Simplify the process of creating a digital strategy with our handy hints and free templates.
In this section:
Writing your online business plan
An online business plan helps you focus your resources more effectively, to better achieve your goals. It’s about outlining your current situation and your future needs, to help determine actions that can get your business to where you want it to be.
Start by addressing the following questions:
- What are your business goals? These can be long or short term, and should extend to non-digital areas as well. An example could be increasing your client base by a certain percentage, or increasing your profit margin by a certain number. Goals should be specific and measurable, and include a time frame for when they should be completed by.
- Which online tools can help achieve these goals? Connect your goals to physical activities that can help you achieve them. For example, if you want to increase your client base, perhaps you can add a subscription form to your website, to start building a database of new customers.
With those questions in mind, you can use our Online Business Plan Template for help in structuring your own detailed business plan. This comprehensive template will help you itemise several aspects of your business in one document.
Alternatively, we have also developed a short form template. This shorter template is designed to provide you with a basic online business plan that can be tailored to suit your business needs.
You can use these documents to assist in creating an online business plan. As you work your way through each section, you will be provided with information on each issue to help you create a plan that best suits your circumstances.
Developing social media plans
In some areas, you may find the need to develop individual plans. One of these areas will probably be Social Media. If you are planning on using social media in your business, it’s best to start with an end goal in mind. Formalising this in writing can help you focus your social activities to achieve your specific goal.
Our Social Media Plan template can assist you with formulating a plan for your ideas whilst assigning roles and responsibilities for each task. You will need to make a number of decisions about your business goals and finances, so you might like to have current documents such as budgets and business/marketing plans available as you complete the template.
This template will help you form your social media strategy, by analysing available tools, developing strategic strategies and distributing your resources. You might also consider additional policy documents for the management of your channels, and the ways in which your staff can represent your business online.
See our Social Media topic for more.
Creating a digital budget
In the world of digital, budgets can be both long term, annual documents, and short term week to week budgets. Depending on how far along you are in your digital development, you might need to spend a bit of time investigating different digital tools to see which one works best for your business. This will mean that your budget will shift around from place to place as you develop your marketing plan, website, or systems upgrade.
Digital on a shoe-string budget
Thankfully, there are several ways you can get into digital without the need to break the bank. Instead of requiring a dollar investment, these digital tools instead require a little bit of time to develop.
- Social media – setting up these marketing channels is generally free, but it will take time to develop them. There is however, a great opportunity to spend a little bit and receive a fairly high return on social media, and that’s with targeted ads. A small investment – less than $500 a month – can greatly improve your reach on social. Better yet, social media ads can be highly targeted based on a range of things – gender, location, age, or even interests and pages they currently like. See our social media topic for more.
- Search engine marketing – a small spend can be specifically targeted. Better yet, search engine marketing levels the playing field with larger organisations. Look for keywords specific to your local area to make an impact. You’re also able to set maximum spends, so you can always stay on track. See our digital advertising topic for more.
- Blogs – posting regular content to a blog is a great way to boost confidence in your followers, as it shows you’re a thought leader in your industry. Better yet, once you have the blog built, it costs next to nothing to maintain – you simply need to find a bit of time to write content. Don’t have the time? Let others blog for you. It’s as simple as connecting with like-minded people in the industry, and asking them for a short post. This helps you maintain consistency in blogging, without breaking the bank.
Develop an internet usage policy
There’s not much point developing a digital strategy if your staff don’t know about it. When thinking about using these tools, it’s important to think about how their implementation will impact your staff, both positively and negatively.
A general internet usage policy can cover staff use of information and communications technologies such as email, mobile phones, and software. This document should outline how your staff can use these services both at work, and outside of work. See our template to get started.
You may also like to consider a separate policy specific to social media. A social media staff use policy informs your staff of their rights and responsibilities on their personal social media accounts when discussing your business. This document can be implemented as part of your induction process, and outlines for your staff your expectations with regards to social media. You can download a template staff policy here.
See our Getting Your Staff Online topic for more ways you can help your staff move to digital.
The world is more connected than ever, thanks in large part to amazing developments in broadband internet, communication devices such as mobile phones, and computers. And whilst this presents many wonderful opportunities for business owners – including working from home, cheap or free marketing options and new and more efficient business tools – it also presents some risks.
Tips for the electrical industry – Measuring return on investment (ROI)
Now that you’ve got digital strategies in place, you need a way to measure your achievements. Very rarely will you find a one-stop-shop for this; instead, you will probably need to combine the results of several tools to find one overall picture.
Step one is determining how you’re going to gather your data. Thankfully, digital systems are much easier to track than traditional ones. Systems such as Google Analytics, social media analytics and AdWords analytics can help you measure the success of any digital advertising, by counting click through rates, impressions and number of visits. If you are collecting data from these various places, establish a simple spreadsheet for collating the figures – having everything in one place makes it that much easier to analyse.
Step two is monitoring. The beauty of digital is that you can access a lot of results in real time, meaning there’s no need to wait until the end of the month, quarter or year to see how you’re processing. Monitoring your goals frequently enables you to determine what’s not working, and move your resources into a better area.
In digital marketing, there are two types of classifications you can measure. Quantitative measurements can be easily counted, and include things like views, impressions, clicks and time. Qualitative measurements cannot be easily determined, and are more behavioural or sensory. These include things like brand awareness, complaints and feedback from surveys. When calculating your return on investment, you will need to connect these types of measurement with your goals. For example, if you’re using social media to build brand awareness, trying to determine your ROI you may mean you need to conduct a short survey or provide your followers with a way to give feedback. If you’re goal is to build a database of clients, than you can measure the more quantitative figure of the number of subscribers on your list.