SME digital marketing essentials: How to kick start your plan

As a small business owner trying to look after every element of your business, digital marketing can often fall to the bottom of the pile. But, it's so important! Here are our top 5 tips for kickstarting your strategy.

If you’re running a small business, you can’t afford to ignore digital marketing. To grow your business, you must build a presence online and ensure you find your customers in the right places. More customers than ever are researching and purchasing online, turning to search engines to find the products and services they need and want. 

It’s estimated that online shopping sales will reach $6.4 billion worldwide by 2024. Plus, 69% of small businesses are using digital marketing to attract customers and sales. With so many people researching and shopping online, it’s easy to see why building an online presence is so important for the growth of your business. 

As a small business owner, it can be difficult to know where to start. Finding the time and resources to execute a digital marketing strategy can be tricky so we’ve put together our top 5 digital marketing essentials to help you get started. 

Kickstarting your SME digital marketing strategy 

Here are our top tips for kick-starting your SME digital marketing strategy. 

1. Assess your existing strategy 

The first step to getting your digital marketing strategy on track is taking a look at what you’re already doing (if you’re running any marketing activities!). Before you start planning any new marketing strategy you need to define your business goals and what you want to achieve in the next 6-12 months. 

This will help you assess the marketing activities that are helping you reach these goals and those that are ineffective or need improvement. We recommend doing some competitor research to find out what they’re doing and see if you can get any ideas for your own strategy. Their target audience is the same as yours so it’s useful to see how they’re reaching them and what you can do differently to reach them. 

Have a look at your Google Analytics account to see where you’re currently driving traffic, and then you can include this in your new strategy going forwards as well as trying out new activities.  

2. Create a plan 

Once you’ve reviewed what you’re already doing, you need a plan for the future. Having a marketing plan in place will help you to make sure your digital marketing activities align with your business goals, help to guide your decisions on the best activities for your business and understand your performance. 

You can find plenty of free marketing plan templates online but this one from HubSpot provides a great place to start. 

Remember that your marketing plan doesn’t need to be a huge document. It’s just something that will help you to get organised and work out who’s going to do what when it comes to your digital marketing activities. 

These are the key elements that should be included in your marketing plan: 

  • Your target market 
  • Your target audience’s pain points 
  • Your key messages and USPs 
  • The channels your target audience is using 
  • Who is going to take care of your activities - are you going to outsource anything? 
  • Your marketing budget 
  • Your goals and how your marketing will help you meet them 

Having a document with all of these elements written down will really help you to think about what you want to achieve and the activities you will need to invest in to achieve your goals. Knowing exactly who you’re targeting, what they do online and what they want to know is key to understanding which activities are likely to be most effective for your business. 

3. Develop your brand

Your brand isn’t a marketing channel that’s going to provide direct ROI but it is a key element of your marketing strategy. Start with your business name, logo and brand identity - this is the visual that customers will associate with your brand and should encompass your brand values too. Your brand appears on every interaction your potential customers have with yout business and will help them to recognise your brand when they see it online. 

Your customers need to know who they’re interacting with when they visit your website, receive an email or encounter your business on any other digital channels. Generally, customers need to have seven interactions with your business before they will make a purchase. This means you need to develop your brand identity and make sure it shines through at every contact with your customers. Building brand awareness is a key part of digital marketing - you need customers to know who you are and what you do if you want them to buy from you. 

4. Review your website  

To survive in today’s digital world, an online presence is crucial. If you’re investing in digital marketing activities, your website is a key aspect of your strategy because this is where you’re going to be driving traffic. 

If you already have a website, take some time to improve it. Look at the content and the keywords you can optimise it for, make sure it’s as user friendly as possible and mobile friendly too. You need to make sure your website tells customers exactly what you do, provides them with the information they need and leads them to make a purchase. 

If you don’t already have a website, this is where you’ll need to start before you do anything. Even a basic website that you can optimise and add product or service pages to along with a blog that will allow you to drive traffic and have content to share on social media. 

5. Measure your campaigns 

Once you have your campaigns up and running, you will need to measure the results carefully. Look at how well your campaigns are working - are there some elements that are working better than others? What improvements can you make to get the best ROI? 

This part of your strategy is just as important as running the campaigns themselves. Constantly monitoring and tweaking your campaigns will help you to keep improving them and learn more about what resonates with your target audience and which activities are most effective for your business. 

Key takeaways 

As a small business, knowing where to start when it comes to digital marketing for your business can be tricky. However, following these five tips will help you to make a start. Once you have these elements in place, you can start looking into the best digital marketing strategies for your SME. 

📚Learn more about this in our blog: 7 top SME digital marketing strategies for B2B 

When you’re trying to do everything on your own, finding the time and resources to dedicate to your digital marketing strategy can be difficult but it’s so important. If you’re struggling to make a start, please contact us at and we can provide a free digital marketing audit with guidance on the best activities for your business and how we can help. 

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Blog written by

Amy Ward