Inside this Insight Report | Right approach for smaller firms | Speed read | Up and running | Further growth
Web marketing for smaller firms
Ten simple steps to get you on the right track

Digital Insight Report

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Digital Strategy Consulting

Online marketing needs to be on every firm's schedule, and for small businesses it's a particularly powerful way to enable them to be discovered.

You'll probably share our view that online marketing is important for firms of all sizes, but many small firms asked for a little help from us in understanding some of the steps they need to take to get digital channels right. That's why we wrote some simple hints and tips about the steps in the process to encourage smaller firms to be braver in embracing digital channels. Our ten simple steps for getting on the right track can be useful for sequencing activities, and if you find it useful then you're welcome to forward it on to clients. If you have some comments about the value of online marketing for SMEs then add them to the comments on our sites.

When we've been teaching online marketing, it's become clear that hundreds of thousands of small firms are starting to harness the power of the web to get customers, maintain relationships and sell direct. For managers looking for a simple roadmap, this guide gives practical steps that many of our clients have found useful.

We hope you find the report useful and stimulating.

Danny Meadows-Klue
Danny Meadows-Klue
Founder and Chief Executive
Digital Strategy Consulting

Web marketing for smaller firms
Digital Insight Report

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The right approach for smaller firms

If you're a small firm, getting your web marketing off the ground can be a real challenge. Simply knowing what needs doing or where to start might seem daunting, but there are some simple steps and well-trodden paths that will make it both easier and faster for you.

In compiling this short guide we spoke with hundreds of small firms across Western Europe to learn what worked for them, and out of that distilled these elements of best practice. For our definition of 'smaller' firms, we consider businesses with no dedicated web marketing staff, and little in-house expertise. Typically whoever is responsible for the sales function will drive the marketing, and their focus is normally tactical rather than strategic. What we discovered is that only with a strategic plan can the web be truly woven into the way a firm acquires and services its customers, and that the actions of just one or two people inside any business can have a transformative effect on the impact the website makes. The pressures of managing small businesses and micro-businesses typically mean that senior staff have a wide variety of roles and are, by nature, generalists.

Web marketing should now be at the core of every firm's marketing and as the tools of search, email, website building and blogging have become more accessible, the barriers to achieving effective basic online marketing have melted away. There's no reason not to be online and there's no reason not to be mobilizing now.

Speed read

  • Start small, but start quickly.
  • Develop a lightweight plan that will help you and the business learn about how web marketing can become a critical commercial asset.
  • Select simple easy channels (like search engines and email) to explore first.
  • Use the low cost and proven technologies to get you started.
  • Focus on understanding how web marketing works, as well as on delivering immediate results.
  • Use this knowledge to refine your marketing plan, and help you take larger decisions about online marketing.
  • Invest in learning and understanding. Train your team and encourage all stakeholders to share experiences.
  • Record your results so the team can analyze what worked, and feed this knowledge back into your marketing planning for the next wave of the campaign.
Five steps: To get up and running
Five steps: To get up and running
Five steps: To unlock your future growth
Five steps: To unlock your future growth

Learning together
Use local business networks and industry associations to get the inside track from other similar sized firms.

Look for relevant experience from across all of your team: find out who uses the web most, who shops online, who is a whiz with email - you may already have many of the skills you need!

Danny Meadows-Klue
"Forget online marketing and you forget the key channel many of your customers want to use. For the firms that get it right, they gain the edge; but can any business afford not to be there?"
Danny Meadows-Klue,
Author of the Ten Simple Steps
Editor, Digital Insight Reports
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