What is an Effective Digital Communication Strategy?
How to know if your digital strategy works
A digital communication strategy is a method designed for the web. It is the implementation of a set of communication actions to achieve the objectives set through digital and online tools.
Unlike print communication, which uses tools such as brochures or flyers, digital communication uses different devices such as the creation of a website, the use of social networks, SEO, content marketing, etc.
However, it is not enough to pick a few random devices here and there to build an effective communication strategy. No. It needs to be thought carefully upfront and you need to do a full analysis of your business and prepare a monitoring and evaluation plan.
This will allow you to define precise objectives and a method adapted to the general strategy of your company. There are general objectives such as: making yourself known, generating traffic, retaining or converting target audience.
On the other hand, creating a Twitter page or rethinking your website does not correspond to a digital communication strategy. These actions only make sense, and only if they were part of a well-thought-out plan.
The multi-channel and cross-channel association for its digital strategy
Among the fundamental aspects of a good digital communication strategy, we have: cross-channel and multi-channel. Indeed, it is necessary to disseminate your key messages through several channels so that they have sufficient visibility to be impactful.
Once your message is ready and your target audience has been identified, you can send it via:
- a blog post,
- a video,
- or even through your newsletter.
By combining several channels, you will have a better chance of reaching your target audience and therefore have a positive return on the communication efforts made. But it is still necessary that these different communication methods work well together.
This is where the cross-channel strategy comes in. By following your target audience through your different communication channels and delivering your message to them tailored to these different channels, they will be able to ally rather than compete with each other.
This will make it easier for you to attract your prospects, and they will be all the more satisfied because they can communicate effectively with you and discover you through any device.
Why is it important to implement a digital communication strategy?
Would you go to war without a reliable and sturdy weapon? Here, it's the same thing! You cannot go looking for a prospect without a constructed and relevant digital communication strategy!
A true thread of Arianne, she will help you stay focused and force you to align your actions with each other. You can refer to it, just like your team, to stay on course in the right direction.
However, keep in mind that these digital gadgets must satisfy specific communication goals established by your organization and be consistent with its positioning. To get off on the right foot and set goals that will guide you, I advise you to use the OKRs, we will explain everything to you in this article!
Of course, to achieve these goals, the right actions, well-thought tools, and resources are needed. All this requires a certain budget and determining which individuals, internal or external, will be in charge of the project.
By being able to correctly determine each of these points, you will ensure the success of your project and you will avoid the risks of dispersion or miscommunication. Obviously, don't forget to define the key monitoring indicators!
The steps in setting up a digital communication strategy
Step 1: Situation analysis
Any strategic approach begins with an analysis of the internal and external environment of the company. And this also applies to the implementation of a digital communication strategy!
Much like a doctor, the goal is to diagnose what is right and what is wrong. To achieve this, you need to be able to understand the business strategy and collect the available data about your industry.
It's a two-step job with:
- The internal phase: which aims to carry out an audit of the existing marketing strategy. You have to look at what has already been done, what the repercussions have been, how your image and your e-reputation are doing.
- The external phase: anything that is not directly related to your business but can have an impact on it. For example, you can perform a competitive benchmark to observe what are the best practices.
It is very likely that your competitors are indeed present on the web (but if they are not, it is a godsend for you).
Warning! Do not copy/paste your competitors' communication strategies. You can be inspired by it but above all, you have to stand out!
Step 2: Study your target carefully
The second key step in setting up your digital communication strategy is studying your target. Without the knowledge of your target, it is impossible to implement a strategy worthy of the name!
To build an effective communication strategy, it is necessary, imperative, to develop your buyer persona. A tool that looks rather simple but which will allow you to represent, in a fictitious way, your potential buyers with their characteristics.
Do you have to know who they are? Determine their demographic data, their social characteristics, etc… But also what are their needs and their motivations? For this, you can use the job-to-be-done method.
You will then be able to orient your digital communication strategy in the desired direction and adapt it to your audience, by selecting the appropriate social networks for example (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, etc.).
Your digital communication strategy is not supposed to address everyone, but a well-identified target. The goal is not to touch as many people as possible (big mistake) because talking to everyone is like not touching anyone.
Step 3: Set goals for your strategy
Your strategy needs clearly defined goals to work and not to go all the way. They must be aligned and carry the general objectives of your business. You don't have to overdo it, you have to be efficient and get to the point.
To help you, you can rely on the SMART method. This method makes it possible to identify the objectives best suited to your situation. To have an effective communication strategy, you have to measure the results at each stage of your project.
Your objectives must therefore be:
- Specific, communication objectives should be clearly defined,
- Measurable, to be able to follow and quantify your progress,
- Achievable, have the necessary resources,
- Relevant, or is your goal necessary?
- Temporarily defined, ie delimited in time.
This is an important phase of your strategy because your communication objectives will directly rub off on your actions to be implemented.
Today, it is essential to carry out a digital transformation for your business. This is a real opportunity to effectively reach your target market and increase your turnover. So think about it!
Step 4: Choose your communication levers
The mistake that should not be made is to think of the Internet as a medium. But this is not the case, it is a multitude of media. Among them, we find the so-called media:
- "Paid" is paid media, such as LinkedIn Ads, Google Ads, Facebook Ads, etc ...
- “Owned” corresponds to media owned by the company such as the website or social networks.
- "Earned" is equivalent to customer reviews that can be found on forums, reports, social networks, etc ... and that cannot be controlled.
Among the media, categories are outbound marketing and inbound marketing techniques. Outbound marketing can require a certain budget, while inbound marketing is much less expensive.
Thanks to relevant content, well-referenced and adapted to your target, you can easily attract new prospects without having to go looking for them. You will also improve your image while positioning yourself as an expert in your field.
Among these communication levers, we have:
LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok… these social media are great springboards for your strategy, as long as they are carefully selected.
You don't have to use them all. Just choose the ones that best suit your target by referring to your buyer persona who, if you've followed the previous steps, should already be ready for use!
You will also need to adapt your content to the different characteristics of each social network and its audiences. This is a lever that should not be overlooked! Indeed, you will be able to find ambassadors there, see influencers for your company!
Influencer marketing is on the rise!
Organic search and paid search
SEO is an essential aspect of your digital communication strategy. Internet users must be able to find you from the first page of their search engine. To have a terrific SEO, two ways to do it:
- Paid referencing or SEA (search engine advertising) is paid advertising on search engines. This is a keyword auction system, which allows you to position yourself in "promotion spaces" (example: display).
- Natural referencing or SEO (search engine optimization), brings together all the actions to improve your so-called “natural” or organic referencing on search engines. So you are going to have to work on your website optimization, a content strategy, and the authority of your website.
Organic reach and paid reach
Reach, or the reach in French, corresponds to the number of people that a publication will reach. Just like SEO or SEA, we have a profitable and natural part:
- Social media optimization (SMO) represents the actions to be carried out on social networks to create and unite a community around your company. The goal? Generate traffic and opportunities.
- Social media advertising (SMA) corresponds to advertising disseminated via social networks (Linkedin Ads, Twitter Ads, etc.). With SMA you will be able to increase your reach, reach a larger audience and even create retargeting campaigns!
E-mailing is still an interesting lever to exploit today. With a solid email address base, you could effectively distribute your content and develop lasting relationships with your customers and prospects.
You could then set up your newsletter, which would allow you to deliver interesting information to your network, but without spamming your recipients!
The idea is not to have written communication with a commercial objective, but rather to feed your customers and prospects with your content. For this, it is necessary to have a good CRM tool to classify your database and know at what level of maturity your recipients are.
Internet sites and blogs
Finally, websites, and more specifically blogs, will allow you to publish content, improve your SEO, and therefore generate traffic. Of course, your content must be useful in the eyes of Internet users to retain them.
You will then position yourself as an expert in your field of activity, thanks to your blog, which will further amplify your visibility, if you manage to develop a thoughtful and coherent strategy, of course.
And do not forget to decline your articles in different formats, which will allow you to distribute your content on other communication media and generate more visibility around your business.
Keep in mind that these levers require time and careful thought upstream. To make your job easier, you can use marketing automation which will optimize your work and your results!
Step 5: Develop a content strategy
Once you've selected your communication channels, it's time to develop your content strategy. You will have to create and distribute media content to develop your digital communication strategy.
You have a lot of options when it comes to the sort of material:
- Text content: here we are talking about blog articles, white papers, case studies.
- Graphic content: we find infographics, gifs or the same.
- Audio content: podcasts in particular.
- Video content: such as tutorials, webinars, customer testimonials, etc.
The question is: how do you choose the content? Your reflection must be done in connection with your communication targets: What are their needs? What do they consult? On what media? You need to provide them with relevant, creative, and consistent content.
The more they stand out, your content will be shared, followed, and commented more. The watchwords: quality and personalization!
Be careful though! It's a job that takes place upstream and not over the water. You will need to design a plan in order to harmonize everything, not to be caught off guard, and above all to bring your prospects to maturity.
If you want to know more about how to do this, we recommend that you read this article: Content Strategy: The Guide.
The choice of your communication channels and your content must be accompanied by an adapted effective communication plan that will allow you to register and plan your actions, your tools, your supports, your subjects, your deadlines, the individuals in charge. , depending on the initial objectives.
This plan will allow you to properly organize your broadcasts and your content production to better manage your communication campaigns over the long term. No waste of time or money!
The other aspects of a digital communication strategy
Choose your resources and define your budget
Your digital communication strategy is starting to take shape. But, do you have access to the necessary resources to complete your project? Are you going to call on an external service provider to support you in your process? Whatever your choices, you must determine the budget you want to allocate to achieve your strategy.
Indeed, the implementation of a digital communication strategy represents a significant cost! It is therefore essential to build a budget to have a vision of the means at your disposal, to achieve your objectives and deploy your strategy.
The digital world is teeming with all kinds of possibilities and tools, but the price for some will not be the same for others. This is therefore an important point to take into account when developing your digital communication strategy.
Some actions will require a higher financial investment. But if you’re willing to patiently take the pain and work conscientiously on your strategy, nothing can stop you from favoring less expensive inbound marketing devices.
Measure the performance of your strategy
Any strategy must be able to be measured. Fortunately, you have a multitude of tools available to help you measure the impact of your actions, positive or negative. This is where KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) comes into play!
The following are generally found as key performance indicators:
- The traffic generated,
- The conversion rate achieved,
- The click-through rate,
- The duration of the visit,
- The cost per lead,
- See the evolution of your sales,
- etc ...
Above all, once your strategy is launched, do not wait to analyze the impact. They will give you access to a lot of essential information to adjust and improve your digital communication strategy.
Follow the evolution of your strategy
A communication strategy constantly adapts to changes. As your strategy and actions unfold, you will have more information to improve your performance and achieve your goals.
So never stop analyzing your results! They are the ones who will let you know if you are on the right track or not. This will increase your chances of success. Especially since the digital world is subject to change.
Consider your strategy as a virtuous circle which consists of:
- Create and plan
- Stream and try
- Measure using your KPIs
- To improve
You then guarantee the visibility of your business while standing out and attracting new leads. All that's left to do is start over!