Article

How to nurture and grow your business online through your digital ecosystem6 min read

Hugh Deraps May 24, 2018

Your prospects experience when they use your applications, visit your websites and interact with your business online, will influence how they convert to a paying customer. The digital ecosystem is an integral element of an organisation’s operational and marketing efforts and designing a sustainable and easy-to-use ecosystem is paramount to the digital success of your brand.

Steps to create a thriving digital ecosystem

Understand the digital space you work in

The very first thing any marketer needs to do before setting up a digital ecosystem is to understand the larger system in which they function. Understanding how similar to or different from other digital ecosystems your ecosystem is will give you a comprehensive understanding of what you should create, how and what you should avoid.

Knowledge about the digital space you are set to work in will also give you insights into what your prospects, partners and other stakeholders expect from your business. Armed with this knowledge, you will know the minefields to avoid.

For example, a common problem in the digital space is poor transaction support. Research into why this problem exists, how it’s impacting your customers and what you can do to solve it, will help you create a user-friendly digital ecosystem for your business.

Narrow down what you wish to do in this digital ecosystem

Knowing what you actually want to offer your prospects will help you choose the tools, systems and software necessary to make your digital ecosystem easy-to-use, interactive and efficient.

If the problem in your digital space is poor transaction support, the USP of your website could be flawless transaction support that’s backed by state-of-the-art transaction management software that is bug-free and which offers comprehensive support to website visitors’ start-to-finish.

Once you identify that this is what you wish to offer, you can get started on creating designs, reviewing wireframes and collating content. You can even set up relevant benchmarks for your website QA & testing.

Set up timelines

Creating a timeline to manage the setting-up and growth of your digital ecosystem will give your efforts a defined direction, shape and goal. It will also help align the efforts of team members and will make work allocation and project management much easier.

To set up a fluid and easy-to-operate/use digital ecosystem, it helps to create a timeline to keep track of the targets to be reached and the milestones to be completed. This way, when you don’t reach a target/milestone in time, you can identify if there’s any inefficiency or glitch in the systems and processes you’ve implemented and work on rectifying it.

Visualise your roadmap to success and work on sticking to the timeframe you’ve created for yourself.

Choose the right tools, processes and procedures to support your new venture

It’s important to remember that what may work for one digital ecosystem may not work for another and that using the right tools and processes is the difference between a successful digital ecosystem and an unsuccessful one.

The right IT infrastructure, facilities, algorithms, integrations and processes will drive interoperability in your digital ecosystem. They will make operations more efficient and less time-consuming. This is especially beneficial in a digital ecosystem.

Fraught with many real-time challenges and operating in a highly dynamic and demanding digital market, the right tools become essential to the survival and proper functioning of your digital business.

Benchmark, QA, test, repeat

Finally, a very important step in nurturing your new digital ecosystem is to identify what challenges, bottlenecks and roadblocks your team encounters, which reduce the operational efficiency and mar the performance of your digital ecosystem.

Speak to your team and set up benchmarks that are achievable by every individual working on your digital ecosystem. Collaboration is important even in QA and testing. Conduct an A/B testing until you create an ecosystem that thrives in your digital space.

 

4 Tips to Improve a Digital Ecosystem You’ve Already Set Up

Make your ecosystem more interactive and collaborative

An interactive and engaging digital ecosystem is a pleasure to work with. When you make your digital business more fun to be around, prospects will automatically flock to you. Studies show that a business can retain over 89% of its customers by having an engaging digital ecosystem.

Creating an interactive digital ecosystem isn’t just about implementing the right tools. True, a creatively-placed application, bot or prompt can do wonders for the performance of your digital ecosystem. But, it’s equally important to improve your brand image and visibility by actively sharing content and discount codes across platforms, sending well-targeted emails and utilisng offline promotional campaigns in your digital marketing.

Transparency and traceability are paramount

A common misconception that people have about transparency and traceability is that it has only to do with physical products and consumables. But it’s equally important to make your digital ecosystem as transparent as possible.

In a digital setting, it’s easy for anti-social elements to engage in fraud, financial and identity thefts. It becomes important for businesses to assure their prospects and customers that every single process, software, tool and digital offering of their ecosystem is completely traceable and transparent.

Complete visibility into the organisation’s operations and an assurance of client-company confidentiality will allow your customers to trust you and trust their business with you.

Don’t think complete overhaul, consider minor enhancements

Your digital system can be hard to nurture if you constantly seek to make massive amends through a complete overhaul. Instead, focus on small modifications and minor changes which can help improve the digital experience for the customer

Identifying the areas that require immediate attention and allowing the rest to function as they are (for the time being), will help organisations save time, money and effort in maintaining their digital ecosystems.

Research shows that 52% of a digital business’ customers are put-off by a bad mobile experience. So, if your mobile application was plagued with bugs and resulted in an uncomfortable user experience, fixing the identified bugs and designing a responsive system will work much better than engaging in a complete overhaul of all application features.

Consider an omnichannel approach

A common mistake that marketers commit is overlying on a single channel. Doing so will give you a biased visibility into the market. For example, choosing only social media to connect with audiences may lead to your missing out on clients who can be better reached via email.

Additionally, focusing solely on the digital side and ignoring the physical, brick-and-mortar side of the business may discourage prospects and customers from interacting with you digitally. This then defeats the purpose of setting up a digital ecosystem.

An omnichannel approach to marketing will do wonders to the performance of your digital ecosystem.