How to Develop a Digital Marketing Strategy for SMEs and Small Business Owners

Reading Time: 6 mins

Digital marketing has become a necessity in today’s world – and many SMEs and small business owners have only just come to realise this. But where do you start when it comes to developing a digital marketing strategy that delivers measurable business growth?


It’s likely you have an idea on where your business should be in a year or in 5 years. But how can digital marketing help you achieve this? Is your goal achievable with the level of investment you plan to put into your marketing?

Whether it’s expanded brand awareness, creating more customers, eroding the competition or otherwise, creating an achievable goal is the first step to achieving success.

If you go all guns blazing into digital marketing without a clear goal of what you wish to achieve in a suitable amount of time, it’s unlikely you will pull it off.

For instance, certain digital marketing channels and techniques will help with brand exposure, but may not be the best way to capture leads and generate sales in the short term. If you want to build up your brand name, then they may be your best choice. If all you want is increased sales over the next few months, perhaps you should look into other channels.

Google Ads or Facebook Ads can lead to quick success, but ultimately play a lesser role in building up your brand. Content marketing and building a content strategy can help you build a strong foothold in the search results for years to come. It’s up to you which fits your goal best – but it’s likely you’ll want to be doing both. But your first focus is likely still influenced by your goal.

Conversion paths

How will you generate leads or sales? Is it from prompting a user to purchase particular items? Or is it to lead them down a path to fill out a form, enter their contact details or otherwise?

Your digital marketing strategy needs to outline exactly what you wish to achieve through your digital marketing, whether it’s from your ads or a particular marketing funnel.

A digital marketing funnel can really make a difference in mapping your customer journey and turning anonymous website visitors into leads.

How can you more effectively move potential customers through a marketing funnels? This could be specific offers, calls to action, or content that adds to the funnel.

Think about how you can move a customer from simply being aware of your brand, to taking a specific action on your site?

Lead magnets

Is there one particular thing you can offer that can drive potential customers down a funnel?

Perhaps it’s a free trial, a free audit, or something else that’s directly relevant to your product or service.

This should be used to get more information from your potential customer, while they get to see what your product or service is really like.

Perhaps it’s a free download, such as a whitepaper or a brochure. They are expressing an interest, get more information, and you get their contact details.

You can then use these details to send marketing material to nurture them down the funnel at a later stage.

Effective calls to action

Calls to action are key to collecting contact information.

Calls to action are usually images or text that prompts website visitors to take a particular action, whether that is to subscribe, download something, or request a demo or otherwise.

Calls to action usually aim to collect contact information in exchange for marketing material that they will find useful.

A call to action should be enticing, attention-grabbing, and tells a visitor exactly what they need to do in order to get the offer. All this leads to helping customers further down the marketing funnel.

Marketing automation and email

How will you keep in touch with customers? Email is the most obvious choice, and is the best choice, really.

But marketing automation is transforming how businesses market to potential customers, and keep in touch with them in the long run. This all helps with nurturing down a marketing funnel.

Instead of sending out individual email blasts, you can send individual personalised emails when a customer takes a certain action, such as signing up to download a whitepaper or visiting a particular page.

Filling the top of the funnel

How do you aim to get people to your website in the first place?

Email marketing? Content marketing? SEO? Advertising? Or other channels such as social media?

At the end of the day, for any business taking digital marketing seriously, you should be looking into all of these channels. However, it better to do one or two effectively than all of them poorly. Key pointers here:

  • Optimise the SEO of your website so Google properly indexes your site and sends relevant traffic
  • Content or blog posts should be important for attracting customers asking particular questions. Write content they will find useful or informative, and Google will direct them there. As long as it’s all optimised. Analyse key phrases that your audience searches for.
  • Keep social media accounts updated on relevant channels to spread the word about your products or services, and promote your content.
  • Advertise on relevant platforms, such as Google, Facebook, Bing, LinkedIn, Twitter and otherwise. Not all platforms will be relevant for your audience – but can see great returns. Google is usually applicable to most businesses.
  • Send out email marketing – whether it’s promotional, or a newsletter or otherwise. Go one step further and implement marketing automation to ensure the best, timely messaging is created.