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How to Plan and Develop a Digital Marketing Strategy for SMEs

Updated: Aug 24, 2021

Having a digital marketing strategy in today’s world is a must for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Most already have one or at least have started to realise this fact. On the other hand, there are also many who still aren't sure where to start. And that's okay! Most small business owners specialise in the products or services they're selling, which is key to having a successful business in the first place. But perhaps the time has come for you to scale up your business? Or perhaps you're facing some new challenges and need to find those extra customers? Whatever your situation, developing a strong digital marketing strategy is important.

But where to start...? Well, let’s start from the top.

It Starts With Having a specific Goal

First, you need to ask yourself, "Where do I want my business to be in 1 year, 3 years, 5 years?"

From that point, we can figure out how digital marketing can help you get there.

Of course, that will depend on whether your goal is realistically achievable and how much you are ready to invest in marketing. If you dive right into digital marketing without a goal in mind, you'll unlikely be successful. Here are a few questions to get you thinking:

  • Are you trying to build awareness about your company or products?

  • Are you trying to make some immediate sales in the short term? Or perhaps build a relationship with prospects to convert them over a couple of months?

  • Are you trying to get more people to follow you on social media?

Depending on what you want, the marketing channels you should invest in might differ. For example, Google Ads is perfect for immediate results since you are targeting people at the very moment they're looking for your services or products. Facebook Ads could also deliver quick results depending on how good you know (and target) your ideal customer audience.

For longer-term results, Search Engine Optimisation and Content Marketing strategies are ideal to build your brand over time. In most cases, you’ll probably want to be doing a little bit of both.

How Will You Generate Leads or Sales?

It doesn’t matter if you’re a B2C or B2B business, sales or lead generation is what any SME is looking for. Once you know what you want to achieve, the next stage is to put your brand in front of your audience using the right channel mix. This is when you stimulate and capture interest.

It’s all about nurturing targets or potential customers from the moment they first interact with your brand and until they’re ready to convert.

This is when you need to figure out your conversion path.

How will your digital marketing funnel guide your marketing efforts? There are different kinds of marketing funnels, but most focus on awareness, consideration, purchase and retention. You’ll have to think about how you want to get your targets through your funnel to the point where they are ready to take action.

Here are a couple of examples of simplified funnels so you understand what we mean.

Example 1 - The emergency locksmith

A locksmith may decide to open its business 24/7 in order to take emergency calls at any time of the day or night from people who are stuck outside of their home. In this particular scenario, you don't need to build and maintain an audience over a long period of time. Instead, you want to be showing whenever someone has an urgent need to unlock a door or replace a lock. This specific audience will most likely pull out their mobile phone and search on Google for terms like "emergency locksmith Sydney" or "locksmiths near me". In this case, we would probably only recommend Search Ads within the geographical area the locksmith services, with an emphasis on mobile devices. Focus your messaging on things that matter to this audience, like quick response time, competitive price point, friendly service, etc. Lastly, make it easy for people to dial the number so they can book you in ASAP (rather than filling out a form and wait for someone to read it).

The conversion funnel is very short and straightforward.

Example 2 - The spiritual healer

Someone who practices alternative medicine such as spiritual healing will only appeal to a small segment of the population. People probably won't contact the healer in case of emergency, but rather because they have been thinking about it. The decision is less immediate and can require some thinking, further research and the right timing. The conversion funnel in this case can be much longer and involve more marketing channels.

Someone could start with a search, visit the website, learn a bit more about spiritual healing, follow their Instagram account and maybe a couple of months later, decide that it's time they try it. Great! Though in other cases, the healer might want to target an audience susceptible to be interested even though they haven't expressed pro-actively searched for it yet. So you could for example target people on Facebook or Instagram who have an interest in similar topics like crystal healing and energy medicine. This can help you reach a local audience and raise awareness about your services directly to them.

A mix of Search, Social and Remarketing is probably better suited for this business as it will cover various stages of the funnel.

Consider Creating Lead Magnets

Lead magnets are assets that you give away for free in exchange of someone's contact details. This can be a very effective way of building an audience that you can reach out to via email.

Your lead magnet should be something that you know will interest your target audience. Examples of lead magnets are free trials, free audits, e-newsletters, free consultations, samples, white papers, brochures, free downloads, free templates and many more. It’s anything directly relevant to your product or service. Don't be afraid to be creative!

Having Effective Calls-to-Action

This is how you get your target audience to take the next step. Without good calls-to-action (CTA), it might be difficult to progress prospects in the early stages of your funnel progress towards the sale. After all, it doesn’t matter that people are aware of your brand if they don’t make a purchase. A CTA doesn’t necessarily have to have a direct link to sales. It can simply move them further along their buying journey. Examples can be a request a demo, a download, subscribe, or any other text or image that prompts a visitor to take a particular action. Effective CTAs use action verbs, are direct with a clear message and gives the visitor exactly what it claims. A clear, concise, and enticing CTA will tell the visitor exactly what they need to do. You can test the effectiveness of your CTAs by conducting A/B testing to compare different versions. This allows you to try out different sizes, shapes, colours, and more.

Staying In Touch With Your Customers

Now that you have customers, it’s time to think about how to retain them. The average repeat purchase rate is around 27% to 32%. That’s a huge chunk of your business. But you can improve that rate so you can have more predictable revenue each year by staying in touch with your customers and always give them a reason to come back for more. Sure, maybe they liked your product or service, but they might go with another business next time unless you keep nurturing them.

Email marketing is a great way to let your customers know about new products or services, tell them what’s new with your company, or send them special offers. You can even wish them a happy birthday or Merry Christmas to show you appreciate them. This is all made easy with automation. Especially with tools that allow you to target different groups, segment your lists, and combine different channels, it’s a great way to improve your marketing efforts and grow your business.

Getting People to Visit Your Website

Also known as filling the top of the funnel, these are strategies to get people to visit your website. Be it through content marketing, email marketing, advertising, SEO, social media marketing, and more. Typically, in a successful digital marketing campaign, a combination of different strategies often works best. However, not every business is the same, so strategies vary from business to business. Here are some of the most effective channels to consider:

  • Do effective SEO on your website so that search engines direct people consistently to your website.

  • Create content and blog posts so that your audience finds you when they search key phrases, while also keeping your existing audience entertained with more information.

  • Update your social media accounts to keep your audience informed on promotions, events, products and services, or to just keep them engaged with your brand.

  • Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and other ads for immediate returns.

  • Email marketing to keep existing customers coming back and converting leads.

Are you ready to plan and develop your digital marketing strategy? Don’t go in it alone! Ads Up is here to help you improve your website’s digital presence, get more traffic, increase your conversions and save you money. Simply tell us a little about your business, and we’ll send you a proposal and a quote. It’s that easy.

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