Making the right choice for digital marketing strategies can be crucial for your company, especially when you are a small business with a limited budget. Selecting the most appropriate channels to reach the right audience requires lots of research time, in-depth marketing, digital communication, and business management expertise.
Considering the multitude of choices available, even the most experienced business person may have difficulties finding the path towards business success. Every small business owner has probably dealt with these dilemmas: is it worth investing in SEO? Should I opt for Google or Bing Ads campaigns? Which social media channel delivers the most significant impact on ROI?
This is why we have gathered a few ideas and preliminary steps for small business owners and marketers to choose the digital marketing channel that truly matters for their business.
It all starts with a strategy.
Crafting a digital strategy is like building a house: it takes planning, patience, and passion. Right from the beginning, it pays to identify your long-term goals, so you know exactly what you want to achieve. As you progress from inception to roll-out, consider implementing a holistic approach to your digital marketing: not only will this create a conscious mission, but it will offer a great customer experience and will enhance a positive brand image.
Efficiently using the digital tools at your disposal (websites, email marketing lists, social media pages, etc.) will enable you to display a coherent brand image, which will offer your audience a strong impression of what makes you unique.
Define your audience
To present your products or services to the right audience, first, you need to define your buying persona (the profile of your potential/ideal client). Luckily, Facebook offers us some useful tools for that. Using Audience Insights, we can start building the type of person interested in our products/services.
You don’t need an advertising account to use Facebook Audience Insights — all you need is a Facebook profile. We can start with broad options and then narrow down the audiences based on the following information: age, gender, lifestyle, career, relationship status, education level, household, estimated income, interests, online activity, device usage, spending habits.
After creating a relevant portrait of the buyer, this person should be kept in mind whenever you create any content or conduct any marketing activity. The data offered by Facebook Audience Insights is just one of many research methods you should be looking to use to build audience personas. There are many other sources to use, such as Twitter profiles, Google Analytics demographic insights, or published research that has been previously carried out in your industry or niche.
Ask yourself these questions first.
To choose the proper marketing channels for your business, it’s also important to ask yourself these questions:
- Will the marketing channel scale?
Your marketing strategy will probably change as your company develops. Many companies start with SEO first, then develop their strategy and incorporate more channels into their overall marketing strategy. Or, based on your business type, you can start on social media and then expand to email marketing, PPC campaigns and SEO.
Always be prepared to shift your focus, adjust to the ever-changing needs of your growing business and look at your competitors before making marketing decisions.
What will work with your audience?
If you’ve just started your digital marketing journey, you’ll likely be confused about the first channel to choose. An excellent way to start is to look at each marketing channel and decide if your audience uses it. Think about each channel logically. If you sell bags, would viral posts help you sell more? Not so much. But if you’re preparing to launch an app, it might. If you sell online courses, maybe webinars and content are the best channels for you, but if you run a fashion shop, perhaps you should bet on paid advertising. Try to pick the channels where your ideal customers hang out, and you will most probably succeed in improving your ROI.
What marketing channel can you leverage?
Some businesses test more channels, find one that works and stick to it. Others consider that the interactions between channels produce better results when combined than when isolated. Maybe it’s best to start small and spend the most time on 1-2 channels but leave room to experiment with other strategies and emerging channels.
Consider the business model.
Do you need more quality traffic on your website? Are you looking to add more members to your email distribution list? Are you aiming to increase online sales by 25%? Defining your business model and your overall goals is crucial, as they will guide your digital strategy.
Based on your top three goals, you can craft a specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound (SMART) action plan that will ensure your business success.
Pick the channel that matches your target customer.
There are more options to promote a business online these days than ever before. This helps reduce the time it takes to find new tactics, but it also fosters information overload and makes it difficult for businesses to know which ones will be the most effective or beneficial. Choosing which tactics to focus on can be difficult. But if you know your targeted customer’s habits well, you will know what message they will resonate with and what channels they spend more time on.
Consider your budget
Another essential point to have in mind when choosing your marketing channels is the overall budget. Having your clear goals in mind, you can set a realistic budget that includes getting new customers (awareness and lead generation campaigns) and keeping old customers (retention and loyalty campaigns).
Split the budget between the critical channels to each Buying Persona, always considering the expected ROI you can achieve. Based on your previous experience, and the company’s priorities, choose the most profitable channels and allocate a part of the budget for testing and learning.
Evaluate your marketing channels
Evaluating the results of your digital marketing strategy will help you ensure the success of the company growth plan. Evaluation should start with analysing your customer response (positive feedback, online engagement, improved website traffic and click-thru-rate, improved sales performance). Still, it should also include your competitors’ reactions. If your competition is starting to copy your marketing strategies, it means they are working, affecting them.
Most importantly, you should check the evolution of the Cost per acquisition (which must decrease to improve the profit margin) and, of course, the ROI. Even if the ROI is high, look at ways to further improve it by eliminating the unproductive tactics.
Based on your digital marketing performance, you can develop future strategies to turn leads into loyal customers.
SEO & Content Marketing
The process of optimising your website’s technical and editorial aspects so that it can be organically discovered by users when searching for specific keywords is called SEO. Unlike paid advertising, SEO takes time to work. The results may vary depending on various aspects, like domain authority (versus the competition), available assets such as a quality mobile website, link building opportunities, and others. Still, they rarely happen before 6-12 months, especially if the site is new, significant, has errors, or has been penalised by Panda or Penguin or any other algorithmic penalty or filter.
As SEO and content marketing are tightly connected, you may also need to hire professional copywriters to continuously create fresh content that can help your website rank for a wider variety of keywords. Whether blog posts, white papers, webinars, videos, or e-books, content must be created according to a well-thought strategy. If you’re prepared to make this effort, invest in quality content and wait until results appear, content marketing is the right choice for your business. But, if you need fast results, you should better look into PPC (Pay Per Click Advertising) and display ads options.
One of the easiest ways to determine whether it’s worth investing in an SEO campaign or not is by checking your website’s ranking with tools like SEM, Ahrefs or Google Search Console. If the website is already ranking for some appropriate keywords, it probably can further SEO development.
Do it if your website is already ranking for useful keywords and you are willing to invest time and effort into an SEO and content management campaign.
Don’t do it if You want fast results without putting in much time and effort.
Email Marketing also called EDM.
This can become a real gold mine if you have a pool of customers or an opted-in email subscription list for newsletters, promotions, or offers. Some studies claim that email marketing can provide a 4,300% ROI. E-commerce companies heavily rely on e-mail marketing strategies, but SMEs may also use email marketing to sell more to existing clients.
Do it if you have a decent opted-in email database.
Don’t do it if you don’t have a pool of existing customers allowing you to send them your information, promotions, and offers.
Pay Per Click advertising
Whether it’s Google or Bing ads, paid advertising should provide highly targeted traffic very quickly. Both B2B and B2C companies rely on Google and Bing ads to get new clients within a short time frame. PPC campaigns are ideal for businesses that did not take time to create awareness through social media or email marketing campaigns and want to promote their new products/services with paid ads quickly.
Do it if the costs per click are affordable, and your product service is searched in Google/Bing.
Don’t do it if you don’t have a sufficient budget or your audience is not using Google/Bing to search for your products/services.
Social Media Organic campaigns and social ads
Social media marketing is one of the most powerful tools you can use to achieve your marketing and branding goals. SMM includes posting regular text, image, or video updates on social channels (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter etc.), as well as creating social media ads.
Organic posting and paid ads should go hand in hand to improve your business’s social media presence and increase audience engagement. A good social media marketing plan includes a consistent posting schedule and running social ads for remarketing purposes. The choice of the social media channel also depends on the type of business you have: a highly visual business can rely on Instagram and Pinterest. At the same time, a B2B company might find Twitter and LinkedIn more valuable for its marketing goals.
Do it if you get a lot of value from a solid social media presence.
Don’t do it if your audience uses other channels to search for your products/services (Google, Bing)
Other marketing channels to consider
1- Email marketing and automation:
As you build your business, you need a way to keep in touch with the people who visit your site. Email marketing is one of the most potent ways to do this because it allows you to capture contact information and start nurturing leads at scale—you can grow your email list tenfold within a year.
Automation is the best way to nurture your leads and move them through their buyer journey at their own pace. With the correct email automation tools in place, you will be able to build your email list, generate more traffic, increase repeat sales and referrals, and help you meet your biggest marketing goals.
2- Video marketing
Over two-thirds of Australian consumers (68%) read online reviews or blogs to determine others’ opinions about products or services of interest. Most of these reviews are in the form of a video. So video is integral to today’s modern marketing plan because it provides a face and voice a company can relate to beyond a logo, message, or tagline. A video gets you immediately connected to your customers’ experiences and feelings.
The key to video marketing is that it should go beyond a thirty-second commercial. It should educate, entertain, inspire or motivate your potential customersso they feel compelled to take action. Including the right video content in your digital marketing strategy will allow you to convert viewers into customers quickly.
3- Online and offline public relations
Fundamentally, the mission of traditional PR and digital PR is the same: improving a brand’s online presence and visibility. You can include traditional PR and digital PR techniques (link building, content marketing, influencer outreach, and social media) to build brand awareness while creating a positive message to help engage the most relevant audiences.
A relatively new marketing tactic, affiliate marketing offers small enterprise owners great opportunities to boost their sales without investing a lot. Affiliate marketing is the process by which an affiliate earns a commission for marketing another person’s or company’s products. The affiliate promotes a specific development and earns a piece of the profit from each sale they make. The sales are tracked via affiliate links from one website to another.
Affiliate marketing is a low-risk type of marketing. You are paying for performance, not for clicks, and you can easily monitor your data. If you work with affiliates who understand your industry, you will quickly receive targeted sales from a warmed-up audience.
5- Influencer marketing
We’re spending more time on social media than ever, too – roughly 15 per cent of our waking lives. Want to get the word out there and boost your visibility on social media without taking years to build the audience? Then it would be best if you certainly leveraged social media influencers.
The key is to find the right influencer who can enhance your advertising performance and improve overall conversion. You don’t have to go with influencers with millions of followers. You could opt for micro-influencers with tens of thousands or even a hundred thousand followers.
Consider the Long Run
The purpose of a business person is to grow their business. But this might mean different things for different companies. It is finally up to every person to decide which channel serves their business purpose best; for example, if you are focused on getting sales fast, PPC campaigns are probably the best choice. If your business is new and needs brand awareness, consider investing in content marketing or social media. You may also need to educate your audience through web PR.
Last but not least, always go with the channel where your audience spends more time. People may click on your ads right now, but what if they want to know more about the business and they get to social media or your website to search for some information that isn’t there yet? And, no matter what channel you choose for promotion, always think in the long run. After all, your online presence should be treated as a whole and should continuously be improving in all areas to provide good ROI.