3 Secrets of a Winning Online Strategy
Every business starts out with a mission — a goal of making an impact on their community or the world at large. Some set out to solve a longstanding problem for the first time. Others are driven to disrupt an existing market. Still others simply want to push the world forward with a fun or functional innovation, something to delight and empower their customers.
No matter the reason for starting up, every organization goes through a critical point where they must turn their mission and idea into a real, functioning business. Most businesses will revisit this critical point at many times in their life cycle, as they continue the cycle from idea to goal to execution.
The first instinct many of us have when we set a goal is to jump in and get to work. That’s the right attitude, but the wrong approach. The first step isn’t to press GO and hope things come together along the way.
When it comes to creating an online strategy, what separates the winners from the losers? Is it the nature of the business itself, or something in the plan? What exactly does a winning plan cover, anyway?
As strategy consultants, the Blayzer team has seen a lot of strategies over the years. And yes, we’ve seen both successes and failures. The number one question we ask ourselves every single day is, “How can we make our clients more successful?” Not just the individual projects and websites and campaigns, but the businesses themselves.
It comes down to understanding what makes Company A successful and Company B not successful, even though both have a clear mission, both have found a real problem that people are willing to pay money to solve, both have outstanding products and solutions, and both have an awesome team behind them.
What we’ve come to understand is that the key difference lies in the strategy. The most successful companies are the ones who know where they are going and the path it will take to get them there. They have a strategic foundation on while to build their business and guide the development of their solutions and marketing plan.
What is a Successful Strategy?
So, if a successful strategy is the key, what exactly constitutes a successful strategy? You first need to understand what it is NOT.
Strategy is NOT…
- Scribbles on a whiteboard.
- Notes on a cocktail napkin or scattered across multiple emails.
- It’s also not a book-length manifesto of your beliefs and values.
- A road map.
- It’s a living, breathing set of plans to guide and define your business.
Elements of a Winning Online Strategy
There are three main elements to a successful online strategy. They are…
First you have your business strategy or business plan. This is the document that clearly defines your business, who you are, what you do, and who you serve. Your business strategy should include:
- Business Definition — Explain your mission & business mode
- Products & Services — Describe your products and services and the problems they solve
- Market Description — Define your target market and the opportunity it presents for your business
- Competitors & Advantages — Position your business within the marketplace.
- Monetization & Financials — Demonstrate how you make money and your overall growth potential.
Once you’ve outlined your business plan and goals, next you want to map out a marketing strategy for how exactly how you go-to-market and build your online reputation. Your marketing strategy should include…
- Brand Identity — What is your brand and what does it represent to the market?
- Marketing Goals — What specific objectives and performance indicators will you be aiming for and measuring?
- Marketing Personas — Who is your ideal customer?
- Tools & Tactics — What activities will you put in place to reach your audience and drive revenue?
- Budget & ROI Measurement — What are the costs associated with your planned marketing efforts? How will you measure the return on your investment?
Having your business and marketing strategies in place will then allow you to create a clear-cut production strategy for your web and mobile technology solutions. This includes mobile apps, online applications, and websites. Your solution strategy should cover…
- Wireframes — Diagrams that show the flow and layout of your solution.
- Database Architecture — How will your database be structured and have the most optimal performance?
- User Interface & User Experience Diagrams — This will allow you to see the flow of the user and how they will interact with your web solution.
- List of Deliverables — Outline all the functionality and requirements for your solutions.
Together, this will allow you to move easily into production, stay on time, and most importantly, stick to your budget.
Through these three elements you can create a comprehensive road map to guide your business. What’s more, you’ll benefit from the process of creating it.