According to the Harvard Business Review and the post-COVID CMO survey, social media marketing spending saw a 74 percent lift in 2020. In addition, traditional marketing activity was projected to decline during the same time period. Digital marketing is becoming more of the budget focus for companies, and rightly so. With the pandemic, the importance of having a digital focus has come sharply into view for many organizations. These same companies are looking to expand their digital growth.
When it comes to digital growth, there is no “silver bullet” to achieve the growth companies want or need in a post-pandemic world. If digital growth was easy to achieve in the digital space, everyone would do it and do it well. Anyone who tells companies that digital growth should be easy does not understand that proper digital growth requires a long-term strategy.
Digital growth combines patience and commitment in order to develop strong relationships. These strong relationships provide the foundation for Trust in your brand and, in turn, engagement. Trust is not something that can be faked, and prospects cannot be rushed into giving their Trust to your organization without some work. This translates into a much longer focus and investment in that digital engagement and growth. To understand why digital growth is a long game, you need to revisit your A, B, Cs.
A is for Aspiration: What is the purpose of your organization? What impact are you hoping to have on your clients, your employees and your community? Many companies skip right over this key initial step to understand, document and share the organization’s aspirations. This is not about sharing features and benefits of the company’s products and services. This is about sharing your company’s values and what feeds your passion, your purpose and your plans for how you serve clients in the future. That share has to be consistent and long-term as a reminder of why your company exists to clients, vendors and employees (really anyone who interacts and supports the brand). People who get your organization’s aspirations are more likely to align with them and go the extra mile to provide support.
B is for Belief: Does your company practice integrity and transparency in communication and customer service? Has your digital engagement created a consistent message and a sense of Trust in your word? Trust is a key component in your digital growth strategy. And because most prospects have an inherent distrust of what they are told online, there is a steep uphill battle to gain their Trust. Keeping that Trust and providing leadership and value are just as hard to maintain. This can be thought of as providing water, so the seeds of what your company has planted are able to take root and grow with your audience. Your company cannot phone this in or think that gaining the Trust of your audience can be done overnight. Trust in your brand and word takes time.
C is for Connection: Connection is very different from selling. When you focus on creating connections in your network and with your prospects and clients, you are creating something that lives beyond your interactions. Connection can happen in any and all digital communications. Connection prioritizes how your company can serve others and how your company provides value in every interaction. Connection helps to strengthen the Trust your organization wishes to develop and add when fostering a strong client base. Connection is also important when considering your organization’s pool of potential employees and vendors in your community. When you look at all of the communities that can support your company’s success, have you taken the time to connect to the members of those communities? Working on your company’s connection to your different communities will take a long-term approach.
While digital engagement moves at lightning speed, your prospects are looking for more meaningful engagement with your company. And with prospects and clients wanting to have digital engagement in faster terms, the idea of going slower in communication and digital engagement may seem counter-intuitive. However, digital engagement is similar to face-to-face engagement in that this is a person-to-person connection between someone in your organization and someone online.
With a focus on how you can create and build relationships, you are adding to the long-term growth of your company. Relationships, in order to stand the test of time, need time to grow. Relationships in the digital space are no different. Those relationships, even though they are online, still require time and investment to gain roots to grow properly.
Using the A, B, Cs of digital growth can help your company be set up for digital engagement success, which translates to digital growth. But make sure you invest in actions that promote that long-term digital growth. And that digital growth cannot be achieved with a silver bullet.