What makes a successful Digital marketing strategy? Is it the focus on your buyer personas, detailed campaign planning, or your value proposition? And, even with a marketing strategy, why do some small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) continue to struggle in their marketing efforts?
Knowing what makes a good Digital marketing strategy is one thing. Having the people and resources to execute a successful campaign is another. Many B2B SMB owners lack the budget, staff, and time to create and implement a winning marketing strategy. Moreover, these plans need consistent analysis and periodic tweaking to stay successful.
This piece looks at the tactical challenges faced by SMBs with limited resources and or marketing experience. And that starts by aligning the key elements of marketing strategy plans with your business goals. But first, why SMBs should never ignore digital marketing.
Why Your SMB Needs a Digital Marketing Strategy
Today, the majority of B2B customers use the internet to find potential business. Researchers found 74% of B2B buyers pursue over 50% of their purchases online. And research company, IBISWorld, revealed a steady increase in online business since 2002. Moreover, the annualized growth rate has risen by at least 2% year-on-year from 2017 to 2022  .
Traditional advertising methods have lost their impact in today’s highly competitive world. Some forms still have a place, but digital marketing channels are now the most successful. And the winning marketing strategy must always identify your target audience. Only then can you generate quality leads for your company’s product or service.
Digital Marketing Strategy Concerns for SMBs
The main concerns for small business owners (SMBs) are the resources and time needed to set up and run a digital marketing campaign. But the real concern should be whether you can afford not to invest in leading marketing tactics. After all, to be competitive, one must compete, and that’s what creating a successful marketing strategy is all about. And like any business investment, the primary focus is to get a healthy ROI.
Other digital marketing challenges facing SMBs include:
- No dedicated marketer(s) to run marketing strategies
- Can’t find capable writers to produce high-quality content
- Inconsistent and aggressive organic and paid search plan changes
- Campaigns not reaching the right target audience
There’s much uncertainty and confusion over what makes a winning strategy. It’s true; running campaigns can be complex, time-consuming, and costly for the inexperienced. Additionally, powerful digital marketing tools can be expensive. For these reasons and others, it often pays for SBOs to outsource their marketing efforts to a professional agency.
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What a Successful Digital Marketing Strategy Looks Like
Marketing needs vary between company and industry. However, there are five essential components you need to develop a winning marketing strategy.
- A market focus strategy
- A product or service focus strategy
- Clear, achievable goals
- Strategy responsibility and accountability
- Consistent review and revision
It is a logical and simple process. Yet inexperienced or overly stretched marketers often overlook these critical strategies or take them for granted and don’t create a formal outline for their strategy.
#1 Market Focus Strategy
Too many SMBs try to capture a broad demographic in their marketing campaigns. But the wide net approach can be a mistake. So much that we have multiple proverbs like “the person who chases two rabbits catches neither” and “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” that warn us against it. Instead, the most successful marketing plans usually have a narrow focus, zooming in on a specific target audience. Concentrating on specific buyer personas is how savvy marketers dominate their niche.
#2 Product Focus
Product focus is akin to market focus in that it should place attention on specific products and service offerings. For example, you might wholesale paints for interior and exterior applications. In this case, focus your marketing campaign on one or the other, but not both. If you’ve done your market focus homework you know interior and exterior paints have different core audiences. Smart marketers will know to split these into two separate campaigns. And your market focus tells you who to target, e.g., professional tradespeople or paint retailers for each campaign.
#3 Goal Setting
This is the part of your marketing strategy where you set specific, measurable goals. Of course, those ends depend on your target audience and what you’re offering. For example, you could be looking to generate new quality leads or raise brand awareness. The SMART method below is a simple way to lay the foundation for your goal-setting strategy.
S – Must be specific
M – Must be measurable
A –Must be attainable
R – Must be relevant
T –Must be time-bound
That last point helps create impetus for your marketing plans. It also brings a sense of urgency for achieving objectives within the campaign’s agreed timeframe. Think of your marketing goals as dreams with deadlines, and be sure to set them down in writing.
And, when your goals reach the end of their timeframe, review them and develop new goals based on your strategy’s performance and the insight you’ve taken away.
|Setting Goals in Writing Works, Says US Study A US psychology professor conducted a goal-setting study that revealed a 42% better chance of achieving goals that were written down .
#4 Responsible & Accountable
Responsibility and accountability are vital parts of any successful marketing strategy. Making people accountable ensures that things get done and that the important pieces of your marketing receive the attention and care necessary to be successful, whether it’s social media marketing, content marketing, PPC, or search engine optimization (SEO). Likewise, a professional digital marketing agency is also answerable to its clients.
Whether in-house or outsourced, accountability measures typically include:
- Regular progress updates
- Reports on agreed metrics and KPIs
- Strategy and campaign adjustments as needed
Implementing marketing accountability also helps maintain budgets and keep marketers from complacency, resulting in honed strategies that drive results.
#5 Review and Revise
Just because something works doesn’t mean it can’t work better. The best digital marketing initiatives are not static, as market conditions often change. What worked yesterday may not work as well tomorrow or at all. Experienced marketers know the only constant is change in regulations, technology, the industry, society, etc. That’s why reviewing, revising, and updating campaigns is critical to developing and maintaining a successful marketing strategy.
Here are four other reasons to review and revise your campaigns.
- Better chance of reaching goals
- Marketing is increasingly data-driven and not gut-driven
- Wider perspective on your industry, audience, and your place within them
- Become a better marketer or business owner due to points 1–3
Understand Your Company Offerings
If asked, could you explain—without hesitation—how your company’s products or services impact potential B2B customers? What, precisely, is in it for them?
Understanding your offerings is about understanding two fundamental pieces of marketing information. First, the position of your offerings in the marketplace. Compared to your competitors, what are the pros and cons of your offerings. And, considering that does your target audience make sense? Often companies do this through a SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, Threats) analysis.
The second is being able to bridge the gap between the features of your product or service offering and the benefits the buyer receives. For example, a minivan may feature lots of room for people and storage. But, a buyer sees how they can transport their kids and their gear to soccer practice. That’s their benefit. Sometimes the major consumer benefit of a product or service is an unintended feature.
Get to Know Your Customers & Clients
SMB B2B relationships thrive when companies deliver on their promises and exceed expectations. But you can only cater to precise needs when you know the target audience. It then becomes easier to tailor your marketing efforts when you recognize your prospects’ specific demands, behaviors, and concerns. Thus, having accurate customer and buyer personas is an invaluable part of creating a winning marketing strategy.
The data you collect depends on the audience you want to target. Considerations are demographics, psychographics, business needs, goals, pain points, and how the person or Company interacts. Read ‘Identifying Your Ideal Customer Makes You More Profitable‘ for guidance.
Defining Your USP (Unique Selling Proposition)
No SMB can reach the top of its game without a USP. It’s your opportunity to explain what sets your product or service apart from rivals. Get it right, and your USP will turn prospects into customers. Use the insight gained from the previous two sections to STAND OUT, not blend in. Be mindful of this when communicating your USP to a target audience.
Your product may not be unique, but your message should be. This simple graphic shows the winning zone, the area where your message overlaps the prospects’ needs.
You may need to adjust your USP depending on the medium you use to market your message. But in every case, your USP must be unmistakable and easy to grasp.
The most effective marketing channels to communicate your USP are:
- Traditional advertising
- Social media
- Content marketing
- Paid and organic search
Put yourself in the customer’s shoes as you create your unique selling proposition. This is a time to put your buyer personas to excellent use. And remember to emphasize why your prospects should consider your products or services over your competitors. Develop your USP into powerful narrative examples. There’s Power in Storytelling, use it to articulate purpose, embody values, and sell your unique solution.
How to Reach and Convert Ideal Prospects
A successful marketing strategy attracts the attention of your B2B target audience. But it’s a winning marketing campaign that converts your leads into prospects and prospects into customers. There are several ways to achieve this, but there isn’t a one-size-fits-all marketing tactic. The approach you take depends on the nature of your business and your target buyer. Here are a few helpful ideas for SMBs:
- Show social proof, e.g., case studies, testimonials, reviews, etc.
- Persuade prospects using high-quality, easy-to-grasp content
- Offer free samples, seminar, or introductory trial
Stay engaged at every step of the customer journey in whatever marketing tactics you use. The idea is to develop a system that nurtures and engages your leads to create a seamless, effortless experience. This way, it becomes easier to convert your B2B prospects into customers.
Digital Marketing Strategy Closing Comments
A successful digital marketing strategy doesn’t just happen; it’s created with a finite end date and fine-tuned through its run. No large or small business can become complacent if you want to stay ahead of the competition. But many SMBs avoid digital marketing due to its fast pace and changing trends.
Still, marketing is critical for business survival and a solid marketing strategy is a step in the right direction. So the most-important question for you is the development and implementation of your marketing strategy something you can accomplish in-house, outsource to a digital marketing agency, or partner together for the best of both worlds?
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