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.
Reviewing and considering a client's Digital Ecosystem is one of the first steps when we partner with clients (you can read more about How We Partner on this site). Why? We think it is the best way to get an overview of exactly what you need to do in the digital space.
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. They will also help you validate what to use, how to use it and when. Why? Because you know what the expected outcomes are.
Pick a couple of objectives to start with - e.g. grow online product sales by 5%, or take two product lines to the international market and achieve $x - then start to consider how each potential element of your Ecosystem could be used to achieve those goals. Determine which elements are going to be the most significant in your search for success.
Mapping this out will be the first steps in fleshing out your Digital Strategy
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.
Get started: Read 'Is my website content working' and download your content audit sheet.
With your content sorted, you’re now ready to put your anchor down – your web element
Your web presence (website and/or internal intranet) is what anchors 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 sure your content looks good no matter what device it is viewed on. 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.
Get started: Read 'Proving return on investment with a digital measurement model'.
Reach more potential customers - Social Media
Social Media provides essential channels that 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 using them regularly. 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?
Get found - 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.
Get started: Read 'The basics of retargeting (to drive sales)'.
...and don't get overwhelmed
We know that getting really honest about your businesses' goals, current position and the work ahead 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.
If the job is too daunting, or your ecosystem or technology needs are complex, we do recommend seeking an outside opinion.
What to look for,
Services - a retailing business will have different needs to a government organisation looking to better engage their staff, make sure you're specific about your goals and what you're looking for.
Trust - It's hard to pin down, but there needs to be a good cultural fit between you and any agency you work with. Go with your gut.
- Track record - What types of work has your preferred agency done in the past, and do they share their achievements through case studies?
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- UPDATE MARCH 2019 -
Guess what? Digital trends change, but this is still one of our most read articles. Why? Because the Digital Ecosystem is still your foundation for digital success.
But - just like your business - the ecosystem needs to evolve. That's why we've updated our model.
Go ahead, use the link below to access your copy today.