One of the items we regularly do with our clients is something we call a “Digital Road Map”, and while I’m not going to pitch you on hiring us to do one for you, I am going to shed a little light on our own process in the hopes that if you are going it alone, or even with another vendor, you might be able to deploy some of this strategy into your own process.

With every new year there is always a focus on renewal. I suspect 2011 will be no different and at least digitally speaking, beginning a new project can be a major challenge. In fact, you could even argue that the more you know about digital, the harder the project can potentially become.

The Digital Road Map typically goes in a few different directions, but it ultimately serves as a primer for how the entire project will proceed. Based on a few different attributes including the scope of the entire project as well as the appetite of client we put the Road Map together to get all parties on the same page.

One of the great features of the Road Map is that it has the ability to change based on discoveries as well as the introduction of added elements in each project. You too should employ this level of flexibility into your Road Map. Unlike the actual deliverables which are based on both the Road Map as well as the final agreement, often times when conducting research, some great discoveries are made, and you’ll want to make sure that your Road Map has the flexibility to incorporate these discoveries into your plan. Also, often times in viewing the Digital Road Map you might find that priorities have shifted, which again is a big benefit of taking the time to map out your project.

So here is a loose breakdown of some of the areas a Digital Road Map can cover:

Client Needs: What is the primary need for the new project?
Research: How do you know what to build without putting the time in to research your project? Don’t skimp on this part because while conducting your research you are going to make some of your best discoveries.
Wire Framing: Here at Gadarian Digital we like a company called Lucidchart for this but there are other companies out there as well.
Web Site Development: It is important to break this part down in particular. People always think they know exactly what a website is, and what it does, but not all websites are equal. Do you need something specific with photos, are videos a big component, how about a blog?
Social Media Mix: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr. Customization? This area is white hot right now – take the time to make sure you are utilizing a strategy that makes sense for your business rather than using what you saw on last weeks Fortune Magazine.
Email Marketing: We like MailChimp (disclaimer – this is an affiliate link) but there are a number of really good email providers. Will you require any customization? If you are building your site out yourself, is this an area you’ll want to outsource for?
Time Frame: How long will this project take?
Measurement: Google Analytics is a great choice here – and it’s free! If you are using social media, you’ll want to measure there as well. How much time, energy and budget do you want to devote to this particular aspect of your digital presence?
Advertising Methods and Ad Budget: There are plenty of options to choose from in this regard. Google AdWords and Facebook Advertising are only the surface.
SEO: Not something we do here at Gadarian Digital but it is certainly an important area to consider – Google still matters…
Goals: What are the goals.
Philosophy: How are you planning on blogging, on Tweeting, on using Facebook etc – what is the way you are going to portray your company?

And while each Digital Road Map is different, one of the many great benefits of putting together a Digital Road Map for your upcoming project is that it will enable you to have a much better understanding of what you are doing, how your are going to do it, and also why it is that you are doing the things that you are doing. Also, I should say that this is not everything that will go into your Digital Road Map, but it the above list will certainly go a long way towards getting you started.

Hope that helps.

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