Digital Marketing Strategy for your Small Business.
No two companies are the same and therefore no two digital marketing strategies should be the same, but all strategies should be aimed at achieving the same basic result:
Getting the right message to the right person at the right time.
Any Digital Marketing Strategy should be based on sound Marketing Research and be aimed around the specific needs of your customer.
The more you know about who your Ideal Customer is, your Buyers Persona and Why they employ your product or service the better marketing strategy you can develop.
If you do not know WHO your customer is how can you target the Right Person, how will you know Where your customer is, how will you know what Message your customer needs to hear.
Every step of a Marketing Strategy should be taken with the customer in mind.
What is a Digital Marketing Strategy
Do you ever find yourself arriving at work in the morning and thinking, What shall I do today? That's a clear sign that you probably don't have a Plan in place, and as the old saying goes...Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail.
While it's not necessary to know exactly what you are going to do every second of every day it is essential to have goals in place for set periods of time.
A digital marketing strategy is broken into time periods with specific goals for each period. The long term goal may be to increase business by 100% over 5 years, but it will be necessary to break this down into medium and short term goals that allows for assessment and course corrections.
A weekly goal may be to generate 1 quality Blog post that addresses a specific pain point your customers may experience and make daily posts on Social Media, while a monthly goal may be to generate one good quality eBook that can be used as Gated Content to convert site visitors into Leads. A quarterly goal may be to increase web visitors by 5% and conversions by 10% and an Annual goal may be to increase overall business by 15%.
By breaking our goals down into smaller steps we can track the effectiveness of our strategy in short time periods and make the necessary adjustments based on actual results thereby ensuring we stay on track to achieve our long term goals.
Goals should be SMART:
Specific, A goal must be worded in such a manner as to be easily understood i.e. 100% business growth in 5 years.
Measurable, How do you know if you are on the right course to achieve goals if they cannot be measured.
Achievable, making your goals too easy may cause complacency, but making your goals unachievable will result in a feeling of hopelessness. Make your goals challenging, but achievable.
Realistic, goals must be within reason, is it something that can be achieved given your limited resources.
Timely, it's important to have time limits on goals to create a sense of urgency.
A digital marketing strategy is basically a Plan based on Marketing Research and developed to achieve optimal results within the realistic limitations of your company. It includes the management of available resources, the usage of digital marketing platforms and tools and the setting of goals with measurable KPI's.
Factors that affect your Digital Marketing Strategy
There are numerous factors that will affect your Digital Marketing Strategy. Many factors change from time to time requiring that you make allowances in your planning for these events.
It is advised that you set aside 20% of your resources to allow for sudden and unexpected changes or requests.
You could lose a key staff member, new platforms or technologies become available, your competitors change their strategy and my personal favourite which happens in all companies is the CEO or CMO wants something done urgently.
No plan is perfect nor can it predict every single day to day requirement, you are going to hit bumps along the way so allow for these events by building some flexibility into your strategy.
Below are some of the factors that will affect your Digital Marketing Strategy:
- The nature of your business. This can be broadly divided into B2B and B2C with some companies operating in both categories as a B2B2C. B2B companies generally have a longer sales cycle requiring more of a Lead Generation approach.
- The nature of your product or service. Your marketing strategy will vary dramatically depending on the Price and Complexity of your product. The sales cycle for some products is quite short whereas other products or services may require a lengthy sales cycle involving numerous touch points and Lead Nurturing.
- The size of your business, a marketing strategy will differ for a Micro business versus a Small, Medium or Large enterprise. A small local business will follow a different tactic to a large international company.
- Your available resources in terms of people, time and budget. The rule of thumb for calculating a companies overall marketing budget is anything from 5% of turnover during periods of consolidation to 10% during periods of growth, a start up company would probably be considerably higher. This budget includes all aspects of marketing i.e. Salaries, Brochures, Business Cards, Events, Paid Advertising and Digital Marketing etc.
- The geographical area or areas in which your company operates. Are you local, national or international?
- Your target market. Who is your ideal customer and Buyers Persona's. In my case my ideal customer is the upper half of Micro Businesses and the lower end of the Small Business with my Buyers Personas being the CEO, Owner, Partner, Marketing Manger and possibly even the CMO.
- Your overall Digital Marketing Strategy will largely depend upon your company's specific goals and marketing cycles. Every company goes through periods of Consolidation and Growth.
- The nature of your industry, do you operate in a highly competitive or regulated industry, certain platforms do not permit advertising of some regulated products or services?
- Your competitors, it's imperative to be aware of who your competitors are and what they are doing to be able to react accordingly. Digital marketing is a constant race to stay ahead of your competitors. You cannot afford to stand still for a minute, what worked well for you in the past may no longer be effective at all. I've been in the digital marketing game for over a decade now and I've seen some really big changes in that time. It's become extremely competitive and getting your customers attention has become more challenging.
Digital Marketing Strategy for your Micro Business.
Let's first define what a Micro company is: A Micro Enterprise is defined as an enterprise that has fewer than 10 employees and has either an annual turnover and/or annual balance sheet not exceeding €2 million.
The upper half of the Micro business range is my Ideal Client as your overall Marketing Budget falls into the €50 000 to €200 000 per year depending your growth requirements ( based on 5% - 10% of turnover).
It is unlikely that most micro companies will have the budget to pay an experienced Full Time digital marketing person AND be able to spend on actual Advertising, a larger Micro Company may have a junior marketing person in their employ, but both will benefit from the experience and knowledge of a Digital Marketing Consultant.
Bigger marketing agencies are seldom interested in smaller accounts as they have huge overheads to cover so they tend to chase after the Big Spenders and charge a percentage of the Marketing Budget as their fee, this can be anything from 5% to 20% of the advertising spend.
Micro businesses are often limited in terms of resources and don't have time and money to waste. Micro businesses require a well researched digital marketing strategy that squeezes the most value out of every Euro being spent from day one. They need results quickly and there's little time for experimentation and testing on a large scale.
This means having a marketing partner that has a wide experience in different industries and verticals who knows what will work best for you. While every micro business is unique a basic strategy for a micro business could include the following:
1: A well designed and search engine optimised website, the nature of the website will be defined by the nature of your business. Organic traffic is still the best quality website traffic.
2: If you are a local business then a Google My Business account is essential.
3: Well researched quality content that resolves your customers pain points. A separate page per Keyword/phrase.
4: One or two Social Media platforms, chosen according to your Buyers Persona presence on these platforms. Don't under estimate the power of LinkedIn especially for B2B companies as an effective tool for Lead Generation when used properly.
5: An effective method of capturing leads, i.e. a mailing list. On average 96% of your first time website visitors will never return to your website, that's a lot of wasted potential customers. Use gated content to acquire Leads.
6: An effective method of nurturing leads, depending on budget this could include some form of email automation, but manual emailing will suffice for smaller business, just make use of a professional platform such as Mailchimp.
7: A basic CRM (Customer Retention Management system) for keeping information on your customers, Hubspot offers a Free CRM.
8: Budget permitting a range of Paid Ads, developed in accordance with the business needs and goals, small companies rarely have the budget for Brand Awareness advertising and normally concentrate on obtaining relevant targeted traffic and Conversions. It's all about ROI. (Return on Investment).
9: The production of inexpensive videos and info-graphics helps with conversions on the website, website visitors do not always read pages of text, but will watch a video. Most modern smartphones offer relatively good video quality today, just make sure you have sufficient lighting and a quiet room. Power Point is a fairly easy package for generating info graphics.
10: In a smaller business it's important to keep your strategy simple and manageable, don't try to do too much. It's better to do less, but do it well.
Digital Marketing Strategy for your Small Business.
A Small Enterprise is an enterprise that has between 10 and 50 employees and has either an annual turnover and/or an annual balance sheet greater than €2 million and less than €10 million.
The definition of a Small Business allows for considerable variations across the range, a small enterprise at the lower end of the range may be similar to a Micro Business having no internal Marketing Personnel and limited budget, an ideal candidate for a Digital Marketing Consultant. However a Small Enterprise at the larger end of the scale could have an entire Marketing Department with a considerable Budget for Advertising, but they could still lack certain skills that an experienced Digital Marketing Consultant may offer, there may also be times when an extra set of hands are required to cover during peak periods.
It's unlikely that a business of this size will be purely locally orientated, but probably offers services on a national or even international basis with multiple offices. A typical Digital Marketing Strategy for a Small Enterprise may be similar to that of a Micro Enterprise, but require greater scaling, automation and management.
A digital marketing strategy for a Small Enterprise could include:
1: A fairly large and well optimised website with possibly hundreds of pages making use of a CMS. The budget may be available for improved Conversion Rate Optimisation, Lead Generation and User Experience testing.
2: They could be active across numerous Social Media Platforms with a dedicated Social Media expert running the platforms.
3: Live chat and bots make useful tools for bigger companies with the manpower to dedicate to Communicating with your customers, either on sales or support functions. Two way communication and Engagement with customers online.
4: More advanced Automation and Lead Generation platforms using multi-step Pipelines or Click Funnels.
5: Greater integration of various marketing platforms for improved data integrity.
6: A more comprehensive Paid Advertising approach including multiple platforms and ads aimed at the different buyers stages - Awareness - Consideration and Decision. The larger budget enables the bigger companies to out bid the smaller companies for the high value keywords on digital advertising platforms.
7: The budget may allow for greater use of Influencers and other external mediums.
8: Generally the bigger the company the stronger the Brand, bigger companies benefit online from Brand Searches.
Digital Marketing Strategy for a Medium Size Business.
A Medium Enterprise has more than 50, but fewer than 250 employees and an annual turnover of €10 - €50 million or balance sheet of €10 - €43 million.
While a company of this size may have the budget to employ multiple full time internal marketing specialists and/or contract a larger digital marketing agency to execute it's digital marketing plan it's always a good idea to occasionally have an external 3rd party consultant cast a fresh set of eyes over your strategy.
It's human nature when people, even professionals, work on a marketing campaign for a period of years It's very easy to fall into the trap of “This is how we have always done it“ you settle into a routine and it becomes quite difficult to see new opportunities for improvement. You never know what little nuggets might be discovered by getting a fresh perspective on your strategy that can make a huge difference to your overall marketing campaign.
B2B Digital Marketing Strategy.
A B2B Digital Marketing Strategy is normally highly targeted at a specific Ideal Customer. In a B2B environment it is quite common that you will have a clearly defined Ideal Customer, if you manufacture telecommunication equipment then you know that telecommunication companies make up your Ideal Customer or Target Market, if you manufacture shoes then Shoe Shops will be your ideal customer. So naturally you target your marketing strategy at your Ideal Customer.
It's important to understand that there is a difference between your Ideal Customer and your Buyers Persona, your ideal customer could be a company, but your Buyers Persona describes the individual person or people you are most likely to be dealing with within the organisation.
Ultimately all business is the interaction of People, even in B2B, that's why it's so important to know who the right people are within your target market and to develop your approach around these individuals. The more complex or expensive the product the more decision makers are likely to be involved in the process.
One single purchase for an expensive piece of equipment could involve the CEO, an Engineer and the CFO, each person in the decision making chain will have different requirements based on their responsibility, the CEO will want reassurance that it is the right piece of equipment, the Engineer will require technical specs and the CFO will be interested in the financial implications. It's essential that your approach caters for the needs of ALL individuals that may be involved in the buying process of your product or service. One way of achieving this is through good quality content that addresses your customers Pain Points and sets you up as a Thought Leader in your industry.
B2C Digital Marketing Strategy.
Often in B2C marketing you do not have an Ideal Customer, but you may have numerous Buyers Personas. Take the example of the Shoe Shop, you may sell a complete range of Shoes - Mens - Ladies - Kids - Formal - Casual - Hiking - Running etc each product range will have a different Buyers Persona for which you need to cater. If you are local shoe shop you may want to concentrate on creating a strong local presence building up your own Brand. If you decide to go eCommerce then this requires a completely different strategy where you will probably concentrate more on marketing each individual product.
B2C covers such a wide array of business types, each one will benefit from a slightly different Marketing Strategy, but the one thing all effective marketing strategies have in common is the Buyers Persona, you must have good knowledge of your customer, who they are and how to reach them. Marketing is all about getting the right message to the right person at the right time and you cannot do this if you do not know who your customer is.
Digital Marketing Strategy Services I Offer.
I have many years experience designing and developing professional digital marketing strategies for a variety of different companies in a number of verticals, both B2B and B2C.
I give all my projects personal attention and aspire to achieve maximum Return on Investment on a consistent basis for all my clients, within your budget. Your Success is my Business.