In my previous blog I described some approaches to getting buy-in from the top to ensure a digital vision is at the heart of your organisation’s future. I promised to describe an approach to producing a digital strategy which would underpin such a vision and the steps that should be taken to ensure that it delivers value to both your members and your organisation, so here it is.
But before I start it is worth noting that although the end game is for you and your organisation to understand the big picture and develop a roadmap for the evolution of your organisation’s digital presence over the next 2-4 years, this doesn’t mean that you cannot start small. Pick off strategically aligned work streams and activities that deliver immediate value to your members, in short ‘think big, start small’ but always have the bigger picture in mind. So here are the steps. The order in which they are performed might change, and indeed if done properly you may find that your organisation’s business objectives might need to be reviewed and adjusted at key stages of the process. However, they are always the place to start.
1. Review and update organisational business objectives
Circumstances might have changed since the last time your organisation did this. You may have had a groundswell of members coming from Asia, or attrition rates may have increased due to prevailing economic conditions or bad press, so be sure to update them. If you are not in a position to do this yourself ensure that they are clarified to you by senior stakeholders.
2. Conduct or review research (only if it is recent) into members’ needs and online usage
Analyse members’ online behaviour using analytics and user testing. Your objective here is to build up a contemporary picture of how your members are using your digital landscape. You need to understand what devices and technologies they are using to engage with you, what is working, and what isn’t, what is popular and what isn’t. You may also wish at this point to create personas that describe around 5 of your key audiences as typical individuals, their motivations, needs and aspirations. This married with your understanding of their online requirements will help you to understand how you can improve your offer to them.
3. Establish digital objectives relative to business objectives and members’ expectations
At this stage this is not about opening up new channels or redesigning whole digital properties, it is about understanding how digital can be used to deliver value. Think of the key things that digital can deliver (not how at this stage), think about engagement, involvement, transacting, informing, sharing and advocating. With your knowledge of your members’ needs and your organisational objectives you will be able to define how you can serve the needs of both digitally, or at least how digital can contribute.
4. Develop key user journeys across the digital landscape in line with your digital objectives
What do you want your members to do, and what do they want to do? You should have a good idea of this now, so this is the time to become channel specific. What is the best way to deliver to your digital objectives? Does it rely on a combination of integrated channels? Is it a mobile app? Plot the journey that members will take to realise both your and their objectives across the digital landscape.
5. Review existing digital landscape and its ability to deliver to key user journeys
This should be done in conjunction with the activity above. It might be that you are already providing an adequate journey in some respects, but how can this be refined, or enhanced?
6. Review internal processes, capabilities and resources and their ability to deliver to digital objectives
It is all very well having your user journeys in place, but do you have the ability to deliver to them? Understand who will be contributing to content production and the conversation. You may have to prioritise your forthcoming activity in order to give you time to get the right resources and personnel in place to service your members. You may even have to create new cross-organisational teams.
7. Establish a series of tactical and strategic work streams to deliver digital objectives
Define the work that will need to be done to reach your objectives. Understand the interdependencies for each, and the resources required. Where possible make each discreet area of work not just a step towards a larger objective, but a goal in itself that will add value to you and your members.
8. Produce roadmap and delivery schedule priorities based on ROI and set measureable KPIs for each
Bring it all together in a roadmap that describes your objective, how you intend to get there, the timeline involved and the resources that will be required. Try to understand the relative importance of each tranche of work and set a measureable target against it. What are you trying to achieve, more online applications, more downloads, better attendance at events?
9. Review KPIs (adjust bi-monthly)
It is essential that you keep a track on how well you are doing. You should have a daily view of how effective your activity is, but at least every other month perform a rigorous analysis of your stats and analytics in order to get a picture of what is working and what isn’t. You may find that a small adjustment to a particular channel is all that is required to get your indicators performing, or you might find that you are being so successful in one area that you need to do even more of the same.
10. Review digital trends (adjust bi-annually)
By the time you get to a particular work stream it might be that the landscape has changed, making your original plan less effective, or even obsolete. This is why your digital objective should not be channel, or technologically specific.
Who knows whether Facebook will be the place to be in 6 months time? Only this week it was announced that Facebook’s chief technical officer is leaving to join a new start up! What will come of this? Well we don’t know, but it might be the new must have community pages, which is why you need to understand what is the most effective channel, or technology to use to pursue your objectives.