Social media. Video. Email marketing. Marketing automation. Search engine optimization (SEO). Digital marketing has developed into a massive marketing segment with numerous forms. If you are like most small and medium business owners, it may feel overwhelming to launch a digital marketing strategy. An estimated 3.2 billion people worldwide are online now, with Africa alone having nearly 500 million internet users. It’s no wonder that 83 percent of marketers are actively pursuing digital marketing strategies.

Ideal for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses

Digital marketing includes all marketing efforts, both organic (free) and paid. Simply put, digital marketing is all about using multiple digital channels to engage your current and prospective customers. Why should small and medium-sized businesses invest in digital marketing? It levels the playing field. In the physical world, it’s not uncommon for big stores to move in and put the smaller, local companies out of business. In the virtual world, effective digital marketing allows small businesses to hold a ranking position, even outranking big players like Amazon. Additionally, it allows smaller businesses to compete in the global arena on a much smaller advertising budget. You don’t need millions to compete with big business. An effectively-managed digital marketing strategy gives you precise data, so you can make informed investments and maximize ROI.

Steps to Get Started

Diving into digital marketing without a clearly-defined strategy is like walking around in the dark. Maximize your ROI by having a clear path to success. Here’s how.

  • Define your mission. What is the overall objective of your digital marketing efforts? Do you simply want to attract new customers, build brand awareness, engage existing customers or generate new leads? Set your key performance indicators (KPI), and define how you will track them. Be realistic.
  • Analyse your customers. You must know where your customers are and what pain points they are having. What do you offer that your competitors lack? That’s what will get your customer’s attention. Selecting the right channels is critical to your strategy. Learn as much as you can about your customer base. Analyse their profiles, customer cycles and behaviours. Define their channel preferences.
  • Practice “social listening.” Gauge the perception of your brand by “listening” to what’s being said online. If you don’t do this, your strategy will have significant blind spots. Learn what real people are saying by monitoring social media for mentions of you, your products, your competitors or any keywords that relate to your business.
  • Define your budget. Marketing and finance often work independently. However, learning to think of them as on the same team will contribute to a successful digital marketing strategy. Today’s marketer has exactly what finance teams love, tangible data to support decisions. Allocate a specific portion of your budget to each marketing channel. Set the KPIs to measure its success. Revisit that channel’s results, and make adjustments if it’s not performing as expected.
  • Evaluate your team. Determine if you currently have the in-house capabilities of carrying out an effective digital marketing strategy. Think beyond simple ad placement and social media engagement. What about SEO? Google is responsible for about 94 percent of total organic traffic. Are you using techniques that leverage the free part of your digital marketing strategy? If not, can you afford a new hire? Should you outsource some or all of your digital marketing activities to a third-party? Be transparent. Gather information from your team about how they see their role in digital marketing, and what ideas they have for future growth.

Are you ready to launch your digital marketing strategy? Digital-treehouse is a unique South African-based company with expertise in both accounting and digital marketing. Talk to our team about getting your strategy off the ground, while staying within your budget.