How do you know what digital platforms or online marketing tools you need in your business? How do they integrate, and if you have one digital aspect, do you need another? What about Social Media? Where does that fit?
We’ve got a really simple and effective framework tool we want to introduce to you, and encourage you to use -The Digital Ecosystem.
Your Digital Ecosystem is unique to your business. It’s the footprint or scaffolding to help you make a progressive, dynamic framework that will steer you towards achieving digital objectives, and those magic numbers on the bottom line.
So here’s where to start, how to look at the key facets, and what else you might need to consider.
The starting blocks – your Digital Strategy.
Like any good thing in business or life, have goals – some objectives that you can measure your success against. These will guide the purpose of your other Digital Ecosystem Elements. It will also help you validate what to use, how to use and when. Why? Because you know what the expected outcomes are.
Pick a couple of Digital Strategy Objectives to start with – e.g. grow online product sales by 5%, or take two product lines to the international market and achieve a nominated revenue.
The Most Essential Element – Content.
Content is what you need right across your entire Digital Ecosystem. Think of it as the fuel you need to make every digital element work. It drives engagement, leads, conversions and behaviours. It is what stops your audience, engages and leads them to think and behave differently as a result.
Think about keywords that explain your product or service – that people might search for through a search engine – and focus on those right throughout your content.
Continually create and publish enriched content – use photos, make videos, write blogs that are all on-brand and demonstrate the benefit of your product or service right throughout your target customers’ lifestyle.
With your content, you’re now ready to put your anchor down – your web element.
Your web presence (website or internal intranet) is what anchor’s your digital activities. It is the digital element that houses your content, will receive and convert your leads, it will capture information and intelligence on your traffic and customers, and enable you to publish information or messages – allowing you to be smarter through more targeted content and initiatives.
Consider all the ecosystem elements attached to Web, and how you can use them to help drive you towards your objectives. Ensure that your are clear about what content should be published in each area.
One of the most essential things you need to do is make your website responsive. That means that your layout adapts its user experience according to the device they are viewing your web through. This will improve your ranking on search engines and maximise today’s mobile consumer.
If you have bespoke business platforms, such as field sales applications, responsive and integrated web elements will also improve the efficiency of your mobile workforce as they can process orders and invoicing on the go – driving those magic numbers on the bottom line.
Make sure you sign your website up to Google Analytics so you can analyse the behaviour of your audience and customers – tweaking your content generation according to the intelligence your Google Analytics provides.
Connect your email marketing campaign application or software to your web through shop or content links, embedded blogs and videos – that will help show you how customers are responding to and funnelling through your sales channels.
Social Media provides essential channels your business needs to assist you to publish your content and engage with your customers – new or existing, internal or external. The nature of your business will help you determine what social media channels you should actively engage with, and the nature of messages you should publish.
Consider these carefully, and commit to regularly using. Use them as portals to drive your audience back to your website to complete the action you’re asking of them or, if you are selling products, think about how they can complete that transaction there and then on that social channel. Facebook and Instagram have commerce apps you can actually integrate.
Research how your customer segments use the various social media channels in their daily life and consumption cycle – this will really help you determine priorities, content and execution. There are lots of great online resources such as HubSpot, Expanded Ramblings or Statista that you can glean this sort of current information from, for free.
Also ensure that your Social Media Channels are connected to your web anchor, and vice-versa.
You can integrate fantastic applications, such as Hootsuite, to manage all your Social Media channels, campaigns and promotions in one place. That way, you’ll have fantastic analytics at your fingertips.
Ok, so now you’ve got your content, your web anchor and social media channels – how do people find you?! And then, once they’ve found you, how do you make sure you stay top of mind?
Let’s look at Search.
Search Engine algorithms determine their result rankings through all sorts of components such as popularity (engagement, views, trending, time spent on pages etc), the words within your content that match the keywords the viewer has typed (Search Engine Optimisation), among other calculations.
You can help influence your ranking by purchasing advertising such as Google Ad Words – that will display your information when relevant keywords are searched for, as well as researching how popular various keyword combinations are through tools such as key-word spy.
Retargetting through through the Google Display Network or via a platform like AdRoll is another incredibly popular tool within the Search element you should consider. It works via a little piece of code inside your website whereby, when a person visits your website and then leaves, but visits an affiliated Google Display Network or AdRoll website, your display ad will appear – re-engaging that person and encouraging them to reconsider your product/service/promotion again. You can swap out your display campaign regularly to suit your current activities.
It can be overwhelming, but the potential is huge. Start with one element and, in no time, you’ll be on the path to having an integrated, outcomes focussed Digital Ecosystem that’s unique to your business.