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How to create a digital marketing strategy for a small business

Why do you need a digital marketing strategy?

With digital marketing, the world is your oyster. But with such wide possibilities, it can be difficult for small businesses to know where to focus and what will deliver the greatest return for them. There is a danger of a lack of a strategy and direction, which sets your small business up for marketing failure.

 As a small business, you might not have a strategy for digital marketing, either because you feel you aren’t at a growth stage or because you lack the knowledge on where to begin.

 A digital marketing strategy is essentially the guide to your business’s marketing. It can help you understand who you are targeting, why you are targeting that particular audience and enables you to measure if your strategy is working.

 By having your strategy, you can see which digital channels are working the best for your business, and from this, you can focus and capitalise on the best performing areas.

 If you don’t have a digital marketing strategy in place, this can result in sporadic activities that provide inconsistent and ineffective results.

In this article, we break down how to create a digital marketing strategy and some tips for how you can build one. 

Find your target audience

Your first port of call should always be to identify your target audience. Knowing who you want/should be targeting is vital for setting your tone of voice, ensuring you are offering the right product or service at the right time which meets their needs.

You don’t tend to walk down a road without knowing the direction you want to go, so why would you try marketing without knowing who you want to reach. If you’ve ever done this, you’ll know that ultimately it’s counterproductive and can lead to a waste of time and money.

By honing in on your target audience, the nets you cast won’t spread so thinly.

Research your audience

Once you have identified your target audience, it is time to become the master of that audience. To do this, you need to explore further and research everything you can about your audience.

Look at the main channels you can target them on, how best to contact them, what time are they usually online etc. With this information, you can connect with your audience in the best way possible.

You want to be the expert on who you are targeting. This insight into your audience will help you refine the content you produce, engage with the audience and start to create a relationship with them.

There are a lot of data sources available if you want to get really sophisticated. Alternatively, you can talk to a random selection of your customers to find out more about them. You may well discover you have two or three distinct customer groups who respond to different messages/have different needs. Or you may discover that you are missing an audience group you believe you could serve well. If the latter is the case, this is where the fun starts – finding out why you aren’t attracting them and which of your competitors are instead!

Who is your audience

Identify what makes you different

Next, you need to identify what makes you different from your competitors. You want to dig deeper into your work culture, your values and what your service/product does.

Incorporating your core values as part of your content will help you connect more with your audience and explain what makes you different, allowing the audience to decide and buy into what you have to offer.

People like to connect with the message, not the product. Therefore, making your content relatable and engaging will encourage your target audience to interact with you.

Test, trial, measure and refine

An essential part of any strategy is testing, trialing, measuring and refining your activities. You can do this with your marketing channels such as email marketing, search engines or social media marketing.

Make sure you measure how your campaigns and content perform and set Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to achieve. This could be open and click rates with email marketing, likes, shares and comments on social media or page views with your website. Just make sure they are business relevant but also appropriate to the activity itself. Different marketing channels are there to perform different roles, not everything is about direct sales.

The critical thing with trialling your strategy is to go in with an understanding that you might not find the results you are looking for straight away.

It can take time to get things right. Managing your expectations and not expecting results instantaneously will make the process easier. In addition, you will begin to understand how the changes you have made impact the results.

Hone in on the right channels

Once you have started testing and trialing, you will get a clearer picture of what channels work for you.

Depending on what you want to focus on within the marketing funnel, different channels will work best for different stages.

For example, if you are trying to generate interest in your start-up business and people haven’t heard of you before. Focusing on Pay Per Click Google advertising, Social Media, and Search Engine Optimisation is crucial to your business.

Suppose you have a bursting database with plenty of potential customers. In that case, nurturing them with retargeting through email marketing and optimising your website for easy navigation can help convert them into paying customers.

You might have many satisfied customers that could potentially turn into repeat buyers. In this case, rewarding loyal customers with a nice incentive such as a one-time discount code could strengthen your relationship and lead to a sale.

Making sure you perform suitable activities at the right time is vital to seeing results.

Measure Success

Building your strategy

Now that you have gone through all of the steps above, you can form your strategy. Having completed your research, you can decide the objectives and goals you want to achieve with your marketing. Set out in your plan precisely what you want to accomplish, how you want to achieve it and your targeted results.

You need to define your budget, how you expect the budget to be spent and a breakdown of how you envision the budget to be spent.

Your marketing strategy should allow for reviews each quarterly, half-yearly and annually.

In building your strategy, you can further refine your marketing to achieve your desired outcome.

Our recommendation would be to be build your strategy around our Common 10 marketing model. It’s a unique approach, created specifically for SMEs. It focuses on the ten top business objectives and ensures you have a rounded marketing strategy, aren’t missing out on any opportunities and provides focus on where you need to exert your marketing efforts for maximum return.

At a foundation level, it’s based around four pillars:

The 4 key marketing elements

You can find out more about the Common 10 marketing strategy approach by booking yourself onto a free marketing review.

It’s a free 90-minute session, where we explore your current actions and results, can take you through the Common 10 in more detail and importantly, provide, bespoke recommendations for your business and plan what you can deliver yourself, and if and where you might need specialist support. 

If you need or want help with developing your strategy, book your free marketing strategy session today.

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