Making any digital project a success requires careful planning, a clear vision and expert support.
But many companies still jump straight into building something without considering the wider context of what they’re doing. And then wonder why a project has become a black hole for time, effort and budget.
In this blog we give you an overview of the 5 areas you need to master to make your next project a digital success.
1. Growth strategy
Your first step, before you even consider any of the technical work, is to get absolute clarity on what you want to achieve and the steps that you need to take to get there.
Without a strong growth strategy you will waste a lot of time, effort, and money chasing things that simply don’t suit your business.
It’s great to have huge ambitions and exciting plans, but you need to know what actually needs to happen and be achieved to get there.
If done right, it will set out a blueprint for your entire business journey and create a strong backbone for all of your future work.
You can create your own growth strategy using the 5 following steps:
Step 1 – Start by actually starting
This can be the most daunting part, when you’re faced with a blank page and you need to get ideas down. But the only way to start is by actually starting.
Kick off by outlining in simple terms the areas of your business that you want to grow, and what that growth looks like.
What do you want to be famous for? What do you do differently? What do you do better than anyone else?
Answering these questions will give you a great starting point for then building your business vision.
Step 2 – Clearly define your vision of digital success
Once you’ve mapped out all your ideas, it’s time to pull it them together into a clearly defined vision.
This vision should be both specific and measurable. “To be the best in our industry” is neither. You should know exactly when your vision has been achieved. “To build 10,000 houses by the end of 2025” or “To get everyone in the UK online by 2012” (the actual vision for the UK Government’s Digital Inclusion Initiative) are great visions.
Don’t forget – once you know it, share it.
Make sure your whole team understand your dream and get a say in shaping it. It’s important that they’re not only aware of your plans for the future of the company, but that they support it, too.
Step 3 – Create three or five goals to support that vision
For each goal, you need to discover the smallest possible steps to achieving them.
Work from the bottom up, lay the foundations and you’ll create stable success.
This also enables you to work out how best to spend your money and where to invest your time. Whereas before you may have pumped a lot of funds into bettering one aspect of your vision, this way you can work out what needs the most attention and budget allocation.
Step 4 – Get to work
It’s simple, but effective. Once you’ve discovered your goals, set out to deliver them.
Don’t be afraid to start slowly, breaking your goals down into manageable tasks. The first step can be as simple as sending an email.
Figure out what the next small steps are that you can take, and then repeat. You’ll soon start to see progress as you tick off your to-do list and work towards your vision.
Step 5 – Maintain focus
Importantly, think of a strategy as a journey. You don’t reach your destination immediately, however what you should see straight away is that you’re heading in the right direction.
So, if you’ve set your goals correctly and you begin to take small steps to achieve those, you’ll very quickly see your growth journey materialise.
Design is about making sure your digital product looks the part and helps your customers to do exactly what you want them to.
Aim to build a flawless visual language, which speaks to your audience in the best way. If people aren’t happy navigating your website, portal, or app you won’t get results – no matter how good your service offering is.
There is no loyalty online, so a well designed product is extremely important. If something is difficult or confusing to use, your customers will simply leave and likely not return. They may even warn others about your complicated set-up, damaging your brand’s reputation and making it harder to grow your business.
Design, like your overall growth strategy, will serve as the master plan to guide your digital creation.
Development is all about building your digital product in the most productive, valuable and efficient way.
Building, optimising and maintaining your site is all part of the process. It includes web design, programming and publishing, as well as database management.
Bespoke software development is often the best route to pursue as you will get an end-product that is exclusively yours. You can also be sure that it will be secure, scalable, robust, and deliver the results required to fulfil your vision.
Ensure that any development work is guided first and foremost by the vision, not the technology.
Technology should work for you business, your business shouldn’t work for the tech. Keep the business results you need to deliver front of mind constantly and drive development work accordingly.
Without this clarity of direction you can waste considerable time, effort, and budget in development whilst creating enormous headaches for yourself in the long-run if things go off track.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is crucial for the long term success of any website or digital product, no matter what your objectives are.
More than 40% of revenue from a website is captured by organic traffic. Google also claim that more than 39% of online purchases are influenced by a relevant search.
Unlike paid advertising, SEO techniques provide a proven and longstanding return on investment (ROI). Even after an SEO campaign finishes, a well-optimised website will continue to deliver.
But you need to understand that SEO is a skill which requires specialist knowledge and involvement, as well as regular upkeep. It can’t be rushed or mastered overnight.
Unfortunately just “doing some SEO” will rarely deliver the digital success you need. Make sure you have the right expertise on hand to tackle both technical and on-page site optimisation so you can ensure you’re site is viewed favourably and ranked accordingly by search engines.
To keep improving, you need to accurately measure performance against your goals. Analytics can help you identify key trends and opportunities to fuel growth and influence your digital strategy.
Understanding how customers engage with your content, service or products can give you valuable insight. If you’re on the right track, it will also provide welcome reassurance that you’re following the right tactics.
Increased knowledge of what drives performance can be used to direct campaigns and fully equip you to fine-tune future performance both on and offline.
It’s not all about big data.
Start with reliable data, presented in a way that you can easily interpret. It can be difficult to know where to start if you’re not an expert, but with the right analytics tools and support, it can be a game changer for your business.
Final thoughts on digital success
Of course, there’s a lot more to consider when it comes to embarking on a digital journey like we’ve discussed above but the insights we’ve shared will act as a great place to start when it comes delivering digital success.
If you’re keen to discuss your own digital projects or need an external, expert view on what you’re already working on we’d love to talk. Get in touch.