How Digital Marketing Agencies Can Help Grow Your Small Business?
Date : Jun 11, 2021
Author : Isaac Addo
Categories : Business Tips
Last week I stumbled upon an old school friend Kevin, in the supermarket. This was our first encounter after almost 10 years. Turns out, Kevin runs his own gardening and home supplies business now. He told me “Business was fine until the virus came along.” So I asked if he had tried selling his products online. He replied saying, “Yes, but you know how difficult it is to manage both online and offline,”. I then asked him if he had sought professional help from a digital marketing campaign agency, you know, to sort things out?
No, he replied, “I don’t believe those guys. Agencies are too expensive and everything they can do; I can do too. But it’s just that I don’t have time for social media and blogs right now. ”
It was a brief 10-minute conversation. But it got me thinking.
How many small business owners can’t (or won’t) invest in digital marketing because:
1. They are too expensive of an investment? Or
2. They don’t think their customers will respond to online adverts?
2020 made businesses think more about trading online. Small businesses were forced to grow nimble and enter survival mode, and I began thinking about strategies to grow an online business.
While it is true that small businesses need to pivot their original business and sales models during and after the pandemic, the need of the hour is not just a website, a few social media handles, and a payment gateway. Entrepreneurs who survived and mitigated shutting down shop during the first wave in 2020 were the ones who had been digitally active throughout their journey, either through an in-house team or a digital marketing campaign agency.
Here are some key statistics.
A B2B survey by Clutch.Co found that nearly 64% of small businesses have a website. However, less than 30% of businesses that have a website, do not use analytics, coupon codes, or call tracking. As many as 18% of businesses do not track anything at all. The biggest reason behind this is the fear of technology among entrepreneurs and the notion that buying, developing, and maintaining a website is super expensive.
But having a website is not all. You also need a robust content strategy to publish quality content on your website, social media handles to share this content with your followers, an email strategy to keep a tab on your customers, new leads, and referrals, and, above all this, keyword monitoring to stay abreast with your competitors.
Sounds like a handful, isn’t it? This is why you need a digital campaign agency.
Still need proof?
Search Engine Optimisation is important for businesses to increase their online sales. In fact, 51% of buyers use Google to research a product they plan to buy online. “Near me” and “Where to buy” queries from mobiles have grown by over 200% in the last two years. As many as 98% of sales representatives are reaching (and exceeding) their targets through selling online.
And yet, 71% of small business owners do their own digital marketing, instead of leaving it to a digital marketing campaign agency. 1 in 5 small business owners haven’t incorporated digital marketing yet – and for those who do, 50% of them spend less than £300 per month on online marketing.
Content marketing is cheaper than outbound marketing by as much as 62%, but it generates three times as many leads. Hiring a digital marketing agency might seem like a far-fetched idea to such businesses, but the investment pays for itself in the long run.
What is a digital marketing agency? What roles does it play in growing my business?
Here’s a fun fact. Most small businesses are typically a one-person army.
Meaning the owner is usually the seller, shopkeeper, sales rep, chat assistant, and customer service representative. LeadPages found that 47% of all small business owners handle their marketing efforts on their own.
This makes me wonder, between inventory management, family and relationships, sleeping, selling, and order management, when do owners plan the “perfect time” to create content that blows away their customers?
I agreed that small businesses cannot shell out thousands of pounds every month on digital marketing only, but speaking from experience, it is a smart investment. Businesses that work with a digital marketing agency have grown by leaps and bounds.
Here are two case studies
This UK-based business offers a range of video and audio transcription services, on-site notes, and captions taking. It was struggling to support its growing customer needs. The business signed up on HubSpot in 2018 and has since increased its website traffic by nearly 22%. They also saw a 116% growth in leads and a 16% increase in their customer base.
Marketing guru Eric Siu bought this failing SEO agency for $2
Using his inherent knowledge in marketing to generate multi-platform content, Eric transformed a soon-to-be-shut-down company into a digital marketing diva. Single Grain publishes fresh 2000-words content on their blog four times a week. The agency is also active on social media in leveraging relationships with influencers, hosting speaker events, and often going live.
Their key differentiator is a marketing podcast, Growth Everywhere, that Eric hosts with Neil Patel. The podcast is a series of interviews with thought leaders and entrepreneurs on how businesses can grow with actionable tips.
The first example shows us of a start-up benefitting from a digital campaign agency’s help and the other, of a digital marketing agency itself, that used all the practices that are typically offered to clients and their businesses.
Hopefully, you now see that the strategies that a digital marketing agency uses are not just a revenue generation model for themselves, like my friend Kevin observed. The right digital marketing agency can actually make a difference to your business.
How to promote business through digital marketing – What does an agency do differently?
1. Digital Agencies Make the connection
“Every single interaction, the most minute details of the interaction you have with your customer, are an opportunity for you to create something remarkable.” Joey Coleman, CX Expert & Co-host of Experience This!
When Adidas realised that its customers were buying more shoes online, it poured its resources into creating simple and bespoke customer experiences through tailored messages and insight-rich content. Based on customer feedback, the company introduced sustainable goods. It began producing shoes from ocean waste. Each pair of the UltraBoost shoe reuses 11 plastic bottles. In 2017, the German sports giant sold a whopping 1 million pairs of UltraBoost!
Do you see the power of talking (and listening) to your customers? Can you imagine what online presence will do for your business? Every interaction that you have with your customers and potential customers creates an impression in their mind. Of course, you cannot hire fifty experts just for social media like Adidas, but you can definitely ask a digital campaign agency to manage your online presence for you.
That being said, a digital agency becomes all the more relevant if you want to make every interaction count.
2. Digital Agencies Improves your communication with your clients.
Let’s assume that you are in the fashion industry and are launching a new fall line. You can reach out to potential attendees with cold emails to the virtual inauguration and after event engagement. Say you send 1,000 emails, out of which 900 people read your email but do not take any action. You then send these 900 people another email with an exclusive sneak-peak inside your event, a list of designers who will participate, and a detailed event flow. Let’s say 800 people click on this and about 650 people RSVP for the event. That’s 65% confirmations!
Now imagine these numbers going up. Your agency mails a database of over one hundred thousand emails and about 65,000 people register for your event. With such huge projections, you can easily reach out to sponsors and investors.
…and this is just one of the many, many channels you can leverage to reach out to your customers. There are social media promotions, landing pages, sponsored ads, near me promotions, business listings, influencer promotions, podcasts, and full-fledged email campaigns.
Takeaway: A digital marketing agency helps your business connect with customers and potential leads on every possible touchpoint with relevant, engaging content.
3. Better content, less noise
Bell Performance is a small business in the US that manufactures fuel additives and treatments for businesses and consumers. In the words of Erik Bjornstad, Director of Technical Sales at Bell, “We’re a small company that thinks big. As such, we have to know what’s going to make the biggest impact for us, relative to what our larger competition is doing. As we progressed on this journey, we wanted to expand our influence by sharing helpful content and increase the number of people that knew about Bell.”
For those familiar with marketing best practices, this is Inbound Marketing. The company listened to the customer feedback and worked on “creating more detailed and specific content to help people solve very specific fuel-related problems.”
The results, as you can see below, were excellent.
Do you think Bell Performance would have received such a response if they did not know what kind of content to create? Or did not have the right guidance? Their industry is a niche sector. There is even more competition in industries like app development, cooking, and travel & hospitality.
When everybody is offering discounts, free trials and consultations, and coupon codes, how do you make your business stand out? What is it that you can do differently that will place your business ahead of the competition? More importantly, how do you know your tactic will work or whether you’re doomed to fail?
When you work with a digital marketing campaign agency, the first thing they usually do is to come up with a marketing and content strategy. For this, they study the latest happenings and news from your industry. They study your audience and then your competitors. After this, they create fresh, high-impact content.
Takeaway: A digital marketing agency is not only pivotal in getting you more eyeballs. It is instrumental in finding you the right and relevant audience that converts.
4. What Social media platform should you use for your small business.
Remember the Ice Bucket Challenge? The viral social media campaign to raise awareness about ALS involved high-profile names, including Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Benedict Cumberbatch, Victoria Beckham, and Matt Damon. Now imagine if it had been posted on a website instead of social media.
My point is, your audience is everywhere, but YOU have to decide what channels are the best for your business. Food, art, design, crafts businesses explode on Instagram and Pinterest while B2B businesses do amazingly well on LinkedIn.
Life and businesses coaches prefer podcasts while every business wants to conquer Twitter. Emailing is not dead yet and it is a powerful medium for every business to stay in touch with their customers. Newsletters are extremely valuable, even today.
But then again, how do you know what platform works best for the audience in your industry? Bring out the big guns. Turn to a digital marketing agency to help you identify the best platforms to engage with your customers.
Takeaway: Being in the right place at the right time can make a lot of difference to your brand image and nobody knows this better than your digital marketing campaign agency.
5. Strategies to grow an online business – State of digital marketing in 2021 in the UK
The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically accelerated the online business models. Here’s a projection of the digital marketing spends worldwide for the period of 2019 to 2024 by eMarketer.
A market study by The Drum shows that more than 50% of businesses in the UK have increased their investment in technological and digital innovation, as more consumers are now shopping online. I’ve deduced the following observations from their survey itself.
1. More focus on website personalisation
Businesses are tailoring their websites to individual visitors. This way, customers will see products that are they are most likely to buy. About one-third of businesses already provide this experience on their website and as many as 13% of businesses are planning to add this feature in 2021.
Businesses can make this transformation seamless if they define their target audience based on device information, location, purchase history, and user behaviour. Smart product recommendations and customised landing pages can help you implement tailored content on your website. Your digital campaign agency will keep them at the top of their to-do list, but make sure you stay on top of it as well.
2. Data management is important for small business growth
Putting their own data to good use is one of the major challenges that marketers face. Drum’s study revealed that as many as 63% of businesses struggle with disjointed data sets that only offer a partial view of consumer behaviour.
Use a data management platform to identify the audience, refocus your targets, and optimise your advertising budgets. Make sure to map this data to your CRM to get insights in real-time. Digital campaign agencies already have tools that can help you achieve this. Make sure to share your requirements in complete detail.
3. Customer experience is paramount
In light of the pandemic, customers are paying, even more, heed to their shopping experience than they did in the past – and this is where marketers are investing their budgets. Choose a digital marketing campaign agency that places customer experience at the top.
Align your marketing strategy with real-time insights on visitor and shopper behaviour on your site. Then, execute campaigns that address the pain points of your customers across multiple platforms. Automating cross-channel campaigns to capture every touchpoint is also a good idea. This way, you can meet your customers halfway. When you work with any agency, ask for their inputs in achieving cross-platform campaigns and then go with a strategy that’s optimal for your business as well as your customer data.
2020 was a tough year. By the looks of it, 2021 is not going to be a cakewalk either. However, with the right intentions and a competent digital marketing campaign agency, you can not just keep your business afloat but also secure more leads with a better brand image.