While the internet has made our lives so much easier, there are many ways that it has increased the complexity of what small business owners need to deal with on a day to day basis.
Even though having an online presence has been a necessity for businesses for a number of years, many small businesses are still unsure how to split their spending and time between offline and online marketing activities. Traditionally, a small business would have a regular ad space booked in the local paper and would just need to decide what to say each week — some would even run the same ad copy over and over. The biggest challenge may have been whether to include any radio advertising. Now the decisions are a lot more complicated and many small businesses are not using digital marketing effectively and are losing out on the sales and other benefits it can bring.
Why is using digital marketing still a challenge for small businesses, even though we are solidly in the age of the internet?
- Marketing budgets can be a touchy area for small businesses and are often not defined because other demands take a priority: payroll, raw supplies, taxes, rent, utilities that are absolute necessities. Adding digital marketing expenses to the mix just adds to an already challenged budget.
- Many small businesses don’t have any marketing plan and just stick with the same techniques, what their competitors are doing or what colleagues/friends have advised; not even knowing how well it’s working and if changes would boost sales.
- If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! If offline advertising has been working, even to a small extent, you may be afraid that decreasing or dropping these techniques will reduce sales significantly.
- In some cases, under qualified and unskilled digital marketing ‘gurus’ have spoiled it for the rest of us. They took their money and didn’t provide results, so some businesses are reluctant to spend more in that area.
- A small business may not have anyone on staff that would have the knowledge, or the time, to manage online marketing activities – OR You, or someone else on staff, may think that they know enough to manage your online marketing successfully, but you aren’t really getting the results you could be.
The answer is to invest wisely in a professional digital marketing strategy.
To maximize the sales of your business, marketing is a necessity and you need to allocate some budget toward it. With a proper budget, planning and any necessary training; you will see that the investment will pay off in a reasonable amount of time.
- There are SMART goals and targets defined and a plan to review so you know what is working and what is not and can adjust activities accordingly. (SMART = specific + measurable + relevant + time oriented)
- All activities included are sustainable and effective toward driving sales. No more wasting time on irrelevant and ineffective activities.
- Online marketing activities are set out to compliment the offline activities and the balance of budget spend and time allocated will be based on the opportunity and effectiveness to bring in sales.
- Actions required will be planned according to the resources you have, to ensure sustainability and effectiveness of the plan.
- The plan includes tools to make the work involved easier and less time consuming.