Most small businesses choose to approach online marketing with a do-it-yourself (DIY) mentality. From managing social media, website updates, listing management (Google My Business, Yelp, etc.) and more, DIY is the cost-effective approach. However, new research shows that many small businesses are overlooking critical and fundamental aspects of any marketing strategy.

According to Brandmuscles’s 2018 State of Local Marketing Report which surveyed over 2,700 “dealers, agents, franchisees and distributors of national and global brands,” roughly 97% of of the small businesses in the survey said they utilize some form of DIY marketing. Based on historical data, the rate of DIY marketing among small businesses has been steadily increasing.

However, other data points in the study indicate serious flaws with this approach. For example, 60% of small businesses do not know who owns their Google My Business listing and 36% of aren’t sure if their website is mobile responsive. These are fundamental digital tactics that small businesses can’t afford to overlook.

While the DIY approach is more desirable than hiring and paying for an expert to do it, digital marketing is complex and takes time. Squeezing digital marketing in when you can isn’t an effective way to grow business. To be effective, you need to educate yourself on which channels are important, how to use these channels and then put in the time to actually execute Facebook posts, website updates, email design, etc. But in many cases there just isn’t enough time in the day to do this effectively.

One survey of small businesses suggests that the majority feel their marketing efforts are “good enough.” However, the Brandmuscle study suggests the opposite and if you are going to manage the marketing of your business and do so effectively, you must be able to dedicate time to the following:

  1. Pick your desired customer action (calls, clicks, website visits, form fills, etc.)
  2. Develop an overall marketing strategy to generate these actions
  3. Identify the channels you will utilize to promote your business (social media, email, SEO, etc.)
  4. Educate yourself on how to effectively use these channels
  5. Execute the actual “work” of pushing content, sending emails, responding to customers, etc.
  6. Understand how to track the performance of these efforts
  7. Analyze the performance metrics and track ROI on the various efforts
  8. Optimize your strategy to generate more interest/leads

This is a tall order for any small business and it may make more sense to work with a partner. Whatever you decide, digital marketing can be extremely valuable when done effectively.