It’s like a road-trip without a map or GPS. You drive for days on end. Your gas and lodging bills are piling up. Cheap accommodations, bad coffee and lack of sleep are getting to you. All this just to find out that you have been driving in the completely wrong direction and now have to backtrack, costing you double the time and money.

Many business owners make huge investments in their business without having a business plan (what’s in your head doesn’t count). That’s easy – a business without a clear written strategy will most likely fail. Where things get more complicated is when a business owner has a good business strategy but it’s not aligned with their digital presence.

Lets take the example of our recent customer, Bob (not his real name). Bob has an awesome product. Bob has a strong business model. His customer service is the best in the industry. He ranks well on Google. But somehow this doesn’t convert into sales. Bob is at his wits end and has started to seriously rethink things.

The natural reaction to this type of situation is to put more money into increasing digital presence. Bob created and recreated his website. He spends countless hours on his Facebook and Twitter trying to engage his audiences. He writes a blog post every week. He throws thousands of dollars into paid search engine optimization (SEO) and Google advertising. It seems he does all the right things and this brings visitors to his digital doors, but somehow they turn around and never come back.

All this expensive traffic never converts into sales.

Have you checked your bounce rates lately? Bob’s was above 80% and that’s an obvious sign of trouble. It means Bob’s visitors do not find Bob’s content usable or relevant. If you run paid online advertising, it could also mean that your ads misrepresent your value proposition.

Obviously, there can be many causes leading up to this dilemma. However, if you believe that your overall product and business model is strong and you have a concise business plan and clear direction, you need to look for an explanation somewhere else.

Most likely, your digital  and business objectives are not in alignment.

This most likely happens because:

[list type=”icon” style=”simple” icon=”check”]

[/list]

This produces poor return on investment and results in serious waste and inefficiency. As the first step, you need a plan and it must be on paper. You can call it a plan, a strategy, a business charter, in fact anything you like. It does not have to be a fifty page document. Most business models can fit on 1-2 pages. This document should cover such sections as Mission, Vision, Objectives, Core Values, Value Proposition, Short and Long Term Goals. It all can be in bullet form. You should also do a detailed SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats). The process of putting this on paper may bring unexpected clarity and help you stay focused. Take a look at our own Business Charter. That’s what we want to see for each new customer as the first step in the process.

You should be prepared to share this document with the world because trust and transparency are key motivation drivers in our digital age.

Once we have this information, we can help you work through your problems. For all our projects we:

[list type=”icon” style=”simple” icon=”check”]

[/list]

This work sounds expensive, doesn’t it? It doesn’t have to be, if done right. You work so closely with your business that you do not see the big picture. Very often, the most obvious problems and solutions can be more easily spotted by an outsider, even without expensive research. We can scale the work to fit your needs and budget, but we won’t cut corners.

We firmly believe that it’s impossible to build an effective website without getting to know your business and the playing field.

In conclusion, when you have a moment, try to ask yourself these tough questions.

  1. Did you take time to understand your business and competitive environment and does your website reflect that?

  2. Have you done a 360 SEO analysis to understand your digital competition?

  3. Does your digital presence have a solid relationship with your business objectives? Or, have you ever established succinct, measurable business objectives?