If there’s one thing a small business can’t afford, it’s to operate in a vacuum. The digital age affords us unparalleled connectivity with thousands upon thousands of potential leads out there and if you’re not taking advantage of it, you can bet that your competitors are. While small businesses face a constant uphill struggle to keep costs down and prevent overspending (especially when starting out), it’s important to remember that spending should be considered in proportion to the volume of return that you can expect to see on your investment. While all businesses need to spend money to make money, where and how much they spend can play a huge role in their success.
There are few areas that offer as sizeable a return on investment as marketing. Marketing boosts your online visibility bringing traffic to your online presence resulting in an exponential increase of potential leads for your team to convert. While you can expect an average return : investment ratio of 5:1 there are some marketing costs that are higher in yield than others.
1. Can’t I Just Do it Myself?
Many entrepreneurs are web-savvy enough to have a working understanding of how to generate an online following through social media channels. While there are many ways in which you can boost your online traffic without spending a penny, you should be aware that this may be a false economy. The thing is; as capable as you may be, your time is invariably better spent on the management and operation of your business than the laborious and time-consuming process of growing your online following and search engine visibility organically. Investing time rather than money in marketing might seem like an economically smart move but can affect your productivity with negative consequences for your business.
2. Key Areas of Investment
Most small business owners agree that investing in the knowledge and expertise of an online marketing agency makes good business sense as long as you have trust in your agency. Since online marketing encompasses a range of disciplines, it’s important to know in which areas their expertise is of the most use:
Content Marketing – One thing you have that your competitors don’t is your own unique voice and experience. This is actually your most marketable commodity and the thing that will make you stand out from your competitors. Creating fresh, unique content will help potential leads to develop a personal relationship with you and your business, making you their go-to.
SEO – Search Engine Optimisation or SEO is a huge key to success in business, it’s what ensures that potential customers click on your website on search engine listings and not your competitor’s. What determines search engine ranking is a complicated morass of technical and creative factors that can be baffling to a civilian, which is why it’s best handled by an agency.
Strategy – Many agencies will bring some wonderful short term ideas to the table, but you need to invest in an agency with a stable strategy for the next 3 months, 6 months, 12 months and beyond. Carpet bombing social media with a Pay Per Click campaign may be a great start that results in an initial spike but it’s rendered meaningless if not followed up with something more long term to retain that initial interest.