How to Create a Digital Marketing Strategy for Your Small Business

small business team planning content marketing strategy

Looking to easily create an effective digital marketing strategy for your small business?

As a small business owner, you understand the importance of getting the word out about your business. Today’s digital landscape offers several user-friendly and cost-effective tools any small business can utilize to increase sales and find success. However, to get started in the right direction it’s important to develop a strategy. In this article we discuss the key components of a successful digital marketing strategy, along with tactics to keep in mind when creating your marketing budget.
 

Define your goal

First and foremost, you need to identify a marketing goal that aligns with your business goals. This will serve as a guide for your marketing efforts, including design, messaging, and tactics.

Example: A bakery wants to become the best cupcake delivery source in town. All your marketing work and investments should support this goal. It will be tempting to create a message that covers every aspect of your business; however, setting one goal will provide you with the focus you need to get started. In the bakery example, they may have great sour dough bread along with cupcakes but referring to both will dilute their messaging.
 

Create Measurable Objectives

Your objectives are specific, measurable activities that bring you closer to reaching your goal. Having defined objectives gives you the ability to see how your marketing efforts are helping, or impeding, progress toward your goal.

Example: The bakery has an objective of increasing online transactions. This is an ideal objective because it is measurable and allows the company to track their progress.
 

Identify Your Audience

Who is your customer? Before you can decide what channels, tactics, and campaigns will work best to achieve your goal, it is important to identify who you are trying to reach. By identifying your audience, you’ll be able to identify implementable tactics and the channels you can utilize to reach the right person in the right place.

Example: The bakery should identify those who would be likely to want cupcakes delivered.
 

Create a Budget

Create a budget and stick to it. Unless you started a marketing company, the majority of your time will be spent focused on your actual business and focusing on your product or service. In terms of marketing your business, start small and grow from there. A good rule of thumb is to allocate 5-8% of your revenue on marketing.

Example: The bakery sets aside 5% of revenue and starts to consider tactics and channels that fit within that budget and aligns with their audience and objectives.

Below are a few key cost considerations to assess when creating a budget.
 
  • Go Digital. With consumers spending many hours a day on their smartphones, having a digital presence is not only important, but it can also be a more cost-effective approach to marketing than traditional options like direct mail or outdoor advertising. Today there a several options for brands creating a digital presence. A website, Google Search efforts, email campaigns, and social media are all effective digital avenues for small business.
  • Get Social. Creating social media accounts for your business is a relatively easy and low-cost way to build your marketing presence. It allows you to showcase your business, as well as creating a direct communication channel with clients and prospects. Explore multiple channels to determine what makes the most sense based on your business goals and audience. For example, video is one of the most consumed types of content online. So don’t overlook channels such as YouTube or Tik Tok.
  • Create a website. A website is a vital tool for marketing. While websites vary in cost, there are several low-cost options and even free resources available to you, such as Wix or Wordpress.
  • Get Creative. While your skills might not align with that of a graphic designer and your budget may not allow for a full design team, that doesn’t mean polished, professional design is out of reach. There are several online tools like Canva, for example, that make creating content for social postings less daunting.
  • Know When to Outsource. At some point you will find it is easier to hire a professional, instead of trying to do all of the marketing efforts yourself. Tactics like Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Paid Search, Paid Social and other paid digital advertising can be complex and require trained expertise and continued monitoring. If your marketing budget allows, consider hiring a freelancer or marketing agency to help you grow and improve your strategy.
  • Track Your Budget: Finally, when it comes to budgeting, the most important thing you can do is have a clear and accurate picture of how your money is being spent. Resources like your bank’s online banking or mobile app or a Microsoft business budget tracking template may help you stay on track.
 

Develop Tactics

Taking into consideration, goals, budget, and resourcing, prioritize what tactics and channels would help you best reach your goals. Work to build your presence via 1 or 2 of your channels you identify as your most critical before expanding and investing in new channels.

Once you have a strong foundation, you can expand your digital strategy based on your intended audience and business goals. This could include tactics such as organic content, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), and email marketing. Keep your budget top-of-mind as you expand your reach and be sure to nurture the tactics that are showing the highest return, rather than spreading yourself too thin.

Example: The bakery could develop an email marketing program that reminds their existing customers that it’s possible to order online, while also targeting other people or businesses in the area.

If you have a strong foundation and are looking to increase your marketing spend, paid media is a great way to round out your strategy. Paid media utilizes external marketing efforts with paid placement. It can be an effective way to expand brand reach with tactics such as pay per click on search or display ads.
 

Analyze Performance

In order to continue to drive success and find ways to be more efficient with your time and money, it , is important to measure the performance and growth of your digital media. Set checkpoints, for example, weekly KPI (key performance indicator) monitoring, budget pacing, a quarterly creative refresh and A/B testing, to see what is working and what is not. Apply what you learn to your marketing output and be prepared to continuously adapt and improve. There will be a learning curve; you may make mistakes, but your marketing will improve overtime as you learn your customers more and make informed decisions.

Example: The bakery could evaluate the effectiveness of their email program and see if there is a correlation between sending emails and receiving orders. If the results aren’t significant they may consider tweaking their messaging, or testing different email variations.
 

Get Going

Marketing your small business may seem overwhelming at first, but by setting reachable goals and making a clear plan, you’ll find the path to marketing a lot less confusing. One of the tenets of marketing is too keep your messaging simple, and when it comes to digital marketing keeping it simple will go a long way for your business too.

  • This content is general in nature and provided for informational use only. Content may be used in connection with the advertising and marketing of products and services offered by SouthState Bank, N.A. and its subsidiaries and affiliates. This is not to be considered legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment advice. You should seek individualized advice from personal financial, legal, tax and/or other professionals, as appropriate depending on the specific facts of your situation. We do not make any warranties as to the completeness or accuracy of this information and have no liability for your use of this information.

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