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Digital Strategy: A Diagnostic Checklist

Your overall digital strategy will guide your organisation’s appearance, interactions and impact online, so it’s important that it is as clear and effective as possible. Ask yourself the following diagnostic questions to understand how your organisation is approaching this vital area.

Organisational planning

  • Does your organisation have a digital strategy in place?
  • Is this strategy aligned with or part of your Business Plan and Digital Policy and Plan? Consistency across different strategies will bring your organisation together.
  • What are your primary offers (or ‘products’) and your unique selling point (USP) as an arts and cultural organisation? Is it your artistic events, your community engagement, the workshops and training you provide? It’s important to focus on what makes your offering special and unique.
  • What resources are available to you? Does everyone have a digital remit, or does it sit with particular staff or roles? Do you have the relevant skills and expertise? Is budget set aside for your digital activity and is it sufficient?
  • Does your organisation encourage digital skills development and allocate staff the time and budget to up skill where necessary?
  • Do senior leadership figures support and champion working more digitally? Is your organisation actively exploring opportunities around new digital tools and processes? If not, what might it take to change?
  • Are you aware of shifts in the digital landscape that may affect your strategy? Factors like new platforms, changes to best practice and new legislation can have a big impact on your strategy.

Audiences

  • Which audiences are you trying to reach with your work? Defining or segmenting these audiences can provide valuable insight and enhance your work around audience development.
  • Do you have knowledge of your audiences’ digital activity? The platforms they use (social media channels, YouTube or websites), when they use them and for what purposes (keeping in touch with friends and family, shopping or research), will help define your approach.
  • What do you want your audience to do when they reach your website or digital platform? Whether it’s to buy tickets, read an article, join a membership scheme, donate money, or inspire them to visit your venue, a clear call-to-action is key.
  • Do you understand the journeys your audience takes during their decision-making processes? What factors help them decide to visit you or purchase a ticket for an event? Knowing this will help you tailor your tactics and content to correctly match their intentions.
  • Do you understand the barriers that might stop them from taking that call to action?

Channels and Platforms

  • What are your main digital channels or methods for promoting your offer or product? Look at your CRM, organic and paid search, social media posts, paid ads etc. Are these the right channels for your needs and your audience?
  • Think about the channels you currently use (website, CRM, email, social, etc). Do you have objectives in place for all of them that are linked to achieving your strategic goals?
  • Are there other channels or platforms that could help you reach your current or targeted audiences, or that would help you achieve your organisational objectives?
  • Do you know which platforms perform the best for you, and why?

Tactics

  • Do you know which tactics are most effective for aligning your activity with your audiences’ needs? For example, is Facebook advertising the most effective way of reaching users after they’ve visited your website but not yet made a purchase?
  • Are your campaigns and tactics aligned to your strategy objectives, and are they flexible enough to allow for experimentation or pivoting if they prove unsuccessful?

Measurement

  • Do you have a clear idea of what success looks like for your organisation? It’s crucial that your digital strategy is aligned with that of the organisation as a whole.
  • Do you understand which digital metrics are best to use in order to align them to your goals? Are they S.M.A.R.T.?
  • Do you have benchmark data from previous activity or other organisations in your field? Contextualising your performance with your peers can help you measure your successes.
  • Do you have the correct tools in place (e.g. Google Analytics) so you can measure and report on the success of your activity?
  • Is digital work reported back to the rest of your organisation and do you evaluate/tweak future activity based on your findings?

What next?

This checklist should help you highlight any areas for improvement in your digital strategy and introduce some methods for making positive changes. For further support you can look at the offers from Arts Council England’s Sector Support Organisations – in particular The Audience Agency and Culture 24, who offer digital strategy and digital leadership advice and consultancy. To learn more, read one of the articles linked below.

The Digital Culture Network is here to support you and your organisation. Our Tech Champions can provide free 1-2-1 support to all arts and cultural organisations who are in receipt of, or eligible for, Arts Council England funding. If you need help or would like to chat with us about any of the advice we have covered above, please get in touch. Sign up to our newsletter below and follow us on Twitter @ace_dcn for the latest updates.

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