Mapping out your Digital Ecosystem is essential when setting your business goals.
‘How do you build a high traffic website that has great conversions‘ is a question I am frequently asked. My answer always includes ‘what is your route to market, what are your goals and have you mapped out a digital ecosystem?‘.
I should probably explain what I mean by business’ digital ecosystem (DES). Your DES is made up of the tools that work in harmony to drive traffic to your website and help you achieve your goals.
These goals could be sales, education, growth, active users or project enquiries. What matters is knowing them and frequently iterating your DES’ plan according to what you have measured through analytics and user feedback.
The central destination…
Your website tends to play the role of ‘centrifugal force’ in achieving your goals. After all it is where your users are captivated by your story, where they make financial transactions and project enquiries (Instagram shopping etc. aside).
But how do your users get there?
Via your route to market…
A great friend called Jimmy taught me why choosing and developing a route to market is important. ‘What’s your route to market‘ was the third thing he said to me on the day we met, after ‘who are you and how are you doing?’. When I began my ecommerce homewares business Nomad he walked me through the steps and variables (everyone needs a friend like Jimmy). He stressed the necessity of goals and planned routes to reach them. Instagram played a long term and central role in my RTM plan and consequently business’ success in sales. There were many other avenues I applied, but I will cover those another time.
Your DES guides them to your website via a carefully mapped out user journey. One of my favourite tools and digital signposts is Instagram. Why? because it is more than likely that your tribe is already there, ready and waiting for you to show up. They just need to know how to get there…
It’s all about who you connect with…
People who want to invest in you and your business will connect to your message.
What do you make or offer that is more interesting or innovative and how will you make your passion something worth talking about? Make your passion something worth talking about. As Seth Godin says ‘ideas that spread, win‘. How do you create that winning message?
Depth is best when planning customer acquisition via spreading the word.
Another 1000 true fans…you’ve probably heard that before. Kevin Kelly, a hero of mine, taught me that being strategic about your DES is essential. He teaches that ultimately you want more than a following, you want depth and engagement. You want to capture the committed 1000 true fans who ‘will buy anything you produce‘ and will remain a part of your tribe. They are of greater value than 1 million semi-invested window shoppers.
In my opinion, when developing your digital ecosystem strategy, setting out to sign up 1000 true and committed fans creates a healthier mental attitude for successful customer acquisition.
The second FAQ is…How?
In achieving your goal to spread the word to your tribe your language reveals your truth. This truth is told through a written and visual language. Both are necessary for DES success, and both will hopefully get a few people interested enough in what you offer to follow your journey and eventually make that transaction.
Learning how Instagram best operates has been essential for my own digital development as well as that of my clients’ too. FYI this route to market is paved with persistence. Nada is guaranteed in the Instagram tribe growth game. However, I have found that success can be achieved by following a few core rules. I grew my ecommerce business Nomad’s following to 6000 in a few years by trial and error to begin with and applying what I learnt through iteration:
Here are my 10 cents on how:
- Figure out your audience – do your research on who your tribe are and what they want to see and read.
- Be consistent – Find your authentic tone and stick with it
- Post regularly – Find a schedule that suits the time you have to spend on it (I aimed for 3 – 4 times a week)
- Stay in your own lane – visually and in your story telling language
- Stick to your brand guidelines – to keep the look streamlined
- Use your own native content in your stories – The Instagram tribe of more than 1billion users loves finding out who you are and all about your business behind the scenes. As small business owners we wear all the business hats. Some good hats, some ok hats you might feel comfy in, some hats look much better on others. Show your customers what your business is about. (You don’t have to show them all the hats you wear).
- Use your own imagery – as well as inspirational on brand content. What I sold at Nomad was more than a product, I discovered that it was the story behind the product was essential to catching my clients’ and customers’ attention. So despite my collections being small there was so much to say about different aspects of the product.
- Get granular – I talked about weaving techniques, cloth dying procedures, the how, the why, the what and the where that made me fall in love with artisan textiles and the artisans themselves. Instagram is a great place to show consumers your process, your details and all the unique flare you bring to your product.
- Figure out your hashtags – Do some research into which tags competitors use, which ones are most popular, which ones apply to your geographical location. Don’t be afraid to A/B test tags to see which ones work best for your brand. Location tagging your photos will also allow you to reach local markets easily.
- Collaborate & run giveaways – This can be done with other small businesses and with your core consumers. Make sure you’re gaining exposure, followers or collecting email addresses on your website when running these activations. This is vital to you being able to grow your DES.
- Paid advertising spend – As part of your marketing/advertising budget think about when you want to make extra noise on product launches or drive sales. The budget can also be allocated to help grow your account following by advertising the account to people with similar interests.
Measure what Matters – John Doerr summary
Purple Cow – Seth Godin summary
1000 true fans – Kevin Kelly the essay