Why digital strategies fail (and how to make yours succeed)

One only needs to look at the large number of empty Facebook pages, unfollowed Twitter accounts and unread blogs to recognise that many digital business strategies are failing.

So how come so many businesses are still getting it wrong? We take a look at some common digital strategy pitfalls and how you can avoid them.

Disconnecting digital activity from real world activity.

Many organisations make the mistake of segmenting their digital presence completely from their real world activity. Bosses worry they don't understand digital and leave it for some other department. This leads can lead to inconsistences, making your online presence seem false and untrustworthy.

Your digital strategy must be developed as part of the overall business strategy. Regular communication between the digital team and the rest of the business is vital.

Using a strategy driven unimportant metrics, objectives and KPIs

Many digital strategies will include things like 'gain x amount of followers' or 'run a viral campaign' - but these are actions, not ends themselves. Metrics like this are not tied to real world goals and overall business objectives.

Think about what your business wants to achieve and how you can use digital channels to do this. Your online presence should help you achieve your ends, not be an end in itself.

Focussing on short term rather than long term goals

Much digital activity - particularly social media - is concerned with the here and now. This means it can be easy to lose site of your long-term goals.

Your digital strategy should look beyond the first 6 months. Think about what the business needs to achieve over the next three years and continue to revise the plan as objectives are met and developments occur. Short term goals should be designed with the aim of advancing your long term strategy.

Failing to segment content for different audiences

Prospective and existing customers require different messaging, yet many companies don't segment their digital content. This means digital activity can lose its potency - if you don't know whom you are doing it for, then why do it? A one size fits all approach does not show customer care and can bring your digital content out of step with your real world activity.

Analyse existing customers vs. potential customers' digital journey. Where do they come into contact with your brand? Is your content appropriately targeted? Look at which audiences are accessing you brand where and when to help you effectively segment your content.

Prioritising the wrong activity

When you are trying to keep up with competitors, the latest channels and digital marketing trends, it can be easy to slip into the mindset of 'we need to send x emails a week' or 'we need to Tweet x times a day', without really considering if it is the most effective use of time, or even if the activity is meeting objectives.

All your digital activity needs to serve your overall business strategy. Regularly assess the effectiveness of your digital initiatives and adjust your activity accordingly.

Putting the wrong person in charge

Your digital presence is a way of communicating with your customers and the public at large. It shouldn't be left in the hands of just whoever has free time. It needs to be managed by someone who understands the business strategy as well as best practice digital techniques. Ensure all decision makers understand digital and the person implementing the strategy has the necessary knowledge.