If you don’t have a plan, it is akin to planning to fail. This is why your business needs the services of a digital strategy consultant. As a consultant, you must have that special “digital plan” that you can present to the modern business field has become very important to businesses.

The complexity of the modern digital space requires special skills and experience if a brand is to be made accessible to customers across all of their digital enabled devices and channels. Digital strategy consulting also involves much more than just making a brand accessible to consumers on their mobile digital devices. It also involves data analytics to help you make sense out of your big data.

The management team of the business can make data-influenced decisions. Whoever has the data can have the market. Acting on the decisions derived from data can help a business stay ahead of the competition.

Factors a digital strategy consultant must include in a good digital strategy

​ For efficiency, a business must have a clearly defined digital strategy. Only a qualified consultant for digital strategy can help craft this plan.

1. Creating a sound digital development strategy

This involves the creation of the best digital strategy for a business so that it can connect with its customers in a much better way. It requires a lot of expertise and experience spanning years in helping business develop and “executable” digital strategy that can offer the best business-to-customer approach.

This sometimes means creating new online avenues in different platforms or identifying new ways in which businesses can connect with their consumers. Whatever business you might be in – health services, FMCG, pharmaceuticals, entertainment, training and so on, digital strategy consulting is required to create better ways to reach customers across their digital devices.

The first, and the most important thing in the establishment of a digital marketing strategy creation is to define a framework. It is in this framework that the acquisition channels will be built. What this means is that whether a business uses Facebook, Google, Bing or any other channel to market their brand, a strategy can be created to maximize traffic from those channels.

But creating strategy for approach and acquisition is not all there is to it. There is need for much more. For example, a digital strategist will also create ways in which customers can be retained. This is mostly by using email, social and other traditional means that can be integrated into the CRM. The strategist will then help impart the skills for running this digital strategy in the company team.

Selecting the right type of media mix to send the message home is very important. A digital strategist does this by analyzing data gathered over time, to know the best mix of social media, mobile, sites and CRM can be used to reach the customers with the brand message.

One of the most important things that digital strategy consulting can help you with is in testing the digital strategy/plan before it is fully rolled out. That way, you do not run the risk of having a plan that is so sound and well established only to have it go bad on you at the end of the hype.

Training the members of staff is very important because it ensures that when he plan is fully rolled out, it will continue even when the digital strategy consultant is not there. The members of the marketing, technology and sales teams must be trained on how the systems work, how data analysis works and on the importance of data. That way, the company only makes data-derived decisions.

2. Identifying the key digital channels

Digital strategy means keeping the brand alive across all the digital channels that the customers use. However, a plan can go down in disarray when the strategy consultant does not identify the key channels that the customers use more often.

Depending on the nature of the business that an organization is involved in, there are certain favorite channels that resonate better than others with the customers. In this case, the digital consultant would need to weed out the channels that the organization does not need.

The company resources in money and time would be better spent on the channels most used by the customers. It is easy to understand this. For example, a fashion business that is not capitalizing on Instagram and Pinterest could be missing awesome traffic with high conversion rates. On the same note, it would be hard to find any worthwhile traffic for the over 50 demographic using Snapchat.

Once you have identified the key avenues that your customers use, give them everything you have got. Weeding out the channels that you do not need helps you to seek more targeted traffic. You will spend your company money on things that matter. You will be able to reach your customers in a more efficient way and you can devote your financial resources to the channels that are most effective.

In the early stages of setting out the digital strategy plan, you will need to test different avenues to identify what works. This calls for data gathering and analysis, which can tell you the channels that customers use to find you.

While digital marketing is all about embracing a multi-channel, it is important that you only embrace the channels that work and discard those that do not. Facebook, email, instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Twitter and others are some of the channels that customers use to interact with a brand.

3. Creating goals and timelines

If it does not have goals then it is either not a good plan, or there is no plan at all. A good strategy consultant should always know what they aim to achieve with the deployment of the digital plan. After all, this is what the company CEO will want to know, not the nitty-gritty.

You need to lay down all the goals that you are looking o achieve with your plan. For example, it could be increasing the email outreach by a certain percentage. It could also be increasing the social media shares with a certain number. Maybe you are aiming to reach 100K subscribers on YouTube, or to get 200 shares on Facebook and Instagram daily. Whatever your goal is, it needs to go in the list. That way, you can pick the most achievable goals and categorize them in the order of priority. These will be your compass throughout the deployment of your digital strategy plan.

Because of the availability of multi-channels for marketing, there is a lot of over-information and overuse of these channels. The temptation is there to just deploy the strategy and get it to work, but the truth is that you may not achieve much if you do not have goals. ‘

Once you have identified the best channel that will work for your business, you need to create a timeline for the same so that you can be working within the bounds of time. For example, if you require to set up a blog with a lot of content, you need to ensure that the content is published in good time, so that the search engines can index it to start ranking. For example, an actionable plan would involve something like publishing an article a day for 30 days. Then the following month would be an outreach month, and so on.

Since you will be using different channels to reach different demographics, it is very important that all the channels have their channel-specific goals. For each of the channels, the goals will be time-bound. At first, this will be a lot of work, but working within the confines of a calendar ensures that goals are met on time.

Some of the things that you should include in the goals include the format of the content to be deployed across different channels. You also need to define the milestones that you need to cover within a given time, the expected results and so on. They say the devil is in the details and no one knows the truth of this saying better than a digital strategy consulting expert.

4. Duties and responsibilities

Many resources forget to mention this very important factor. However, the digital strategy consulting team will not be in place forever, that is, unless it is an in-house team. Rather, they will deploy the digital strategy and once they establish its soundness, they will leave the company’s tech and marketing teams to run it.

Thus, before the deployment of the strategy, we all need to be clear who is doing what and when they will be doing it. The sharing of responsibilities is a factor that contributes a lot to the success of your strategy. By working with a large team with shared responsibilities, it will be easy to hand over the strategy to them, in future.

5. The budget consideration

Digital transition for any business needs money. No matter what a good plan for digital strategy you have, you will never be able to deploy it without enough money. You will need to invest in premium software as well as hardware. While the end goal of digital consultation is to help your business save money, you will have to spend money first before you can get there.

Before you can create a marketing budget, you need to have the plan in place. It is only after the digital strategy is in place that you can know how much it is going to cost. The good thing is that most of the hardware that you need for this job is upgradeable, so you do not have to replace too often.

The software that you invest in should be scalable. The reason for employing digital strategy consulting is so that your business can grow. Scalable systems such as software for enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management and marketing automation systems will grow with the business so that you do not have to invest in new systems once your traffic grows.

As you invest more in digital solutions for your business, you need to invest in security. Customers need to be assured that the data they will share with your business on different digital points is secure. Actually, you may even have to set aside an extra budget for data security.

The bigger your digital plan is, the bigger the budget that you will need. However, you can always trim the plan a bit to lower the budget. Start by investing in what works, what can help you achieve short-term goals. With time, you can deploy the remaining tenets of your digital strategy.

6. Deploying

This is what all the preparation work, the identification of the channels that your customers use most, the defining of goals and timelines in which to achieve them, was leading to.

But deployment will not just happen. There are things that your expert for digital strategy consulting needs. One of them is money. All the items need money before they can be deployed. If there are not enough resources to deploy every part of the plan at this time, it is definitely ok to trim some of the things down, save them for later and deploy the big three priorities first.

Once everything is set, it is all systems go! This is also the time to watch everything keenly so that you can fine-tune the plan. Even though you tested

7. Monitoring and assessing the results

In the earliest stage of planning, you have already outlined the results that you expect to achieve with your digital strategy. After deployment, you are going to want to gauge the results. This is going to give you very important intelligence. You will know where you should invest more resources, what is not working well and sometimes, even what you should discard before spending too much.

The good thing is that premium business software has its in-built analytics system. Thus, getting the information that you need is easy, and the sooner you can access this data the better. It will help you make the best data-informed decisions.

Every system has its analytic tools. For example, for websites and blogs, you may use tools such as Google Analytics, to see how different resources on your website are behaving.

Facebook Insights is made for Facebook marketing and there are many others for different tools. With time, these tools have been so simplified such that the data they give is in consumable form, even for people who are not tech-savvy.

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Lorenzo Gutierrez
Lorenzo Gutierrez MBA is a Digital Marketing Consultant and is a certified Google Partner. He helps small businesses and corporations grow their revenue online. He does this by mixing passion, innovation, & expertise.