5 Steps: Small Business Digital Marketing Strategy - 2018
A digital marketing strategy is important for every small business seeking further growth, but how do you create an effective strategy that drives sales?
Without a digital marketing strategy today, your small business is losing out on potential brand building and customer acquisitions. It's time to change that in 2018!
In 2017, more business developed a digital marketing strategy with the purpose of reaching new customers but came up short. This happened when you fail to clearly state your goals and follow through with actionable tasks that produce results.
What Is An Effective Digital Marketing Strategy?
A digital marketing strategy is simply a plan for your next integrated marketing efforts. It's not as complicated as many entrepreneurs will think. To better get prepared, see your digital marketing strategy as a key to setting up tasks that can reasonably be completed over a period of time with a specific goal in mind.
When you start planning your business' digital marketing strategy, you are much closer to achieving your goals, as your strategy will guide you through the process of performing the necessary duties.
A clear example: Your primary goal is to generate leads this year, so you developed a digital marketing strategy to align your goals using a road-map that included your daily tasks until you completely implement your strategy.
5 steps Small businesses can implement for an effective digital marketing strategy.
1. Define Your Digital marketing Goals
You will need to define the goals for your small business, so you can better understand the preceding steps to achieve your overall digital marketing strategy.
- How will your small business benefit from your strategic approach?
- How will you put your plan into actionable pieces?
As you ask these questions, keep an open eye for the right answer. With the right questions, you will better understand how a digital marketing strategy can help you, based on your findings.
2. Analyze Your Business Data
Analysis should help you learn more about your:
- Target Audience
- Small Business Niche
- Business Goals
- Existing Assets/Customer
It may be a good idea to start by creating buyer personas, a sample of the customers you are trying to reach. The analysis of their profiles, their needs, their expectations can help you reach them more effectively, so there’s no need to ignore this step.
You can also start by analyzing your existing assets and the digital marketing channels to find what you have already achieved, what works, and what can be improved.
Paid media refers to what you have acquired through paid promotion and it may include Google AdWords, paid social posts, native advertising and anything else that included an increased visibility through an additional payment for it.
Use each platform to analyse its success and decide on which ones to focus on, depending on the goals, the budget, or the effectiveness of each one.
This refers to the digital assets that your business owns. It includes your website, your social presence, your blog, your visual content and anything else that belongs to your business.
Your owned channels are a vital part of your digital marketing strategy, as they are the starting point for your existing presence and what can be achieved while growing it.
Earned media refers to what you have gained from others about your business and it may include reviews, mentions, shares, PR coverage, guest posts and anything else that was earned through word-of-mouth.
An analysis of your most successful earned media can offer a great understanding of your next steps regarding your digital marketing strategy and how to reach your goals through the most effective sources.
3. Make Plans Into The Future
The documentation of the goals and the existing assets leads to the actual planning of the digital marketing strategy.
- How can you turn the goals into actions?
- What are the main priorities once you start with digital marketing?
- Which channels should you use?
- How many members will your campaign need?
- Can you describe both your short and long term goals?
A digital marketing calendar can be useful to help you with the planning of your next steps and it may also help you track the milestones of your efforts and the pending actions for each campaign.
Moreover, there are many types of plans that can facilitate your digital marketing strategy, with each one having a different use:
- Weekly and daily operational plans
- Campaign plans
- Annual plans
- Long-term vision
Each plan contributes towards your ultimate goals and even if it seems time consuming to create them, the rewards may help your business stand out from its competitors.
According to HubSpot, only 42% of businesses create an annual plan for digital marketing, and the percentage is even smaller (10%) when counting the ones that think of a long term plan.
This may be justified by the constant changes in digital marketing, but it may still be useful to set a draft plan for the years ahead to help your business have a broader goal in mind.
4. Build a Project Execution Strategy
This is the step where planning becomes action. The more detailed the plan, the higher the chances to to enjoy its execution and avoid any surprises.
When a campaign is ready to launch, the team should be ready to collaborate to complete the tasks and ensure that the goals will be met. Previous planning is always useful, but this doesn’t mean that it should be followed in every detail.
During the execution of your digital marketing strategy, there should always be room for experimentation, creativity, or even reaction if there’s a last minute change.
- Is there a channel that doesn’t work as you expected?
- Did you find a new opportunity that could benefit your campaign?
- Is there any change to your set goals?
- Do you really know your audience?
If you’re hesitating for any of the above questions, you can still adjust your digital marketing strategy during its execution, provided that all the team is flexible to proceed to the necessary changes.
5. Measure All Digital Marketing Actions
The measurement of your digital marketing efforts can occur in every stage, from the planning and the definition of the KPIs, to the execution and the analysis of what works and what needs to be improved in your digital marketing strategy.
There’s no need to measure the actions that do not bring you closer to your goals, which means that you should focus on the metrics that can help you understand whether your plan is closer to be successful. This may even lead to a confusion, or a misinterpretation of what is considered as successful measurement, leading to wrong conclusions.
A clear definition of your KPIs can help you measure your digital marketing strategy and analyse what brings you closer to your goals and what needs to be improved.
Once you realize how much you need a digital marketing strategy, changing your marketing approach can be the first step towards improving your small business and acquiring new customers along the way. This can only be effective when you invest the time, and create a working budget for digital marketing campaigns.
See how you can develop a working strategy for your small business with a digital marketing expert.