Small businesses looking to grow generally have a good idea of the marketing methods they want to employ online to reach the next level.
With a huge chunk of potential business online, and with so many people seemingly constantly connected thanks to smartphones and tablets, it makes sense to reach out to them online to attract them to your site and turn them into long-term customers.
With some further reading – and this is usually the point where smaller businesses begin to open discussions with agencies – they learn about the benefits of ranking highly on Google with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), attracting new leads almost instantly with Paid Search (PPC), targeting certain demographics with social media marketing (SMM) and much more besides.
For true, long-term business growth it makes sense to put all of those techniques and many others into one package, research your target market and reach out to them in a variety of ways across those channels and others. That’s called inbound marketing, and (without looking like we’re blowing our own trumpet), it’s what we do best here at Web Presence!
The easily-accessible nature of inbound marketing though means that you can begin to work on those techniques right now if you so wish. Many are already doing it; signing up to Facebook and creating a business page, for instance, and posting deals and offers.
Though a sound idea in theory, for the majority of small business, they won’t get anywhere near the next level because of one common enemy: consistency.
Consistency is the key to business growth
What do we mean by that? We’ve written in the past before about why so many small businesses looking to reach the next level decide to partner with a specialist digital agency; because they can pass on the marketing side of things to somebody else, giving owners and managers more time to focus on the most important parts of their company.
And a lot of small businesses have got that formula spot-on. According to the Octopus High Growth Small Business Report 2018, commissioned by Octopus Group (Octopus) and produced by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), a staggering 3,000 new jobs were created each week by the UK’s high-growth small businesses (HGSBs) during the 2015/16 period.
Fantastic, right? On the face of it perhaps, but not when reading the rest of the report which shows that one in three HGSBs consider digital infrastructure to be one of the biggest constraints to the growth of their business.
Contrast that with a report by Aldermore Future Attitudes published in the first quarter of 2018. According to their research, 67% of SMEs – approximately two thirds (3.82 million small and medium sized businesses across the UK) – find it difficult to hire qualified staff members or keep existing talent in the company.
The reasons are varied, from career progression to better wages and more. We also feel that this represents a serious problem for those businesses looking to grow in the digital sphere.
How a long-term inbound strategy provides solid foundations
Put the two together – small business owners looking for more time to do what they do best and smaller entities struggling to keep hold of employees – and it can create a toxic mix that becomes seriously detrimental to small businesses not only looking to grow, but to sustain that growth to ultimately become a bigger business.
Why? Because for those managing their own business profiles on social media or those who are trying to build links to improve their search rankings, the obvious move is to hire someone who can do it for them.
Not only will that require a lot of training to get them into the company’s way of doing things, but it will also require training for them to adopt the company’s voice online and adhere to the company’s wider online growth strategy. As long as that will take, if they leave six months or a year down the line that can hit consistency hard and require you to start the whole process over again.
Which brings us to why consistency is so important for long-term growth online. The most successful campaigns don’t post on Facebook every couple of weeks. They don’t see any benefit for being in the top three search rankings on a temporary basis.
They don’t win repeat customers by emailing them out the blue every couple of months. They grow by managing their digital presence to the letter on a daily basis to let the most important people to them know they exist.
3 ways to improve the consistency of digital campaigns
So many people we talk to feel it’s obvious to say; the more time and effort they put into their digital offerings and reach out to people online in creative ways, the more likely they are to see results and attract new, fresh leads.
Then the cold reality of how much time it takes to manage a full inbound campaign sets in; it can be even harder for those that know what they need to do and hire people who buy into that vision, only to see them leave for pastures new, having to start the strategy all over again with somebody new.
So, how do you achieve campaign consistency over a longer period of time? Here are some tips:
- Build a strong tool stack: There are numerous online tools out there to help you achieve campaign consistency. Some allow you to schedule social media posts, for instance, while others allow you to schedule emails.
- Invest in automation: Marketing automation can be the cornerstone to small business growth, automating many of the more time-consuming tasks and helping your campaign to stay on-track as it gives people more time to focus on inbound aspects.
- Work with an agency: Working alongside a specialist agency can be more affordable than hiring new staff to manage your campaign. A good agency can bring experience with them as well as knowledge of the state of inbound, allowing your campaign to consistently evolve over time as you grow.
Find out more about the importance of consistency in an digital marketing campaign and how it’s essential to growing your small business by speaking to Web Presence today.
Working as a Digital Marketing Consultant since 2004, Lee helps SMEs win more business through developing effective digital marketing strategies. He is a dedicated Liverpool FC fan, dog lover and loves long country walks (and a cheeky pint) with his dog, Banjo.