Digital marketing for SMEs: how to thrive in 2021
Digital marketing is a fundamental part of any business’s growth and potential. Get it right and you’re well on your way, but getting it wrong results in wasted budget, time, resources and… the opportunity.
Digital marketing is now a fundamental part of any business’s growth and potential. Get it right and you’re well on your way, but getting it wrong results in wasted budget, time, resources and of course, the opportunity.
Right now there are plenty of digital marketing methods being implemented across New Zealand with clients unsure of what questions to ask or if the results are actually good. There is plenty of mystery around what digital marketing truly is and the jargon and buzzwords surrounding the function doesn’t help.
While programs like MBIE Digital Boost seek to increase digital marketing literacy in New Zealand, it is important to continue to educate and ensure all SMEs and startups have the adequate resources to reach their audiences effectively. So in an effort to unearth the trends, trials and tribulations facing Kiwi businesses when it comes to digital marketing, we got under the hood to better understand the trends and tactics that are going to make an impact today.
Actionable insights to apply to your digital marketing now
While at Aro we utilised digital marketing to drive results like signups and purchases, our survey revealed that the majority of businesses are focused on using it for brand awareness. We found that 65 percent of businesses surveyed use digital marketing for generating brand awareness and reach, lead generation and email sign-ups is the second biggest focus for business with 53 percent, and 41 percent of businesses use online channels to drive purchases.
We looked at which platforms are performing well and compared digital marketing channels with digital placements on traditional media.
When it comes to paid advertising Google and Facebook lead the way in terms of performance. We’re seeing a mixed performance from Linkedin currently, but as they start to roll out new advertising features and grow in popularity, we’re noticing B2B businesses especially giving more attention to this platform as a paid advertising channel.
When it comes to challenges, not surprisingly with startups and SMBs, time, tactical knowledge and consistency seem to be the downfalls. In addition to this, all the algorithmic changes, platform & best-practice updates and new feature roll-outs, it starts to become a bit tricky to stay on top of things, especially when resources are stretched and the budget is tight. We see many smaller businesses dropping the ball and losing the consistency required to keep an engaged and active audience.
With the oversaturation of social feeds, users today are demanding higher quality content and creativity. Without a full-suite, in-house marketing team this high-calibre level of content can be difficult to produce week-in-week-out.
Another common challenge highlighted from the survey is businesses not being able to tell if their ads are achieving tangible results. Paid digital ads generally require regular monitoring and optimization to work effectively. Many businesses will leave underperforming ads running because they lack the knowledge and technical expertise to analyze and carefully refine the ads to generate trackable results.
Making sure you have a clear way to analyse marketing spend is critical when it comes to making budgeting decisions that affect your business’ development.
Leading social platforms are still delivering some serious results, with 92 percent of businesses surveyed active on Facebook, 72 percent on Instagram, and 65 percent on Linkedin. Within this, 73 percent stated that their overall digital marketing performance either met or exceeded expectations.
And finally, those surveyed noted that authentic video content will be on the up in 2021, with 61 percent of marketers seeing video as a “very important or extremely important” part of their marketing strategy.
Food for thought
The world of digital marketing is ever-changing and fluid, we’re noticing that whilst there are a lot of new and exciting channels popping up, it makes a lot of sense to still focus on the key players (Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin and Youtube ) whilst keeping an eye out for TikTok.
As a startup or small-mid business, focusing your resources in digital will tend to pay off especially for brand awareness and lead generation. And, if you can partner up with a digital team who will take care of your marketing needs this will free up a bunch of time and resource, so you can focus on what you’re actually passionate about, your business!
Article by Tim Dorrian (pictured above), co-founder and MD of Aro Digital, a Wellington-based purpose driven agency with a mission to improve New Zealand’s understanding of digital marketing by sharing its skillset to help clients harness the power of search, social and analytics.