You run a one-person shop and don’t think that you have time to spare for in-depth digital marketing plans. You’re busy. We understand. In addition to lack of time, you might avoid marketing because you don’t feel comfortable doing it, or don’t know how to do it efficiently. Instead, you might tell yourself that you’re doing OK, that you’re deliberately holding back because you don’t want to grow your business too quickly, etc. However, in today’s fast-paced marketplace, it’s guaranteed that your competition will be quick to fill the void if you don’t spend time and resources to make your business visible online. Fortunately, it’s possible to create an effective local marketing plan that will fit into even the busiest of schedules. This guide will show how local business owners can handle digital marketing internally, as well as when (and why) partnering with a local marketing software provider can help take things to the next level.
What Does In-house Marketing Mean?
Simply put, in-house marketing is when the business itself is doing the marketing. Instead of hiring outside providers, you plan, implement and manage a digital marketing local strategy all yourself.
Advantages of keeping marketing in house One of the major advantages of in-house marketing is that you keep full control of your marketing efforts. You know your products and services inside-and-out, are devoted to your brand’s message and are motivated to pay special attention to your customers.
Drawbacks of keeping marketing in house Problems with internal marketing are largely related to a lack of marketing specific knowledge, tools and skills. For instance, you can’t easily see what does and doesn’t work across a wide range of industries. You generally don’t have the same level of experience as professional marketers. Business owners can also find it difficult to keep up with trends and technological advances in the marketing field.
Reasons why business owners choose to handle local marketing themselves There are numerous reasons why you might decide to run your marketing campaigns solo, for instance:
- You’ve been burned by past agencies and don’t want to deal with the hassle
- Nobody knows your business as well as you do
- Digital marketing is not your primary driver for new leads/customers
- You have limited resources
As you can see, a lot of it comes down to a desire to be in control of how things are done. For very small, single-person operations, lack of budget is a big factor that can make them feel like in-house marketing is their only option. It might also be that the business owner somewhat understands that digital marketing locally is important, but do not fully realize the full range of benefits. For example, historically most of their clients come from referrals, and they don’t know how local digital marketing can help their business grow — leading them to treat it almost like a hobby.
Smart Tips to Make Time for Local Marketing Yourself
Start with the basics To start, focus on getting your online presence established the right way first. Here are the following elements you need to build a solid online presence for your business.
- Google My Business — Verify your Google My Business (GMB) profile. Make sure your business information is complete, consistent and accurate.
- Website — Structure your website using a local schema and prominently feature your location and service area.
- Social media profiles — Make it clear that you’re a member of the community you’re serving by including local keywords and tag locations in your content.
- Online reviews — Respond to both positive and negative reviews and share positive reviews across your social media network.
- Local business listings — Make your brand more visible to potential customers by claiming your business on popular local business listings sites.
We get that you don’t have time to accomplish everything right away when it comes to creating and implementing a digital marketing local plan. Maximize what time you do have and complete these five foundational tasks first. They are the bedrock for any future tactics you’ll use in your digital marketing strategy.
Plan accordingly This can not be overstated. Planning is the key to successfully marketing your business. Start by mapping out how you’re going to spend your day, week, month, etc. with a planner or task management software. Ensure you make space in your week to focus on marketing. Also, reserve time to learn, for example reading about best practices and industry trends that could provide quick wins for your business. Finally, make time to analyze your results! This is the only way that you’ll know what is and isn’t working for your business.
Create specific goals Create SMART goals for what you want to achieve and the specific marketing activities you need to complete to get there. This will help with prioritizing and implementation.
- Specific — Make sure your goal is detailed and clearly states what you want to accomplish.
- Measurable — Determine the key performance indicators (KPIs) that you’ll use to measure performance.
- Actionable — Assess your ability to accomplish the goal. You don’t want your objective to be something so difficult that you’ll never implement it.
- Realistic — Ensure that what you’re proposing is practical and has real value to your business. Also, if it is something you can take on yourself or if you will need assistance to accomplish it.
- Time-bound — Set a realistic expectation for how long it will take to complete the goal. Do everything you can to meet this deadline to create a sense of accountability.
An example of a marketing SMART goal is “I will build my digital visibility by working to increase website organic traffic by 10%, reaching a total of 5,000 organic sessions within the next three months.
Set a specific budget for your marketing activities and stick to it. Putting a monetary value on your marketing plan will help you focus on it more. To start, look at what you earn from a typical customer. Consider what you’re willing to pay to win another, similar, client and multiply that by the number of customers you need to sustain your company. This will help you to get a rough idea of what you’ll need for your local marketing budget. You can always adjust it as you measure your results, dedicating more funding to the activities that are driving sales.
Make commitments to yourself that lead to habits The more you can get into a rhythm, the easier it is to turn marketing activities into habits. Forbes offers some additional tricks on how to establish habits. They’re a powerful thing that you can harness for the good of your business. Figure out what regular activities you can do to further your marketing goals — such as responding to reviews or claiming business listings — decide when and how often you’ll do them and commit yourself to that schedule.
Create an editorial/marketing calendar to guide your activities An editorial calendar is a great tool for keeping your marketing efforts organized. You can plan topics, set posting frequency and create a schedule well ahead of time. This allows you to focus more on taking action during the week. The key points you need to include on your calendar are:
- When something needs to be completed
- What actions need to be done
- Who will be completing the task
- Where it’s being implemented (i.e. what channel)
Search Engine Journal offers a great “how-to” on quickly setting up a basic editorial calendar for marketing.
Common Pain Points of Handling Marketing by Yourself
In-house offers you the most command over your marketing, but it’s also easy to become overwhelmed and stressed to the point you feel like you aren’t in control. Common problems business owners experience with in-house marketing include:
- Frustration over clarity because they’re unsure what’s working and what isn’t.
- Frustration over results, where you feel like you’re throwing money at things that aren’t working as you expected.
- Frustration over lack of expertise, since you need a certain level of skill and understanding of local marketing principles to have success
As a small business owner, you already have A LOT on your plate and managing a marketing campaign isn’t always an easy task. However, you don’t have to do everything by yourself.
When It’s Time to Work With a Local Marketing Software Vendor
You’re not alone if you feel guilty because you know digital marketing is important but just can’t find the time to work on it. Other signs that it’s time to go beyond in-house marketing include:
- You want to be more efficient so that you can grow at a quicker (and sustainable) pace.
- You want to see (better) results with more and higher quality leads.
- You want to run your business by the numbers and have an easy way to get the data you need to tell what activities are yielding the best returns.
If you want any of the above, you might consider working with a local marketing software vendor. This will get you the tools and assistance you need to address your frustrations and get your marketing plan on track.
How Local Marketing Software Makes Digital Marketing More Manageable You’ll find that using the right digital marketing local software will provide a huge boost in your efficiency. For instance, you can use one secure login for all your online marketing rather than multiple software, business listing, and social network logins. You’re also able to respond to customer reviews from one place rather than signing in to each individual business listing account. And just imagine setting up an automated scheduling system so that prospects can book appointments online rather than calling in, where you or your staff have to schedule it manually! As you can see, combining all of these features in a single platform streamlines the management of your digital presence and makes taking action with your marketing plan so much easier.
Get Transparency With the Surefire Local Marketing Platform
Surefire Local offers several digital marketing solutions in one central platform, enabling users to gain a holistic view of all of their marketing efforts. Its intuitive and automated technology equips companies with real-time, actionable insights into which marketing channels provide the greatest rate of return, as well as guidance and advice on next steps to take. This all-in-one marketing platform enables businesses of any size to generate new, qualified leads and guide digital marketing investments as well as elevate brand awareness and visibility to develop, grow and successfully scale businesses. Request your complimentary marketing analysis and demo to see how Surefire Local helps YOU take control of your digital presence!