Setting your Digital Strategy for 2019

The calendar has turned and another year has begun. What are you most excited about? What gives you the biggest pause? How will you spend your time? What are your goals, your resolutions, your ambitions? Do you expect to reach new heights and try new things? Or are you anticipating 2019 will look a lot like 2018? What is your digital strategy?

These same questions can – and should – be asked about your digital strategy. A plan of attack for how your website, social media, and online presence will unfold is crucial if you’re going to reach your goals. Without a plan, you’ll be a ship without a rudder in an increasingly stormy sea. Competition is fierce. Attention spans are short. Formulating a plan and then executing it is critical to success.

Your Digital Strategy for the Year Starts with One Step

The first order of business when it comes to your 2019 digital plan is to determine from where you are starting. While it can be tempting to think about all the amazing things you want to do, it’s more important to take stock of where you are. To extend our sailing metaphor from earlier: there’s no way for your compass and map to be of any help if you don’t have your starting position properly marked.

When it comes to your website, the starting point comes in the form of your website health and your website presence:

Website health

We highly recommend regular audits for websites. For example, a code audit helps discover any security vulnerabilities or areas of poor performance that need to be addressed. By performing a code audit you can learn – at a technical level – the present state of your most important digital asset. There are also audits available for your content strategy, user/visitor experience, security and more. We recommend regularly examining the health and wellness of your website.

Website presence

This is how the market feels about their online experience when it comes to your brand. The best way to assess this is to list out how, where, and why people find your website in the first place. Are you paying for advertisements to get new traffic? Blogging regularly? Introducing new products through social media in an effort to gain new customers? Why are people finding your website and what are they doing when they get there?

Charting a Path for 2019

Now that you have an idea of your starting point, it’s time to talk about those aforementioned goals. Shoot for the stars! Do you want to increase traffic? Attract a new type of visitor? Increase repeat business for your eCommerce site? Make your content more viral?

Detailing these goals is the endpoint of our map and lets us know where we are trying to go. WIll you achieve all of your goals? Probably not. The goals may change, priorities may shift, and your strategy may take a turn. But as Dwight Eisenhower once said, “Plans are worthless but planning is indispensable.” By getting your goals out and on paper, you are bringing clarity to the upcoming year and the direction you intend to go. Use real metrics and base those numbers on the data you got from the first step.

Connecting the Dots

If we have our starting point, and we have the place where we want to end up, all that is left is the connection between the two. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. The good news is that an annual plan means you’ll have time to make progress and ultimately reach new heights. There certainly won’t be time to waste along the way, but you should take comfort in the fact that incremental progress each day, each week, each month adds up to monumental results over time.

As you try to connect your status quo with where you want to go, go ahead and answer the following questions:

  • Do we have the expertise to accomplish these goals? Deciding you want to increase your online sales by 20% is a worthwhile goal, but do you have a clue how to do that? The answer is likely a blend of optimizing traffic, conversions and repeat customer engagement. Do you know how to do all that?
  • Do we have the experience to accomplish these goals? Even if you have the expertise, it is critical to have experience on your side as well. Whether through a third-party, a mentor, or a new hire we recommend having someone on your team that has been down this path before and can help you avoid the unnecessary pitfalls and bottlenecks that are sure to arise.
  • Do we have the capacity to do what is necessary? Far too often the best laid plans are ruined because the proverbial cart gets put ahead of the horse. For example, if your goal is to double website traffic, do you have the hosting infrastructure necessary to support all of those new visitors? If you want to increase sales of your product, do you have access to enough inventory to fill those orders? Make sure that your business has the ability to stay at least one step ahead of the goals you have set.
  • Do we have the resources to support these initiatives? Resources most often means money or people. Capital to fund inventory purchases or pay the bills that keep the business running. It can also mean people who are every bit as important to reaching your digital goals. Having buy-in and, to some degree, enthusiasm from your team goes a long way in making sure you stay on track when the going gets tough. We recommend communicating with your team not just about plans but also about progress as a way to keep them engaged.

Bringing it All Together for Your Best Year Yet

When you take a step back, building your digital strategy isn’t complicated. You figure out where you are starting, decide where you want to go, and formulate a plan on how to get there. If your company is struggling to prepare for 2019 it’s not too late. We have both the experience and the expertise to serve as your navigator in the online space. From strategic planning to technical execution, we’d be proud to help make 2019 your best year yet. Start a conversation by contacting us here.

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