How to Develop a Digital Marketing Strategy for Small Businesses

Digital marketing has amazing potential for returning your investment. In fact, most small businesses are investing more into digital channels year on year, and most of them are happy with the results they are seeing.

The key to success lies in developing a digital marketing strategy for your small business that you can both execute and afford and that will help you get where you want to be over time. Let’s take a look at the steps you need to take to ensure your strategy works in the long run.

Understand Your Goals

You will first need to set yourself a few digital marketing goals. Common ones include improving brand awareness, increasing sales, or boosting engagement, but you can set other goals as well.

Goal setting is arguably the most important step of your strategy, as it will determine your future steps. For example, if you decide you want to get as many eyes on a campaign as possible, you won’t do it by investing in SEO, which is a slow-burning tactic. Instead, you’ll do some PPC advertising or email marketing.

If your goal is to sell an ecommerce business in the next five years, you will need to ensure you generate some decent earnings, for example. If you want to build a brand that competes with household names, you will need to plan ahead, and so on.

Define Your USP

Once you know what you want to achieve, you should ensure you understand what makes you unique. Even if you are offering a service or selling a product that is already widely available, you need a selling point that will differentiate you from your competition. You need to be different in some way.

This doesn’t mean you need to develop something brand new. You just need to find an angle to sell from. You may offer amazing customer service or free overnight shipping. Perhaps you are able to film great content that offers real help to your audience.

Once you define your USP, you can use it when defining all of the elements of your digital marketing campaigns.

Create Buyer Personas

Defining your target audience very clearly and specifically and creating buyer personas that will help you understand how to market to them is another important strategic step. If you market to everyone, you will end up marketing to no one. The more specific your message and the more tailored it is to a specific kind of person, the higher the chance of success.

Try to imagine everything you can about this person. Where do they like to spend time online, what kinds of messages do they respond to best, and what are they looking for from a product or service like yours?

Design Your Sales Funnel

A clever sales funnel will help you ensure that you’re pushing the right marketing materials to the right members of your target audience at the right time.

For example, you don’t want someone who has never heard of your brand before to first see a very detailed and complex post about the way to use a specific aspect of your product. You want them to understand why they need it in the first place.

Creating a funnel will take time, and you will need to consider all the different aspects of your proposed marketing strategy. There will likely be a lot of trial and error involved as well, so make sure you keep refining your funnel as you go.

Determine a Budget Early On

The one thing that most small businesses manage to get wrong is the budget they set aside for digital marketing. Either they believe they need to be paying truly extortionate sums and end up overspending on services and tactics, or they invest too little in a campaign and thus prevent it from succeeding.

Make sure to understand just what a specific tactic is expected to cost, and then talk to as many experts as you can and see what they charge for their services. You will often come across freelancers who are really good at what they do but don’t yet have the confidence or the years of work to back up very high prices.

If you decide to do some of your own marketing, make sure you don’t get in over your head. Only take on what you can truly achieve.

Analyze Your Competition

Competitor analysis should serve as guidance rather than a blueprint. You don’t need to do what everyone else is doing, nor is there a guarantee that others’ tactics will work for you.

What you need to do is understand what others are investing in marketing and what their angles are. This will help you determine what you can do to outmatch them and how best to invest your own resources.

Analyze the competitors that are at the same level as you are, but also make sure to check out the top player in your industry. They can help you set some valuable benchmarks for the future.

Refine as You Go

Finally, don’t forget that you also need to remain flexible and keep refining your digital marketing strategy as you go. What is working today may not continue to work in a years’ time, so don’t just blindly follow any path you set out for yourself.

Some of your initial assumptions may turn out to be wrong as well, or you may see some unexpected success. So, always keep track of your important metrics and keep rejigging your tactics when necessary.

Your competitor’s tactics will keep changing as well. Always keep one eye on them periodically so you don’t miss out on a fresh opportunity you can utilize.

Final Thoughts

Developing a digital marketing strategy for your small business will take time. However, if you invest this time early on, you will start to see results sooner rather than later.

About the Author:

Sarah KaminskiSarah Kaminski is a business manager and social media marketer. She works with a number of small businesses to build their brands through more engaging marketing and content. Twitter – @SarahKaminski10

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