce site? Pinpointing areas such as this will help identify where you may be faltering, and where the customer feels a bit left down. In 2018, 59 percent of consumers said tailored engagement based on their previous interactions with a business were key contributors to winning their business.
Translating this ideology into your 2019 business plan doesn’t have to be complex, but it will take time to plan and execute. Strategy doesn't come from throwing money at things and hoping they work out – it comes from collaboration with a team dedicated to the same end goal as you: customer satisfaction that drives growth.
Here are three ways to improve your digital planning during Q1.
1. Optimize for mobile
With newzoo reporting that there are nearly 3.3 billion smartphone users worldwide, a smart place to start your digital planning is mobile optimization. This may seem obvious, but you'd be surprised how many websites aren’t entirely optimized for mobile. Whether it be the checkout cart or the entire display showing as a desktop browser (read: microscopic and illegible) on the five-inch screen of a smartphone, both are everyday examples of actions that drive customers away from doing business with you.
This dampers their experience — who wants to click "check out" 10 times in a row only for nothing to happen while trying to make an on-the-go purchase via smartphone? While a percentage of users will take to their computers to finalize their purchase, you shouldn't settle for lost sales due to the lack of optimization. 2018 was the year of personalization and customer-centric approaches in the marketing world, and 2019 will elevate these practices. Ensuring the experience you provide isn’t dampened whether someone interacts via desktop or mobile should be step one.
Conduct a website analysis to ensure your message is still accurate and effective, and also uncover problem areas your site may be experiencing on certain devices or browsers. Additionally, video should be a part of your plan, regardless of your industry or market. Videos drive engagement and are time efficient when distributed in easily accessible ways. Any video with audio should be uploaded with subtitles for those that are unable to audibly tune in, yet still want the key takeaways from the content within.
While ensuring your website loads in a mobile format when visited on an Android or iPhone will create the look and feel of a business that has a focus and is driven with purpose and an eye for the customers wants and needs; this is just the start. Now it’s time to dive inward and dissect.
2. Utilize all data sources
If you're already tracking your website’s analytics via Google Analytics or using a specific company to track your engagements, backlinks and site actions, then you're off to a good start. If not, now is the time to rev up your research and invest in tracking your various metrics.
When it comes to data, there's much more to be analyzed beyond your main website. Take social media, for example. More than likely, your business has a presence on a few social platforms. You may even use a social media management tool to plan out your social content and browse through your feeds.
These social tools aren’t here to simplify the streamlining process and to establish consistent posting patterns – though these are clear benefits. They also serve as data mines into the backend of your social profiles on these various channels.
With these tools, you can search who you're reaching on which platform, the demographics they make up, and research conversations taking place around your brand, or the keywords you hope to associate your brand with.
3. Be lean, but intentional
Too often, businesses think to gain traction and elevate brand awareness, they must exist on every platform known to consumers, whether it's pertinent to their business plan or not. While the idea at its core isn't illogical, it simply won't grant you results.
Instead of burning out your social media strategist, work smarter. Utilize the data you’ve gathered to make educated decisions on where you need to be – where your customers are engaging.
Starting out with a lean and intentional game plan will allow you to remain consistent and goal-oriented. You’ll have the bandwidth on deck to plan out and engage with others on the various platforms you've selected to start your brand-building off of, and will be collecting the data needed to make pivots where need be.
If you're not utilizing disappearing videos because you're not on Instagram, yet 75 percent of your target market spends three to five hours a day engaging with others on the platform, you're losing out on quality leads brought on by simply connecting to them in their environment.
It may take time to collect data that guides your business decisions from the jump, but this will put you in great standing to look back after quarter one of the new year and evaluate what worked and what needs to be adjusted. As long as your message is consistent and posted with known intent, your business will be in good shape.
To grow in business, you must think, plan and act strategically. Focus on the fundamentals when you’re building out your digital plan for the new year and recognize that in 2019, it's not digital perception that wins; it's the experience you carefully craft online or in store.