A recent report has suggested that 67% of small businesses that dabble in eCommerce are looking to increase their marketing spend next year.
That’s two-thirds, with the vast majority saying they plan to increase their spend on digital channels. Amazingly, though, 59% don’t seek professional advice before they part with their cash and don’t consult a digital marketing agency.
That reminds us of another study we’ve recently read, which says that more than a third of small businesses (38%) are lacking basic digital skills.
To us, that equals…
…danger for small businesses across the UK. 73% of small businesses expect to grow “dramatically” over the next two years according to the Albion Growth Report.
With a record 5.5 million small businesses operating in the UK today, the picture we’re being painted is this: More people are taking the plunge to open a business and are optimistic about growth.
The overall mood however should be one of caution with a Brexit on the cards early next year, and with small businesses believing they can grow exponentially in the space of two years without the help of an agency, then they may be better pouring their money down the drain.
This post should be tacked on to our post a fortnight ago on paid search and social media mistakes. As we said then, it’s so easy to throw your money away over time by boosting posts and marketing your business in the wrong way that you can stand to lose a hefty chunk of your budget over time.
There is good news, though. There is reason for small business optimism; it is possible to put your marketing budget in certain areas and grow over a short space of time. Knowing where to put that money and refining your strategy is essential, though, which is why it might be time to partner with an agency.
Where you need to spend for digital business growth
So, where do you put your money for serious, effective short- and long-term business growth online?
Whether you provide a service, sell different kinds of products or just want to get your message out there, you need to think about putting your money into:
1: Paid search/PPC
Probably one of the best ways to manage the growth of your company and boost it in the right way is through paid search. Brands can bid for relevant keywords related to them to drive traffic to their website, potentially appearing above the top ranked company instantly.
Get the rest of your paid search campaign right and you could see an immediate spike in relevant customers who are using search engines such as Google and Bing to specifically find you and the services you provide. Google AdWords’ targeting options, too, can better refine an ad to specific audiences that matter to you most.
2: Paid social media promotion
Likewise, Facebook’s targeting options are some of the best in the business, allowing you to send a message to a potential customer based on their age, location, gender and interests. Getting you Facebook targeting right is infinitely better than boosting a post, in our opinion.
Other social networks also offer different targeting options, but it depends on what your audience is using most, why and at what times. You need to research your market when investing in paid social. Pinterest, for instance, has released new marketing tools for its users. With the vast majority of its users women, are you missing a trick by not investing in it?
3: Search engine optimisation
SEO is not dead. As a medium, it never will be, but if you invest in it you have to understand that you’re doing it naturally and organically to position your business above others in your industry through creative means.
Get high enough on search engines for your target keywords, though, and you can attract a huge amount of traffic of people with buying intent looking at what you have to offer. SEO is a long-term solution, and can complement your business growth through paid means if you build an immediate audience, decreasing your budget further down the line as your search strategy takes effect.
4: Web design and data capture
Directing traffic to your website is one thing, but converting those people into paying customers is another. What’s the point of spending so much money targeting people through PPC and social media with a creative campaign that when they get to your website they can’t navigate it properly?
Investing in optimising your website to keep users on-site and engaged with your brand is worth its weight in gold, especially if you incorporate data collection options such as email submission tools to keep in touch with customers. You also need to be up to date on your data collection policies and be transparent with customers, too, if you decide to go down that route.
5: Marketing automation
A lot of small businesses may already be doing those things to grow their business, but marketing on such a level takes serious time and effort. They can’t be everywhere at once, and marketing online – especially on long-term tactics such as SEO – can take attention away from running the most important areas of the business.
Marketing automation can condense a lot of those tasks, allowing business owners to concentrate on the more important matters. Automation can handle social posting, data collection and more without you having to put in much effort; it can be cheaper than you think, you, if you decide to outsource your automation efforts to an experienced agency.
No matter where you invest to grow your business, another essential thing to remember is to be creative and speak to your audience through imaginative content to attract them organically and connect with your brand for long-term growth.
If you’d like to know more about how to grow your small business with online marketing and how putting money into paid search and social can give you a growth boost, speak to a Webpresence specialist today.