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Today’s SA Business Journal in The Advertiser includes an article summarising the results of a recent small business survey by Bank SA.
According to the results:
“more South Australian small businesses think investment in new marketing strategies is key to fighting for market share”.
The survey canvassed 300 small business owners and managers throughout South Australia, and:
“found marketing was increasingly important to remain buoyant with 60 per cent saying they had either recently or were likely to soon be creating a new or improved business website.
Another 57 per cent said they were investing in business technology and 51 per cent either had recently or were planning to build an online social media profile.
Bank SA chief executive Nick Reade said the research showed those businesses adopting more proactive strategies to improve performance were also faring better with those playing ‘wait and see’ clearly lagging behind.”
“More proactive businesses have recognised that new marketing strategies are needed to address subdued consumer spending and reach new and potential customers,” Mr Reade said.
“These businesses are adopting online strategies, creating their own client databases for marketing purposes, and developing stronger social media profiles to ensure ongoing communication with their customers.”
These results do not surprise me.
Digital and social media marketing can be more cost effective than many traditional marketing and advertising approaches, and the results can be measured, allowing for continual improvement of the overall marketing strategy.
However, the traps can occur for businesses who assume that because it doesn’t “cost” anything to use social media channels, that this type of marketing is cheap or free, and that it is a “silver bullet” to achieving business success.
Even if the business owner or staff are managing accounts themselves, there is still a valuable time investment required. And without a clear strategy of why the business is using digital marketing and social media, this time can be easily wasted.
Taking the time or employing a professional to develop a clear strategy before beginning digital marketing is a wise investment. This should involve clearly identifying what the business’s goals are, and aligning them with relevant digital and social media marketing activities, rather than getting caught up in whatever is bright and shiny.
“If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.” ~ Red Adair
It is also important to identify early what the success measures are, ensure they can be measured, and how often these will be reported on to ensure the online marketing is on track.
Another trap is assuming that a website is a once-off investment. Again, not only do you need to maintain the website technology, domain registration, and website and DNS hosting but to keep the website relevant – and visible in search engines – it is imperative to invest in creating and publishing relevant content on a regular basis.
The businesses we see succeeding are those that have clear business objectives, and a strong partnership and open communication with their digital marketing and social media providers. This approach is successful as the business can focus on what they do best, the marketers can focus on what they do best, and they can work together to educate each other and achieve their common goals.
You can read the full article (behind the paywall) here.