5 min read

On a daily basis, I get about four or five requests from people, asking for strategies for websites, social media, or making their business digital on the whole. One in thirty or forty requests are prepared to spend the kind of money involved with upgrading their business to a more tech-savvy business.

These things cost cold hard cash. There are a thousands of articles online which preach that digital can be cheap, but you have to remember that, “cheap ting no good, and good ting no cheap”.

Digital strategies are not cheap to produce

You want it all; social media marketing, a large online community, Youtube videos, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, website, blogging, EVERYTHING. But, you do not want to pay more than a few hundred dollars for it (TTD).

Go home, you’re drunk.

Digital strategists are a certain kind of people; we’re multi-talented: we need to understand business models, marketing strategies and technology to begin with, and we also need to be strategic planners, business development experts, web developers, search engine optimizers, project managers, and coordinators just to name a few, and it does not end there. When you think about it, if you were to have the same skillset, what would be your ideal monthly salary, or project service rate? Things start to look different when you try on the shoes.

When you contact a digital strategist and they hit you with a consultation or proposal fee, do not be surprised or upset. Reason being, when you say you want this and that, we need to go home, research your brand, look at where you’re falling short and doing well, look at your marketing strategies, and then start thinking about what we have to do to help your business. We haven’t even started planning yet; this is hours of work, before the work really begins.

After we come up with a game plan for you, spanning over a two-five year period, then we can think about costing. Most of us would contact the potential client at this point. Most clients don’t have a budget (nor a clue on what this costs), but when they hear the price of a mobile app they covet, or a two year social media strategy, they backpedal.

You’re willing to spend a ridiculous number on a billboard you’re not even certain is effective, but you’re not willing to spend half of that on a strategy which can precisely measure your conversions.

Point to note: Digital strategies are designed to create conversions, or make money; so most of the time, it’s really worth the investment.

You can have it, just not all at once

At that point, you decide to throw in the towel. We’re trained (most of us) to find the most cost effective methods for our clients, but you asked for certain things, so we have to provide you with costing for them; it’s not the end of the world. You should then indicate what you can really spend on digital investments, after realising the vision you had in your head is not possible…YET!

You need to have some faith in your digital consultant. You requested all these expensive items; do not just remove them from your strategy, but implement things slowly, in stages. Chances are, your consultant has already thought of this and has another plan waiting for you, one where you can slowly implement things – just ASK!

There are a couple things to note:

Websites are not just about a domain and hosting

Too many people think that you can throw up a website and pay GoDaddy and minimal fee and that’s it. That could not be further from the truth. You have to update your website regularly, you need to strategically place call-to action buttons to encourage sales, you need to give people something a reason to come back to your website. You do not set it up and forget it; it’s your vitual office, you don’t set up an office in a country and forget it, so why would you do that to your website?

You do not NEED a custom design

Custom designs are expensive, and most of the time, you do not need it. This website does not have a custom design, it’s a template, and it’s completely as the designer created it, save the pretty header image at the top. Unless you want something out of this world, then you do not need to spend thousands on a custom design. A simple template can cost you USD$40-60, and with a little tweaking, it will do the job and look great.

(Good) Mobile apps are expensive

If you’re going to step into the world of mobile applications, please do it properly. Forget using a cheap app builder which just creates a bunch of frustrating links to web content. A great mobile app will revolutionise your business, but it will cost more than a few pretty pennies. And for the love of all things tech, stay away from those free/cheap app builders.

Blogging is more important than you think

We live in a world where people want to know about the business not just about what you’re selling. Your target market wants to know your internals, how you communicate with them, what technolgies you’re exploring, what systems you love to use. Make your business personal with a blog; but you have to be careful not to sell yourself out to your competitors. There are studies online (go and research) which show that consumers shop more from companies which personalise their business’ personality.

If you think you know it all, don’t waste my time

I think this goes across all sectors; no one likes know-it-all clients, but I try to avoid them like the plague. If you believe that you know everything about technology, then develop the strategy and hire someone to execute it for you; do not call in a digital strategist and frustrate them. It might sounds obnoxious, or whatever, but as digital strategists, we’re already stressed with Facebook changing their platform more often than Zuckerburg changes his underwear; we do not need a client who uses Facebook and thinks that as a front end user they know everything in Facebook’s terms of use and all the best practices to generate hype and sales.

Let me know your thoughts on Twitter! @desireroberts