A study by Deloitte’s Access Group highlighted that only 16% of Australian SME’s had fully grasped the power of digital marketing techniques. These forward-thinking business leaders were enjoying significant competitive advantage and revenue growth – upwards of 20% more annually than their less digitally enabled competitors.

So if you are in the 16% of those enjoying these great returns – well done!  But what about the rest of you? There is a staggering 1.6 million Australian SME’s who just can’t grasp it.

You can bemoan the good old days, or try to bypass this digital age, but one thing is for certain – a failure to understand and leverage digital marketing within your business is doing your business a disservice.

So what’s holding you back from utilising digital marketing tactics?

align.me works with hundreds of business leaders globally, along with many leading SME’s, and has seen a number of common impediments to digital marketing adoption, including:

1. Lack of domain knowledge:

Even if you buy into the need to digitally enable your business, obtaining timely, SME specific knowledge can be a challenge.  Things like SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is a science and an art form where you need to stay on top of the changes that Google makes on a regular basis to maximise ROI.  Knowing you need to be on the first page for your selected search phrases, and having the skills to make it happen are very different.

 2. Time poor:

Research by Accounting Software giant MYOB suggest SME business leaders leave little time for new innovation and change.  “The survey found that while many SME owners want to develop their business, 46% spend no more than 2 hours per week on activities not related to day-to-day operation.”

3. Access to capital:

Compounded by effective taxation rates, said to be up to 15 times higher than large enterprise, SME’s often struggle to generate the free operating cash they think they need to leverage advanced digital marketing solutions.

4. Access to the right resources:

The entrepreneurial spirit of “holding it together with some bailing wire and getting on and make do” is an all too common catch cry amongst Australian SME’s.  How many business leaders do you know who are reliant upon a well-meaning acquaintance to lead their digital investment?

So how can you overcome these challenges to leverage digital marketing for business success?

Firstly, don’t think of digital marketing as a solution looking for a problem, everything has to be about enabling your buyers – so start here.

STEP 1. Understand your buyers

Ask yourself, what is the big business problem you solve, for the biggest group of prospective buyers, for which they are prepared to pay the highest premium.

This is a fundamental question for all businesses and will shape your business strategy and what digital tactics you use. Armed with the answer, you can then consider the ways that these buyers like to access information.  With up to 70% of the customer’s buying journey taking place without you, you need to understand in detail the profile of your target customers and how they like to engage.

STEP 2. Choose the right tactics

With knowledge about your target buyers, you can then create a set of tactics that are best placed to move your buyers through their journey.  Digital marketing offers you more options than ever before, consider:

1. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Most business owners understand the term SEO and the need to invest to be found via search, but are we being found for the right things?  A recent analysis of one of our own client sites suggested his business was in the highest industry percentile for inbound interest from Search. Closer analysis however, showed that almost all of his search traffic was for his company name and nearly nothing for more generic industry terms. The implication was his site had been optimised to preach to the converted. SEO can and should be a source of high quality leads, but it is an area best left to the professionals to ensure you’re capturing the right business.

2. Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

SEM or Paid Search is a potential source of high quality leads, especially for products and services that tend not to make page one on Google Search Results.

Think about the terms you are optimising, or you run the risk of paying for prospects you don’t want.  One client experienced this painful scenario when attempting to run paid ads for a Large Account Management Program (LAMP), only to see their AdWords clicks take off with people looking for light fittings! This is a prime example of ensuring you are optimising the right key words.

3. Make your website mobile ready

You only have to look in any restaurant, sporting event, and even business meeting to know the mobile generation is clearly upon us.  Your buyers expect to be able to access information when and where they want – and this means mobile.  With more than 50% of all searches now done via mobile phones, if your site is not mobile-enabled you could lose up to half of your potential customers.

4. Strong social media engagement

Social media is word-of-mouth marketing in its purest form. With statistics of almost 1.3 billion Facebook users, more than 600 million Twitter users, and 200 million LinkedIn users, social media is a vital channel for business exposure.

5. e-Marketing

Rich, rhythmic content and buyer relevant e-articles enhance your ability to engage your buyers in a consistent and effective way. Modern marketing automation platforms also give you the power to tailor, track, and expand your reach in ways like never before.

STEP 3. Get the right skills and resources

Find a partner who has the breadth and depth of capabilities to help you bring all these elements together.  To succeed, you need a provider who understands the strategic and the tactical within the SME context. Choose a provider that:

  • Works with you to align your Sales and Marketing around a clear demand generation plan;
  • Helps you define the right mix of traditional and digital Sales and Marketing tactics that are right for your buyer’s journey; and
  • Is flexible enough to align their delivery with your budgeting and resourcing constraints.

To learn about how align.me can offer you a clear, and scalable Sales and Marketing plan, and how we can help boost your digital marketing, leave us your details here and we will contact you at a time that suits.