Invest in digital marketing to double your business growth
It is never too soon to start planning your business growth strategy for 2018. Using the right digital tools can help grow small business revenue. In this article you will learn why it is important to invest in your small business digital engagement strategy as part of your business plan. The second part of this article will give you a specific framework to help drive your desired growth.
Deloitte’s SMB Growth Study
In 2016 SMBs that leveraged digital tools to engage with potential customers enjoyed double the revenues per employee versus companies with relatively undeveloped digital presence, according to a recent study by Deloitte Connected Small Businesses U.S. It turns out that small businesses who invest more on their digital strategy are growing faster than other small businesses.
Deloitte defines four different levels of digital engagement:
Basic Digital Engagement Level
These small businesses don’t have a website and has no social media presence. They do use email, but they do not use social media, and they do not use online advertising.
20% of small business
Intermediate Digital Engagement Level
These SMBs are definitely a step or two ahead of those at the Basic level. Thus they have simple websites. They do use basic digital marketing tactics, such as local search directories, although they don’t sell products online, and their websites aren’t mobile-friendly.
30% of small businesses
High Digital Engagement Level
Their website is mobile-friendly, it includes e-commerce capabilities or offers online appointments. Businesses at a high level of digital engagement use a wide range of online marketing tools, including social media, mobile advertising, lead generation, directories, and more. In addition to marketing, however, they also use digital apps to run their businesses better. For example, they might use cloud storage, collaboration apps, or video conferencing.
30% of small businesses
Advanced Digital Engagement Level
At the top of Deloitte’s digital engagement pyramid, there are companies that use everything mentioned above at a high level of sophistication. Moreover, they often employ data analytics tools as well as develop and promote their own mobile apps.
20% of small businesses
How to plan for revenue growth in 2018
No matter which category your business falls into, you probably ask yourself how do I boost my digital marketing strategy in 2018? Here’s a general strategy planning framework. Follow these steps as you’re planning your business growth strategy for 2018.
Assess the current level of your digital strategy
Use this cheat sheet to determine the level of your business digital strategy.
|Deloitte’s SMB Digital Engagement Levels|
|Use Generic Email||Yes||No||No||No|
|Uses traditional marketing (e.g. Post, Flyers)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Use Business Email||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Has a Newsletter||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Listed in Online Directories||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Has a Blog||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Has a Basic Website||No||Yes||No||No|
|Has a Website with Contact Form||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Has an eCommerce website||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Has online booking option||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Use Online Payments||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Has a Mobile Optimized Website||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Has a Mobile App||No||No||No||Yes|
|Uses Social Media||No||Somewhat||Yes||Yes|
|Has Basic Online Advertising||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Has Advanced Online Advertising||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Use Basic Analytics||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Use Advanced Analytics||No||No||No||Yes|
|Use video conferencing internaly||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Use cloud software internaly||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Use other Digital Tools||No||No||Somewhat||Yes|
|Use task management tools||No||No||Somewhat||Yes|
|Uses Mobile advertising||No||No||No||Yes|
Identify gaps in your digital growth strategy
Consider the tactics used in the next level of digital engagement. If you’re currently at the Intermediate level, that would be the High level. Ask yourself:
- How could each of these tactics benefit my business?
For example, build awareness, increase sales, save time, expand to international markets, etc.
- How costly would each growth tactic be to implement?
Consequently, try to assess the Cost associated with the execution of each opportunity. Think of it in terms of money and time to execute.
- What will be my ROI off of each tactic?
While this is not an easy task, try to assess the potential return on investment by using tools like Google’s Traffic Estimator. Then, apply conversion ratios to guesstimate how many new customers you could get.
- Do I have the right staff on board? Do we have the right skill set to execute our business growth strategy?
Identify potential skill gaps. You may need to train your staff on new digital tools or hire new team members.
- Which opportunities are easiest to implement quickly and which will generate the fastest revenue growth?
Once you have your cost estimates and ROI projections, you can prioritize based on the possible benefit for your business.
- Which tactics solve current business problems?
Finally, identify action items that can help your business growth strategy directly by solving known problems in your business.
After all is said and done, set goals and dates for implementation. Assign responsibility to team members, and meet regularly to make sure you’re making progress towards your digital goals.
Remember: If you are going to boost your investment in online advertising be sure to “test before you invest”. Run small-dollar marketing and advertising campaigns first to minimize risk. Evaluate results and, once you’ve determined it’s working, dial up your ad spend accordingly.
Funds to Grow Your Business
All things considered, investing in your digital strategy will require some extra cash. Therefore, try to plan ahead. Where will this extra cash come from, so there’s no delay in your digital strategy execution. Make your working capital plan part of your 2018 strategy. For example, an alternative financing solution such as invoice financing can offer the necessary working capital to spend more on Adwords, or Facebook advertising, cloud infrastructure and more.