Making the right choice when it comes to 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, as well as 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 really worth investing in SEO? Should I opt for Google or Bing Ads campaigns? Which social media channel delivers the biggest impact on ROI?
This is why we have gathered a few ideas and some preliminary steps for small business owners and marketers to take in order to choose the digital marketing channel that truly matters for their business.
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 good tools for that. Using Audience Insights, we can start building the profile of the type of person that may be interested in our products/services. To be able to use Facebook Audience Insights, you don’t need an advertising account — 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 carry out any type of marketing activities. The data offered by Facebook Audience Insights is just one 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, or published research that has been previously carried out in your industry or niche.
Define Your Business Goals
After clearly defining your buying persona, it’s time to define your own business goals. Ask yourself questions like: How many leads or actual clients would I like to acquire on a monthly basis? What’s the value of a lead? What sort of budget am I prepared to spend over a certain timeframe? Then, go on defining your business and marketing assets and your goals. After having a complete picture over your business and your targeted audience, it should be easier for you to define the best marketing/advertising channels to use.
Now that everything is much clearer, it’s time to consider your options:
SEO & Content Marketing
The process of optimizing your website’s technical and editorial aspects so that it can be organically discovered by users when searching for certain keywords is called SEO. Unlike paid advertising, SEO takes time to work. Depending on various aspects, like domain authority (versus the competition), available assets such as a quality mobile website, link building opportunities and others, the results may vary, but they rarely happen before 6-12 months especially if the website is new, big and has errors, or has been penalized 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 it’s 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, then it probably has potential for 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 too much time and effort.
Email Direct Marketing (EDM)
If you have a pool of customers or an opted-in email subscription list for newsletters, promotions or offers, this can become a real gold mine. 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 which did not take time to create awareness through social media or email marketing campaigns and want to quickly promote their new products/services with paid ads.
Do it if it the costs per clicks are affordable and your product service is searched in Google/Bing.
Don’t do it if you don’t have sufficient budget or your audience is not using Google/Bing to search for your products/services.
Social Media Organic Campaigns and
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.
To improve your business’s social media presence and increase audience engagement, organic posting and paid ads should go hand-in-hand. A good social media marketing plan includes both a consistent posting schedule and running social ads for re-marketing 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, while a B2B company might find Twitter and LinkedIn more useful for its marketing goals.
Do it if you get a lot of value from a strong social media presence.
Don’t do it if your audience uses other channels to search for your products/services (Google, Bing)
Consider the Long Run
The purpose of a business person is to grow their business. But this might mean different things for different businesses, and 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 you need brand awareness, think about 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. And, no matter what channel you choose for promotion, always think in the long run. 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? After all, your online presence should be treated as a whole and should be constantly improved in all areas in order to provide good ROI.