Unleashing the Power of Digital Marketing for Small Businesses
In the grand tapestry of commerce, every business has unique marketing requirements. However, there are fundamental steps that can be implemented universally to boost digital marketing endeavors. This basic strategy for digital marketing should serve as a guide for start-ups and businesses aiming to weave digital marketing into their overall promotional framework.
Three considerations stand out when devising your digital marketing strategy:
The elements of your campaign should be low-risk, implying minimal cost with high success rates. This could include creating a website, executing an SEO or PPC campaign, and more.
The elements of your campaign should be scalable to grow along with your business.
Each segment of your campaign should be easily jettisoned if necessary. This safeguards you from being entrapped in long-term commitments that aren't yielding results.
You should have provisions to monitor each segment of your campaign in order to calculate return on investment (ROI).
Your digital marketing strategy needs to be cost-efficient, flexible enough to adapt with your business growth, capable of tracking performance and easily exitable if necessary. Having a solid plan is key for ensuring the sustainability and success of your business beyond the initial years.
Low risk, high ROI Digital Marketing Plan
A website is indispensable. You might need to revamp any existing websites so that they are mobile-friendly, resource-rich and at par with those of competing businesses. It's recommended that you meticulously evaluate various designers before choosing one - reviewing their portfolio, interfacing with previous clients and comparing pricing options. There's great variation in prices among different firms; it's important to remember that higher prices don't necessarily translate into superior websites. A straightforward 20-page website with minimal programming requirements should ideally be within the $3,000 range. It's crucial that the design firm is reliable as the website forms the backbone of your digital marketing plan.
Once you have chosen a design company, it's time to find an SEO company. It's a common mistake to wait till the website is fully designed before engaging an SEO company. An SEO company ensures that your newly designed website is search engine friendly. Failing to do so can be time-consuming and expensive in the long run. Website design companies claiming expertise in SEO should be handled with caution - those which prioritize SEO are likely to yield better results.
It's imperative that you exercise caution while choosing an SEO company as many tend to be unqualified or unethical. The truly skilled ones constitute only about one in ten professionals in this field. You need patience and thoroughness - consult with their customers, study their ranking samples, and delve into technical specifics over and above sales pitches. This diligence will pay off significantly as mastering SEO is a cornerstone of any digital marketing plan; it usually provides the highest overall ROI among all digital marketing components. Keep in mind that for new businesses or websites, it might take a few months for the benefits of SEO efforts to materialize.
Next on your agenda should be setting up a PPC Campaign, preferably using Google AdWords. While Google AdWords can potentially drive significant business growth, it can also rapidly deplete your finances if not managed well due to its complicated nature; hence it’s better handled by experts. PPC serves two main purposes - providing immediate business and facilitating growth management; this is beneficial as SEO generally takes time to kickstart.
SEO and PPC should form the core of your digital marketing strategy; they are instrumental for your business success if executed correctly and should be mastered before considering other digital marketing tasks.
Higher Risk Digital Marketing Tasks
Once you have effectively managed SEO (organic, PPC), you can venture into other digital marketing options like Social Media, ReTargeting, Banner Advertising (Display ads) and Blogging. These trending sectors have potential for profitability.
Blogging/Content marketing - Blogs can help expand your website's footprint. More content means more visibility. This also aids in establishing your business as a credible online authority. It's important that the blog content is high quality and it could be beneficial if business owners or key personnel contribute to the writing process. If outsourcing is necessary, ensure that the company produces high-quality content that offers value to visitors.
Social Media - Not many companies successfully execute social media campaigns despite its hype. Social media could be highly effective under specific circumstances but not all businesses might benefit from it. Consider this scenario: A pipe bursts and water floods your basement; are you likely to search for a plumber on Twitter or Facebook? More often than not, you would perform a quick Google search on your smartphone; hence the importance of SEO or PPC over social media in emergency situations. However, social media does have its benefits - it provides a platform for customers to interact with your business and happy customers could recommend your business to their network thereby enhancing your online reputation. In case of limited resources, we recommend either hiring an upscale social media agency or managing social media in-house while ensuring regular activity (at least two posts per month).
ReTargeting works best for complex sales cycles and large companies with established brands; it might not work as well for small or new businesses. PPC generally offers better ROI than other methods so consider ReTargeting only after maximizing PPC potential.
Display Advertising - Historically, CPM-based banner ads haven't performed well and maintaining a profitable campaign can be challenging. While larger, established companies might fare better than smaller businesses with newer brands in this sector, it's not the most advisable place to start. If interested in display advertising, consider using Google AdWords where you pay per click rather than per month; also ensure that your campaign is trackable and you can monitor ROI for each display network.
These are the main components of a digital marketing strategy. While there are several other options, we recommend starting with these tested and proven technologies before venturing into new territory. This way, you would master these components and gain insight into what works best for your business.
If starting a digital marketing business from scratch seems daunting, SharpNet Solutions is here to assist you on this journey.