Small business owners and marketers are always looking for ways to get ahead and compete with big businesses. Often times, budget constraints and a lack of resources inhibit the efforts of SMB owners. During recent years however, the affordability and accessibility of digital marketing tools has opened the digital marketing doors for small and medium-sized businesses. According to the 2013 Inc. Digital Marketing Survey, more than 50% of small and medium-sized businesses with $1 million or more in annual sales revenue already use some of the most popular digital marketing tools. Take a look at the current state of SMB digital marketing to see where your business stacks up and check out some of the top tips for boosting your digital marketing efforts.
The State of SMB Digital Marketing
Digital marketing is making a shift as more SMB marketers see the positive impact that often comes with allocating more attention to their efforts. In the current state of SMB digital marketing, data is a key driver. Because data is now more accessible than ever for small businesses, many SMB marketers are using data to understand their customers better and more accurately identify target audiences. Data can come from a number of sources: website analytics, social networks and more. The new study from Vocus and Inc.com, found that 87% of SMBs use websites, the most common digital marketing tool (Tweet this stat!). Beyond a website, the most common tools used by SMBs are social media networks (78%) and email for marketing and promotion (70%).
While tools vary from business to business with some being stressed more than others, the number one digital marketing objective for companies is to drive sales. On a scale of 1 to 5, driving sales received an importance rating of 4.45 by firms of all sizes in the Inc. survey (Tweet this stat!). Other objectives include driving customer engagement (4.29), increasing brand awareness (4.24), and reaching new customer segments (4.18). Metrics and measurement vary depending on what a company's objectives are.
Top Digital Marketing Tips for Your SMB
Digital marketing is just one form of marketing, but it's becoming more and more important as the world and business become more digital as whole. While increased sales and customer engagement are the goals of many businesses, a large number of SMBs are focused on increasing email campaign subscribers and growing the number of social media site followers and fans as well. If your business aims to do any of these things, consider these 5 tips for improving your SMB's digital marketing efforts.
- Allocate Accordingly: From budget to resources, make sure you're spending resources in the right places. Most companies in the survey spend less than $100,000 a year on all types of marketing and 2-5 is the most common staffing level for digital marketing efforts (Tweet this stat!).
- Get On Social: Having a presence on the right networks can boost brand awareness, customer engagement and sales. Focus on engaging and entertaining your followers. Even if you don't have the budget to run ads on social networks, you can still generate a following and new customers by becoming a trusted resource.
- Expand Your Toolkit: Beyond an up-to-date website and social presence, look for digital marketing tools that can help with SEO, customer service, and prospecting. Don't limit yourself to particular types of content, campaigns or marketing initiatives. An expanded toolkit will expand your digital marketing reach and opportunities.
- Build Brand Awareness: Use content to build brand awareness. Webinars, podcasts, Vine videos, and more are all interesting types of content that you can create, repurpose and share to build brand awareness among your email subscribers, social followers and prospective customers.
- Define and Measure Success: Your success rates will depend on the goals you've established. Whether it's leads generated, click-through rates, or increase sales, make sure you define what successful digital marketing is and measure your business's efforts and results so that you can optimize campaigns.
Digital marketing is becoming a more prominent piece of marketing strategies for many businesses. Having a website and online presence are just two must-haves for today's SMB marketers. Make sure your business is optimizing its digital marketing efforts by allocating resources for optimization, expanding its toolkit, and measuring its efforts and successes.