Digital marketing is an undeniably critical component of any small business strategy. Consumers are online — they shop online, they read online reviews, they engage with brands on social media. Small businesses everywhere report that interactions with customers online are increasing, and competition for online visibility is also projected to increase across industries. Thus, it is essential that small business leaders integrate digital marketing into their broader business strategies to achieve growth and success.
Yet, not all small business leaders are well-versed in the art and science of digital marketing. Is it possible for small business leaders without digital marketing experience to become adept in this field?
Definitely! Here’s How:
There are almost unlimited online resources to help anyone — small business leaders, especially — gain knowledge and skill in the field of digital marketing. While the most comprehensive digital marketing education will come from university degree programs, which are available to online students, most small business leaders can learn what they need through a variety of free content and tools. Some of the most useful online resources for understanding digital marketing include:
Free Online Courses
Short courses are structured classes that are limited in time frame and typically do not provide credits that contribute to a degree. Many reputable universities and lecturers produce courses that are available for free from platforms like Udemy, Coursera and LinkedIn. However, some well-known digital marketing blogs, like Copyblogger and Hubspot, also offer free or affordable online courses. Small business leaders should look for courses with different focuses within the digital marketing field, like content marketing, SEO, social media marketing and more.
Blogs and Periodicals
Outside of structured learning environments, there is plenty of information available online to help small business leaders understand more about digital marketing. Blogs were some of the first resources available to would-be digital marketers when the field was born more than two decades ago, and they continue to be exceedingly useful for offering insights into both established and cutting-edge strategies. Small business leaders can consume basic how-to guides as well as to-the-minute updates on digital marketing developments to learn more about how the field of digital marketing continues to grow and change.
Leaders can benefit from partnership with digital marketing agencies in more ways than one. The best way to learn a new skill is with the help of an experienced coach, and while a small business takes advantage of digital marketing services through a third-party provider, leaders can improve their knowledge by watching and interacting with digital marketing experts. Leaders should maintain direct contact with their digital marketing partners and ask questions about strategy and processes to learn more about how digital marketing works in the real word.
But Managing Your Own Digital Marketing Might Not Be Wise
Even with all this free opportunity to become adept in digital marketing, leaders probably should not resolve to manage their business’s digital marketing in-house, let alone by themselves. Unlike many aspects of business strategy, digital marketing is remarkably variable; digital marketing strategies are highly dependent on internet trends, which can shift more rapidly than the resources a leader might use to learn them. Staying abreast of necessary changes to digital marketing strategies is a full-time job, which most business leaders have neither time nor energy to complete.
Digital marketing is immensely important to business success, and it behooves small businesses to rely on the expertise of trained and dedicated teams of specialized digital marketers employed at a reputable digital marketing firm. By partnering with a digital marketing firm focused on small business clients, small businesses can utilize specific services that are more likely to provide positive digital marketing results, taking full advantage of their digital marketing budget.
Though digital marketing might seem like an incomprehensible, arcane art, the truth is that any small business leader with the time and interest can learn the basics of digital marketing. In fact, understanding more about digital marketing will help any small business leader achieve success — even though better business strategy recommends outsourcing digital marketing to a trustworthy third-party partner.