It all starts well. You spend a lot of time together like love-struck teenagers, drawing up hopes and dreams for the future and making plans. As time goes on, the things you wanted to do don’t happen and you end up in a rut, bickering with each other (mostly you as the strategy doesn’t say much).
So how can you get a digital strategy back on track and reignite the love? Here are 5 ways to get the fires burning again.
1. Reassess your objectives
Setting objectives is hard: too low and you may be accused of making it too easy, too hard and you are doomed to fail.
Objectives are a guide. You cannot predict what will happen over the course of 12 months. Look at them again and ask if they are guiding you in the right direction. They aren’t set in stone and goals will change over time. Acknowledging this allows you to move on and make changes to improve the relationship.
2. Check your KPIs
Again, this can be hard in the beginning and expectations may be set too high. You may also not have the right KPIs.
Don’t set yourself up for failure
It’s easy to set KPIs around lots of numbers but often these numbers don’t mean anything. For example, setting a KPI around the number of Twitter followers is good but what does it actually mean? Having 100,000 followers sounds great and impressive, but they may never share or interact. Having 1,000 highly engaged followers who share your content and talk to you will deliver more value and leads.
Reviewing KPIs helps you answer “What are we getting out of this relationship?” It has to mean something so you both feel that progress is being made and having an impact.
3. Assess resources
Be realistic. Do you actually have the time, money and people to execute the strategy? We all face this “iron triangle”.
We all say “I don’t have enough time”. Often it’s a case of priority and (frankly) personal time management. If you know it’s important put it first, especially if it’s a task you hate. If you want a better handle on how you spend time, check out this great presentation on time management hacks.
Both you and the strategy want to spend more time together so make the time. A date morning or afternoon with it once a month could help smooth over the rough patches. Put it in your diary and stick to it.
There is a perception that digital is cheap because so many services are free. This is a fallacy. Good, high-quality digital design, development and marketing require investment. You can obviously ask for more, but if this is not possible then you may need to drop some activities to focus on a more important one (like a honeymoon).
We could all do with an extra pair of hands. Some strategies fail because they rest on one person or limited team resource. This is closely related to time so reviewing how team time is spent will help focus your efforts.
Work through the hard times together – no relationship is perfect and you both need to compromise.
4. Review and audit progress
Do you produce a monthly report (or receive one), glance at it and then file it away? Does one even get produced? There is an obsession in the digital world with measurement because it is easier than other marketing channels and you can become overwhelmed with data.
If you haven’t already set up a dashboard to measure progress, then do it. It’s not easy and it will take time, however in the long run it will pay off. There are lots of places to start for inspiration. This recent one on the Moz blog is excellent for SEO.
Reviewing your relationship regularly allows you to address issues without them festering too long. If it’s really bad, consider bringing in a relationship counsellor such as a consultant to work through the data and understand what you should or should not be doing.
5. Consider a break-up
It could be that you are not compatible. Perhaps you’ve both changed too much – the company could have grown rapidly or the strategy can’t cope with external digital changes. It does happen 🙁
If you do break-up, don’t jump too quickly into a new strategy – think about what you really want. Review and audit what has been done (if you haven’t done so already), identify where you went wrong and start working on a new strategy that you can get along with. Above all, be realistic about what can be achieved but don’t forget your dreams.
What difficulties have you found with digital strategies? Did you break up or stay together?