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Digital Marketing For Small Businesses: Building The Framework

by Momina Asif
Read Time: 10 minutes
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As a small business owner, setting up the right digital marketing strategies can be a bit overwhelming. But fear not, we have you covered. 

In this article, we will cover everything about developing a marketing strategy for your business. 

Let's dive in! 

1. Build your buyer persona 

First things first — you need to know who you are marketing to. And for that, you need a detailed buyer persona(s). 

So, how do you create one? 

Buyer personas are your ideal customers, and you can create them by researching, surveying, and getting to know your business's target audience. 

When creating a buyer persona, remember to have as much real data as possible instead of making assumptions about your customers, which can cause your marketing strategy to fail. 

When developing your buyer persona(s), ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are their ages? Where are they located? What's their job title? 
  • What are their motivations and fears? 
  • What are their shopping habits? 
  • Do they do research before making purchases? What's their process like? 
  • How do they interact with brands? 
  • Who do they look to when making buying decisions? 
  • Which social media platforms do they hang out on? 

By answering these questions, you will be able to create an accurate buyer persona that effortlessly guides your marketing strategies. 

"When building your marketing strategy, the first thing is to be clear on your buyer persona," says Bronwyn Tagg, a Freelance Marketer. Bronwyn focuses on knowing your audience as much as possible to market to them successfully.  

2. Identify your marketing goals 

Your marketing goals depend on the type of business you are in, and they should always be tied back to the end goals of your business. 

Set up clear and attainable goals that define exactly what you want to achieve. To be more specific, include specific numbers and timeframes that can be the benchmarks for your progress. 

Let's look at an example. If you plan to increase the online revenue of your business by 20%, then one of the goals of your digital marketing strategies can be to generate 50% more leads through your social media and email marketing compared to last year. 

Joanna Rutter, Small Business Marketing Consultant at Tiny Megaphone, focuses on setting up tangible goals when setting up digital marketing strategies. She says, "Number one mistake I see small business owners make is not working backward from a measurable financial goal. 'More leads' is not a good goal for a $200 ad campaign but 'increase weekly walk-in traffic by 20%' is closer." 

3. Define your digital channels 

Now that you have a buyer persona and your goals defined let's move on to the digital channels you will be using. 

Let's continue with our example of generating 50% more leads through social media and email marketing. In that case, it's clear that the channels you need to focus highly on are email and social media platforms. 

Which social media platforms? Or all of them? That depends on where your ideal customer is.

Melanie Deziel, co-founder and VP of Marketing at The Convoy, tells small business owners to be realistic when it comes to different channels. She says, "There's a lot of pressure to be on every platform and using every tactic, but it's okay (better, even!) to start small and grow as you're able." 

You can employ various digital channels based on your marketing goals. Some include content marketing, SEO marketing, Pay-Per-Click (PPC) marketing, and influencer marketing. 

Michelle Garrett, a Marketing Consultant, says, "Know where your audience spends time before you waste time, effort, and money on a particular channel or platform. Figure that out first — then determine the best way to reach them there." 

4. Have tools to execute your strategy 

As a small business owner, it can be overwhelming to decide which tools and platforms are worth the money. 

We get it. We have been there. 

So, how do you decide which tools are important to help execute your digital marketing strategies? 

That depends on the digital channels you have decided on to execute your marketing goals. 

Per our example, you want to scale your email and social media marketing efforts. There are various platforms built for social and email marketing, but none are better suited for small businesses than DirectLync

With DirectLync, you don't need separate tools to send emails and schedule your social posts. Oh, and you also get access to a CRM to help you manage your clients properly. And since it is made for small businesses to help them grow, the pricing starts at just $20/month. If you want to get a feel for it first, you can sign up for a 14-day free trial

Some other tools that will help you execute your digital marketing are: 

  • Google Analytics — provides valuable insights into who is visiting your website and how they are engaging with it. 
  • BuzzSumo — shows you trending content across social media based on your searched topics. 
  • Canva — helps you design marketing collateral easily without the hassle of hiring a graphic designer. 
  • OptinMonster — allows you to capture leads and turn them into prospects. 
  • Trello — a project management tool for small teams and individuals that allows you to set up to-do lists and add due dates, members, labels, and more to individual cards. 
  • Loom — allows you to record video content easily and share it with your clients. 

5. Create content according to your requirements 

Let's move on to the fun part — creating content. 

As a small business, you don't necessarily need to create content to rank on Google. It's a good goal to have, but it also takes a lot of effort and time. 

So, when creating content, prioritize uniqueness and individuality. Come up with great content ideas by talking to your target audience and seeing what they want to know and read about. 

Try to create unique and valuable content, so more people are interested in what you have to say. Morgan Ulrich, a Digital Marketing Specialist, says, "Offer value in every piece of content you send your audience's way. Meet their needs, solve their problems, exceed their expectations — not just in your product/service, but in your marketing."

And as a small business with limited resources, one thing you can do is content repurposing. You can convert your blog posts into emails, your newsletters into social media posts, and your webinars into long-form content or lead magnets through repurposing.

6. Build a marketing calendar 

To have an effective digital marketing strategy, you need to build out a marketing calendar well into the future. 

A marketing calendar helps you with accountability and using your efforts properly. It also ensures that you are executing several different kinds of digital marketing strategies throughout the year. 

You can have a 3-month, 6-month, or 12-month marketing calendar with a breakdown of each month's marketing activities mapped out. 

When creating your marketing calendar, you have to be realistic. Don't overwhelm yourself and the team, as it will lead to problems in the future. Make sure all the goals set in the marketing calendar are easily achievable. 

Masooma, a freelance B2B SaaS writer, cautions against spreading yourself too thin. She says, "Be it marketing channels you're using or shortlisting between strategies, make sure you don't overcrowd your calendar. The reason? So you can focus on strategies and channels that are important." 

7. Measure the results 

You have created the content and hit publish. Now what? 

Now you wait and see how well your digital marketing campaigns are performing. Measure the key performance indicators (KPIs) and compare the outcomes of your campaigns with the original goals. 

If the results are not what you expected, that's okay — marketing campaigns aren't successful overnight. So, you go back, adjust things a bit, and try again. 

Another important thing to remember is to measure each channel to identify what's working for your brand and what doesn't need more effort at the moment. 

According to Joanna, not tracking the results of your campaigns is the second biggest mistake businesses make. "If you can't measure it or at least ballpark it, it will become a waste of time. Start with a goal and a way to measure that goal, and you pretty much can't go wrong."

Digital Marketing Strategies to Consider 

You have made it this far. Now what's left is to have a quick look at some of the digital marketing strategies you can employ for your next campaign. 

Content Marketing 

Content marketing is so much more than just writing blogs. Content can be written, audio, or video. 

Content marketing entails writing educational blogs and long-form content to get your prospects to know more about you, creating lead magnets to convert leads into prospects, building educational videos and courses to educate your audience, and much more. 

Some things to remember when doing content marketing include:

  1. Always put your audience first. 
  2. Make sure your content is SEO-optimized. 
  3. Use your brand's tone of voice. 
  4. Show readers they can trust you.  

Email Marketing 

Email marketing generates an ROI of $42 for every $1 spent. So it's an essential marketing strategy, especially for small businesses. 

You can send emails to announce new products and services, tell your audience about product updates, share promotions or sales offers, send educational content, and engage with your audience.

Search Engine Marketing

Ranking for Google on a keyword is a huge task — one that requires a lot of time and effort. And as a small business owner, your efforts can be spent on creating unique and valuable content.

Saying that, there is a huge advantage of search engine marketing. It gives you a chance to compete with bigger brands that are already ranking. It also gives you more visibility. 

Social Media Marketing 

Social media is a goldmine for small businesses. You can have an engaged audience on social media that listens to you, interacts with the content you put out, and roots for your success. 

For social media marketing, you have to actively listen to what your audience engages with and where your audience hangs out. Not every platform will be for every business, and that's okay.

PPC Marketing 

Pay-per-click (PPC) marketing means running online ads where you only pay when the ad has been clicked on. For small businesses, PPC marketing can become a bit expensive. 

You can target your ads to a specific geographic location where your target audience is. Pricing is based on keyword competition, and popular keywords cost more.   

Building your digital marketing strategy the right way! 

As a small business, you might have a long road ahead to nail your digital marketing strategy, and that's okay. You have already taken the first step, and you are on the road to success. 

This article has covered everything you need to build a solid digital marketing strategy and scale your marketing efforts. 

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