Small and midsize businesses (SMBs) must overcome plenty of hurdles to compete in the global digital marketplace. One common challenge is in trying to develop and maintain effective digital marketing strategies. The difficulty lies in the fact that the average SMB lacks the resources and creative staff needed to stay on top of a marketing landscape that’s always in flux.
To maximize their limited resources and achieve the greatest ROI for their marketing budgets, there are several key steps that SMB owners must take. From the planning stage all the way to efficacy tracking and conversion, finding the right mix of efficiency, creativity, and execution holds the key to driving growth and finding continuing success. It’s a business imperative that cannot be ignored.
Have clarity of purpose
The first step needed to create and implement a winning digital marketing strategy is to come up with a clearly defined set of goals and document everything thoroughly. If the overall strategy has several goals, it should be segmented in order to give each individual part of the plan a specific desired outcome. The end result should be similar to a typical organizational chart.
The main benefit to making this the first priority is that it will ensure that everyone involved, from the executive level down, knows exactly what needs to be done and who will be executing each step. This helps to eliminate wasted effort and duplicative work. It’s also an excellent way to decide on how to staff up in order to manage and execute the plan.
Hire the right specialists
If the organization is large enough to warrant having a full-time marketing staff, there should already be employees who can tackle the tasks that comprise the plan. If not, it will be necessary to explore options for outsourcing the work. There are two primary routes to accomplishing this. The obvious one is to contract the work to an outside agency. Making the decision to do this will depend on having the budget to pay the premium that an agency entails, and on having the comfort level required to take a hands-off approach.
The other way to bring in the talent needed to execute the marketing plan is to use freelancers. Doing so will require more management from inside the organization, but usually costs less than an agency and allows for a more granular level of control. There are several ways to find exactly the right people for the job, and the best place to find an outsourcer will depend upon which tasks need to be delegated to outside staff.
Measure the results
As the marketing plan comes to fruition, attention should turn towards determining how successful the efforts are. The good news is that the effects of digital marketing are typically easy to track. The challenge is that the average digital marketing plan spans several platforms and devices. This is where the original documented marketing plan becomes vital once again.
Using the original goals stated in the marketing plan, such as lead generation or direct sales, it is possible to work backwards through the marketing efforts to find which parts have the desired impact. Making use of analytical tools will provide all of the insight an SMB needs into what is working and what isn’t. SMBs have a great advantage over their larger competitors because they tend to be more nimble and able to react quickly to the needs of their market. Using the data generated by a digital marketing plan is an excellent way to maximize the effect.
Adapt to succeed
After establishing a clear and precise marketing plan with measurable goals, finding the right people to make it happen, and analyzing the results, there’s an invaluable opportunity to make changes. SMBs should never be afraid to drop efforts that aren’t working in favor of others that achieve quicker success. This is the best way to make sure that every dollar spent provides a real boost to the bottom line.
After a few rounds of these changes, what’s left should be an effective, efficient engine that drives growth and furthers business goals. It will be a constantly evolving plan that grows with the business and stays relevant as marketing trends change. In today’s economy, it’s the best investment that any SMB can make.
To learn more about the latest trends in digital marketing, check out New Realities In The Ever-Evolving Art And Science Of Modern Marketing.