One of the primary benefits of digital marketing is its ability to construct a cost-effective approach to growing your business. However, without the proper system and processes in place, the exact opposite can occur. An organization can waste a great deal of time, money, and opportunity cost trying to put together a scattered or fragmented digital marketing plan, with limited or diminishing returns.
However, when executed properly, digital marketing can allow for the scale and growth that is necessary for small and medium-sized businesses to transform their organizations. The importance of a properly developed program within the digital realm is that it can allow a small and medium-sized business to compete with an organization of any size.
The reality is that while small and medium-sized businesses must continue to compete with larger organizations, the playing field has been leveled. Many of the tools and advantages that a large organization typically could enjoy because of greater resources are muted in the digital realm. This technological and resource equality presents many opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses to grow like never before. However, many organizations struggle to identify and take advantage of the power behind digital marketing. Here are five of the biggest mistakes small and medium-sized businesses often make:
1. They Don’t Have A Plan
In order to have an effective digital marketing program in place, we need a balanced digital strategy that includes search engine optimization, content marketing, social media, email marketing, analytics and maybe even paid advertising. Managing all these diverse interests requires a solid plan to make sure that everything works together.
It’s important to remind yourself that your potential customer sees your company as a single entity, not the diverse collection of digital marketing components that you have to manage. Therefore, it’s essential to have a solid plan in place so that your customer message is clear and consistent.
In addition, having a plan gives you a roadmap to follow when something unexpected happens – which is quite often. You wouldn’t build a building without blueprints, nor should you run your digital marketing without exact specifications of what should happen next.
2. They Don’t Keep Score
One of the biggest strengths of digital marketing is the ability to immediately see what works and what doesn’t. Many small businesses fail to introduce a system to track and analyze the results of their digital marketing, costing themselves the ability to learn from their mistakes… and their successes.
Creating a simple dashboard in Google Analytics takes a small amount of time and effort, but can provide your entire organization an effective tool that can keep everyone in sync. It’s this type of small investment up front that will help guide your strategy and make the best use of your resources.
3. They Don’t Test or Optimize
Digital analytics allow for the most powerful tool digital marketing offers – optimization. Top marketers make a living split testing everything they can, helping to continually improve their conversation rates. They’ll split test elements of their website, their email subject lines, their paid advertising campaigns and even their social media campaigns.
The ability to optimize is another benefit of the real-time data and information available online. Proactively using the feedback from search engines and consumers can allow a small business to maximize the bang for the buck they receive from their marketing investment.
4. They Try One Thing At A Time
I consistently hear from small businesses that vent their frustration of the poor results they’ve received after trying a paid advertising campaign, social media campaign or a specific piece of content marketing. The missing element that I eventually help them understand is that without a solid foundation that allows each element to enhance its strength, you’ll nearly always struggle to reach expectations.
As I mentioned earlier, a customer sees your organization as a single entity. If you were dealing with a customer in the real world, you would be there to provide support and expertise through each step of the buying cycle. The same has to be true in the digital world.
When a small business purchases paid advertising and sends that traffic to their home page, they’re being negligent with the support of their customer. The advertiser needs to address the exact information contained in the paid ad that the customer clicked on.
All the components of the digital have to work together – paid advertising, SEO, content marketing, social media and email marketing. Trying one thing at a time without having cohesion between all the other digital marketing components will mean a less than optimized customer experience.
5. They Take On Too Much
If you’ve have recognized already, there’s a lot that goes into a successful digital marketing program for any business. Small businesses have to recognize their resource limitations and plan according. The resource limitations nearly all small businesses face are talent and budget.
You have to identify whether you have the current or potential talent in house to manage each of the various digital marketing components – paid advertising, SEO, analytics, content marketing, social media and email marketing. Even top level digital marketers understand that they can’t be experts in each area, so they’ll often work with outside experts to help manage their plans.
Unlike some enterprise organizations, small businesses often have to work with limited financial resources. This is why planning, automation and continuous optimization can help level the planning field and allow small and medium-sized business to compete with an organization of any size.