Increased marketing investments can be met with apprehension by many small businesses. We understand, when you’re cash-strapped it’s hard to justify more spending on marketing measures. Heck, even when you’re not tight on cash, putting money into Facebook posts and email campaigns can seem like a waste of precious funds. In reality, marketing is one of the best investments small businesses can make. This is because marketing efforts generate awareness and encourage business. Consider this: A recent study by Retail Perceptions found that nearly 90 percent of consumers conduct their own online research before making a purchase. Companies that have neglected to invest in critical digital marketing efforts will likely fail to show up in customer searches and, as a result, lose business.
Recent Gartner research puts the average business’s marketing spend at 2.5 percent of its annual revenue, according to Huffington Post contributor Neil Patel. That number is microscopic when you consider that businesses leading the marketing charge tend to spend well over 10 percent of their budgets on these efforts. Twitter, for example, allocates 44 percent of its budget to marketing.
Of course, for SMBs these numbers are a bit inflated. However, the point is that in modern business, the difference between securing a sale and losing one to a competitor may just be your marketing investments. So, how can you tell if your business has some marketing makeup work to do? Let’s take a look at some major signs that your marketing needs some serious financial backing:
- Your last post is a month old:
Most companies have some sort of blog linked to their websites. A clear indicator that marketing needs to become more of a focus is when your blog hasn’t been updated in a month or more.
According to Patel, business blogs should see some new content AT LEAST once a month. This can help with other marketing moves like search engine ranking (more on that later). A neglected blog can translate to an uninterested business. Keep the posts coming and share your insights with your audience.
- You have no plan in place:
Blogs aren’t the only things that require constant care and attention. Business 2 Community contributor Ryan Nelson believes a lack of a marketing plan is a surefire sign of a business with underdeveloped marketing.
Marketing plans not only dictate a roadmap for your content, but they can help you see more tangible returns on your investments. In fact, a survey by the Content Marketing Institute found that over half of the most effective marketers have a documented marketing strategy while 40 percent of the least effective marketers have no documented strategy in place.
- You’re being outranked:
This is where that searches example comes into play. Both Patel and Nelson see being outranked by competitors in search results as a major red flag that your marketing budget needs a little love. When you find your business below the competition in a search engine this means that those competitors are putting more of their marketing dollar into search engine optimization efforts.
SEO involves a lot of moving parts, from keyword targeting to more optimized content. The bottom line is that without investing in this function your business could fall off the search radar and decrease digital visibility.
- You aren’t tracking and analyzing data:
The rapid advancement of marketing technology means that data tracking and analysis is no longer limited to big corporations. With tools such as Google Analytics, small-business owners are able to track the successes and failures of their marketing efforts with relative ease.
While the idea of following things like ‘bounce rates’ and ‘impressions’ may seem daunting, it’s important to leverage this information to inform your future marketing efforts. Businesses that aren’t already doing this are doing themselves a major disservice. Without this data, marketing becomes a shot in the dark. While this may have been enough five years ago, it just doesn’t cut it in modern marketing. Chances are your competitors are already taking advantage of this; don’t fall behind the pack.
- You have no active social media presence:
We could go on all day about just how important social media is for marketers today but we’ll spare you the tangent. The key takeaway here is that without social media, you are missing out on a MAJOR market.
According to Patel, 67 percent of the world’s 3.4 billion internet users are active on social media. That means, chances are, this platform can help you reach a hefty chunk of your target audience. In the words of Patel: “Today’s brands cannot afford social media invisibility.” It is free to join but time and effort are required to maintain a steady presence. We promise, that investment is well worth your while.
How does your company stack up? If one or more of the above statements describe your company, it’s time to take a serious look at your marketing strategy. Give us a call and we’ll help you get back on the right track.