November 9th, 2016
Every small business owner has heard about the importance of digital marketing, but what does this mean? Sure, digital marketing is essential to reaching out to your audience, yet many small business owners face similar challenges when faced with making marketing-related decisions. How do you begin to form a digital marketing strategy? What are the best ways to spend your marketing budget? You are not alone: we’re willing to bet your concerns lie within the three most common digital marketing challenges shared by most small and medium sized businesses (SMBs). That’s why we’re here to walk you through practical solutions so you can start taking action for your business.
SMBs only have so many employees, each with their own sets of responsibilities. Managing a company blog, posting on a consistent basis, or digging through analytics reports is time-consuming, and requires attention to detail to understand what changes need to be made to your campaigns. If no one at your company is familiar with marketing, taking the time to educate yourselves through online resources, videos and courses only adds to the time commitment. Simply put, digital marketing requires a team of professionals with very different skillsets, something that your or your staff may not be able to commit to.
Ease the strain by hiring someone to help you digital marketing, even if they are supplementing your internal efforts. Turn to digital marketing agencies, especially one that offers a roster of employees with expertise that your internal employees don’t have. Qualified professionals will take the time to turn your small business goals into actionable steps and ease your concerns about marketing efforts not yielding desired results. Digital marketing buzzwords like “content creation” and “click-through rates” will make much more sense with experts guiding you along the way!
For many small business owners, tight marketing budgets come from not fully understanding the benefits of marketing or feeling that the money would be wasted. Will your search engine ads get lost in a sea of information? Will people read the blog post you just spent hours on? In other words, you want to see a return on your investment.
While social media gets all the attention these days, email marketing continues to deliver the highest ROI figures among all digital marketing strategies. Consider using emails for seasonal promotions, building awareness around your business’s new product or service, or for reaching out to new customers. Marketing automation software makes it easy to schedule email campaigns and to test out different templates to see which headlines or content resonates with your recipients the most.
Many SMBs are running with limited resources and a small staff, so expertise in digital marketing is not often a top priority in hiring. Because of this, it’s recommended that SMBs work with experts to build a strategy that identifies realistic long-term goals, and measures against these goals on a regular basis – this is the only way to ensure you are seeing the right return on your investment. There’s a reason why big businesses spend 12-20% of their gross revenue on marketing, and that’s because it’s effective. Even if your SMB isn’t ready to spend that amount on marketing right now, you should make sure the dollars that you do spend are going to the right place to maximize ROI.
You’ve likely been told that your small business should have a social media presence, which is true. However, understanding how these platforms work can quickly become overwhelming, and research can make it worse. Should you create a Twitter account for your small business when some are decrying the platform is old news? Do you focus your attention on one channel, or spread across everything available?
Despite common criticism, Facebook and Twitter are still around for a reason. Millions of potential customers use these platforms on a daily basis . Also remember that platforms have different audiences. LinkedIn, the leading professional social network, actually pulls in more leads than other platforms (especially for B2B companies, where 80% of social media leads come from). The key to getting the most out of social media is making sure you’re on the platforms that match the demographics of your target audience. Identify one or two platforms to start off with and see how they work. Remember you can always expand to other platforms in the future or drop one that isn’t resonating with your audiences.
There are many options available to spread the word to potential customers about your business. Depending on your time constraints and budget, you can try out advertising on search engines, creating videos for sharing and more. No matter the avenues you decide to pursue, remember digital marketing lends itself to being highly measurable. The number of people reading your latest blog post can be tracked via website analytics; advertising platforms like Google AdWords offer data on who’s clicking your ads. Your budget and time can always be evaluated and redirected toward methods that work. Businesses of all sizes have enjoyed success with digital marketing. It’s time to add yours to that list.
Author Bio: Andrew Lovasz is the CEO of Main Path Marketing, a leading digital marketing firm providing enterprise level solutions to SMB and mid-market companies. He has 17 years of experience as an executive in the digital marketing industry, with clients ranging from Verizon Wireless to thousands of small and mid-market car dealers, restaurants and hotels. Mr. Lovasz won Google’s 2015 SMB Premier Partner Mobile Champion award for his team’s efforts in optimizing digital marketing campaigns for mobile devices. His efforts brought cutting edge online to offline attribution to prove that digital marketing led to increases in real world sales. Most recently he served as the SVP of Marketing Strategy for Search Optics where he focused on driving measurable results for SMB and mid-market companies.
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