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Understanding the digital marketplace

When you’re looking at launching a new website and surrounding strategy, it’s tempting to dive in feet first. Online moves at such a rapid pace, so when your digital presence isn’t as it should be you’ll be plagued by that nagging feeling that you’re not keeping up.

Hang on – step back a little. Digital is complex. There are so many elements that need to be considered, and the best digital strategies bring them all together seamlessly. That’s why research and planning matters. Like, it really matters. Get your planning process wrong and the consequences could haunt you for years to come. These are just some of the areas you should be thinking about:

Understanding your market from a digital perspective

Even if you know your market really well, constantly evolving technology means constantly changing expectations. You need to establish the facts. What do your potential customers really want from you? What are your competitors doing well – and badly? What are people talking about in your marketplace? You might think you know the answers, but the only thing that can really confirm that is accurate, up to date research and data.

Joining up the dots

Many people make the mistake of developing their website in isolation. The risk is that as you learn more about how your users behave you’ll end up trying to address any new discoveries with bolt-on strategies. And that can get seriously messy. When you’re planning a digital strategy it needs to be just that – a strategy. How will the elements fit together? How will you drive traffic from external sources? When those users hit your core site, how will the user journey deliver exactly what they want? A website in itself is just the starting point. Considering all the co-functioning elements of web, SEO, social media, content and marketing will result in a far more powerful outcome.

Working to a realistic schedule

By far the most common risk in any digital launch is project creep – and project creep costs time, money and eventually your sanity. The best way to avoid creep is through meticulous planning and a practical schedule that accounts for all the elements. It’s not at all uncommon, for instance, for everyone to focus so much on the design that they completely forget about content until the last minute. Or to sign off designs without thinking carefully about how they’ll adapt to live functionality – leading to costly redesigns when you realise your great idea won’t translate to online. These scenarios can be avoided, but you must be focused on your goals and realistic about how much capacity it will take to achieve them.

Why does all this matter? Ultimately, it comes down to your bottom line. A lack of research and planning can cause budgets to soar, headaches to escalate and productivity to suffer as everyone panics and diverts their resources to getting the job done. Plus, of course, if the end result isn’t what your visitors want then you’ll lose out commercially too.

Research and planning doesn’t necessarily mean slow. At Digital Potion, we use a tried and tested planning model that can address all these issues and more whilst making sure your project moves forward at a healthy pace. Talk to us to find out more.

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