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9 Warning Signs That Your Digital Business Strategy Sucks (And How to Fix It)

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Is your digital strategy working?

If you're like most founders, you jumped head-first into the digital world and never asked yourself that question. After all, you can see your metrics in Google Analytics and track how much money your online ad campaigns are generating.

But that doesn't mean you're actually growing your business.

Just because your website is up and running doesn't mean you're doing things the right way.

There are many warning signs that your strategy may be sucking.

Lucky for you, we're here to help.

Keep reading to learn 9 signs your digital business strategy sucks, and how to fix it.

1. You're Using a Cookie-Cutter Approach

Personalization plays a crucial role in modern marketing.

Roughly 8 out of 10 customers would rather deal with a company that personalizes their experiences.

An even more surprising study reveals that 83% of the American public is willing to share their data to receive personalized content.

What does this mean for you?

If you're still using a cookie-cutter approach, you're likely losing customers and money.

In other words, personalizing your campaigns is no longer an option, but a requirement.

How to Fix It

  • Implement a personalized approach into your everyday workflow. Customize everything from your website to customer support interactions.
  • Use AI marketing tools to personalize your e-commerce experiences at scale.
  • Segment your customers based on their behaviors, interests, and demographics.
  • Give them the content they want by creating personas to target your marketing efforts.
  • Take a proactive approach to customer research to gain a deeper understanding of your customer's personalities.

2. You're Using a Linear Funnel

Linear funnels used to work great.

With the rise of multi-channel marketing and inbound strategies, it's all about creating a non-linear customer journey.

For instance, roughly 60% of B2B tech buyers read anywhere from two to five content pieces before purchasing.

And 8 out of 10 digital shoppers use their smartphones to research products when buying at a local store.

Today's customers aren't using a funnel the way it was originally intended. They're skipping steps and jumping from one channel to another.

This change in customers' behavior requires a change in your approach. You must provide a multi-channel experience that meets your customers where they are.

For instance, don't force your customers to go from article to article, video to video, and social post to social post.

Instead, strategically place content throughout your entire customer journey, helping them solve specific pain points at each stage.

This will help you generate more leads, increase sales, and bolster customer retention.

How to Fix It

  • Each stage of your funnel must be strategically designed to help customers achieve their goals.
  • Create a content strategy that reflects what customers are doing at each stage of the funnel.
  • Be sure to distribute it across all channels, including your website, social media platforms, emails, and more.
  • Use retargeting to reach customers across multiple channels.

3. You Aren't Tracking the Right Metrics

Your analytics are a gateway to understanding your customers.

Specifically, Google Analytics is one of the most powerful ways of gaining insights about your website visitors.

But here's the thing…

If you're not tracking the right metrics, your data is useless.

For example, you may have a high number of website visitors.

But the more you dive into your Google Analytics data, the more questions you have.

  • What are these visitors doing on your site?
  • How long are they staying?
  • Are they converting?
  • Where are they coming from?
  • What devices are they using?

If you track the wrong metrics, you'll end up with the wrong results.

How to Fix It

  • Identify the metrics that truly matter. For example, if your goal is to increase sales, track conversions (or revenue per-visit).
  • Evaluate your existing analytics and identify areas that can be improved. For example, if most of your visits are coming from mobile devices, optimize your site for mobile.
  • Implement a tracking system that helps you collect the data you need.

4. You're Using The Wrong Marketing Channels

Marketing is like dating. It's all about meeting your customer in their “world.”  And to do that, you must connect with them across the channels they engage in.

Today's best marketing strategies are data-driven and highly personalized.  For example, the average marketing team sends up to 41 targeted emails per week.

On top of that, 47% of B2B customers learn about a company through online channels, like email and social media.

The devices your customers use to search for products and services largely determine which marketing channels you should be using.  

For example, if your customers search on their mobile device, you need to be present in the places they're searching.

Or, say that most of your target prospects use LinkedIn for professional purposes. In this case, you should create custom content that targets this audience on LinkedIn's publishing platform.

The point is, every customer has a preferred communication channel. To generate leads and connect with customers, you need to know where they're spending their time.

How to Fix It

  • Identify your target customer's preferred communication channel. Do they use LinkedIn for professional reasons?  Are they on Twitter looking to make new connections?  Is Facebook their go-to for connecting with friends and family?
  • Create a multi-channel marketing strategy that effectively targets customers across all of their preferred channels. This will ensure you're connecting with them in the best way possible.

5. Your Customer Service Sucks

In today's world, marketing and customer service are inextricably linked.

Customers expect your brand to be readily available across all customer touchpoints, including email, phone, social media, and your website.

If you fail to meet customer expectations, they'll take their business (and positive word of mouth) somewhere else.

How to Fix It

  • Evaluate whether you have the resources and staff necessary to provide a good customer experience. If your business is small, you can't be everywhere at once.
  • Prioritize your marketing channels and customer touchpoints to focus on the ones that will get you the biggest return.
  • If your customers primarily connect with you on social media and your website, it's essential to quickly respond to their comments and questions on Twitter and Facebook.
  • If you don't have the workforce or time to provide great service, it's time to hire help or outsource your customer service to a third party.

6. You Aren't Providing Quick Wins

Customers are impatient.

And if you can't demonstrate value quickly, they'll move on to your competitors.

If you offer a free trial, make sure your customers can see the benefits right away.

If you're not providing quick wins, your customers are getting frustrated.  And once they get frustrated, they'll start to consider other options.

How to Fix It

  • Remove any roadblocks to value. Make sure your customers can see the benefit of your product or service within the first few days of their trial.
  • Provide a compelling early win that quickly illustrates how your product or service can help them succeed.
  • Give them an incentive to stick around. You can give away a bonus, a discount, or even a resource to help them get started.

7. You're Thinking Short-Term

Business today is about staying relevant. It's not just about the bottom line.

Customer expectations are rising every day, and if you want to stay in business, then your product or service has to keep up.

You need to think long-term.

Instead of chasing the quick buck, you need to build a business that can outlast any market shift or economic downturn.

Many CEOs focus too much on revenue growth, and they forget to plan for the long-term future of their company.

Stop it.

If you want your digital business strategy to work, you have to think beyond the next six months. You need a long-term vision that's going to carry your company forward.

Instead of thinking about how to attract more customers, you should be thinking about how to increase your retention rate.

Instead of focusing on how to generate more revenue, you should be thinking about how to increase your customer lifetime value.

Instead of constantly adding new features or services for customers, you should be thinking about how to increase product stickiness.

The bottom line is that you need to think long-term, or else your business will be outdated in just a few short years.

How to Fix It

  • Make 4-5 year projections. Look for areas where you can reduce operating costs and increase revenue.
  • Integrate a long-term vision into every decision you make. Remember that customer lifetime value is more important than short-term sales.
  • Define a clear “why.” What is your company's mission? What kind of culture do you want to build? How can you make a difference in the world?
  • Don't lose sight of your “why” as you grow. Strong company culture and a compelling mission will keep employees on the same page and customers engaged for years to come.

8. You Don't Understand Your Customers

Your business is only as good as its product.  And if your product doesn't align with your customer's needs, then you're not going to succeed. Period.

If you don't know what your customers want, you can't make the right decisions.

It doesn't matter how you acquire new customers.  If your product or service isn't solving their problems, then they're not going to stick around.

And if you want your digital business strategy to be successful, then you need to understand your customers inside and out.

  • What are their fears?
  • What are their desires?
  • What are their motivations and frustrations?
  • What makes them angry?
  • How do they behave online?

Knowing your customers at this level takes time, research, and effort. But the payoff is huge.

How to Fix It

  • Study your customer personas constantly. And strive for deep empathy. Understand their fears, frustrations, and motivations.
  • Analyze your customer feedback. Think about how you can improve the way you communicate with customers.
  • Use data to your advantage.  Look at your sales data and use it to improve your product.

9. You Don't Know Why Your Customers Are Your Customers

  • Why do customers choose your product or service?  
  • Why do they stick with your company?
  • Do they buy from you because of your product features? Your low prices? Their experiences with your brand? Or something else?

Most founders don't know the answer to these questions.

They say things like “Customers choose us because of our unique products” or “We have loyal customers because of our fantastic service.”

These are empty words. Talk is cheap.

If you want to build a world-class digital business strategy, you need to know why customers choose your product or service.

What is your true differentiation?

Why do customers choose you over your competitors?

If you can't answer these questions, then it's time to go back to the drawing board and figure it out.

Take an honest look at your company, and consider whether you're doing enough to keep your customers happy.

Spend some time talking to your customers. Listen to what they have to say. Put yourself in their shoes, and figure out why they stick with you.

If you do figure it out, you'll find valuable insights to help you grow.

How to Fix It

  • Interview customers. Figure out where the value in your product or service comes from.
  • Spend time with them to get a sense of why they choose you over your competitors.
  • Build a customer retention plan based on your findings.

If you do these things, then not only will you understand your customers better, but you'll also discover the factors that contribute to your company's growth.

You Must Be Willing to See The Big Picture

If you want a solid digital strategy, it's time to get a handle on the fundamentals.

If you don't know what your “why” is, you'll never be able to motivate employees, build a compelling brand, or solve problems.

If you don't know why your customers choose you, then it's impossible to keep them happy.

And if you don't know what your customers want, then you can never make the right decisions.

Read the previous points again and see if any apply to you. If any of them do, take a step back and fix these problems.

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