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How to use digital marketing to grow online business for small and medium businesses (SMEs or SMBs) and startups using the RACE Planning framework

Why do I need this guide?

Have you noticed how most advice and case studies of marketing in books and blogs, focuses on the Big Brands with their Big Budgets? Yes, every business can learn from the heritage of these brands, but it’s a very different world from that for small businesses where budget is limited and every cent and penny of investment matter.

This in-depth guide covers all the digital marketing activities you need to manage to grow a small business or startup online. It starts by showing you what needs to go into a digital marketing plan and then how to build an effective marketing website and drive traffic to it. Since it's from Smart Insights, it also shows you how to use Google Analytics to measure how well the site is working for you and then optimize it to convert more visitors to leads and sales.

What will I learn?

This guide is packed full of specific questions you should ask yourself to get the most from digital marketing. We answer these with recommendations and tips covering the full range of online marketing activities to help you ‘Plan, Manage and Optimize’ your digital marketing. You will learn how to:

  • Reach new prospects and customers by making your business more visible using the 6 key digital media channels and the options available within each.
  • Use content marketing to beat the competition in SEO
  • Convert more visitors to sale by improving your website and mobile marketing
  • Encourage customers to share your brand and content to reach more customers
  • Review different online revenue models – particularly relevant for online startups

The guide provides a ‘one-stop’ reference for all the main issues you should consider when improving how you market your business online. For example, it highlights the main factors for managers and business owners to consider for getting better results from Search engine optimisation, Google AdWords, display advertising, email marketing and conversion rate optimisation, but without the full details which are available in our other guides for specialists.

How is the guide structured?

The guide is structured using the Smart Insights RACE Planning framework to give a simple structure for you to implement your strategy. RACE starts with an initial digital strategy planning phase. Many businesses miss this, but it’s essential as a foundation to make the most of the opportunities to reach your audience and target them effectively online. The sections are:

  • ONE. Plan: What are the essentials of your digital strategy?
  • TWO. Reach: Boost site traffic with these success factors for SEO and AdWords
  • THREE. Act: How to use content marketing to boost leads.
  • FOUR. Convert: How to design your site to increase sales.
  • FIVE. Engage: Success factors for gaining repeat business online.

Who is this guide for?

This guide is for you if you’re looking to expand a small business using the power of low-cost or no-cost digital marketing. You will be responsible for digital marketing as:

  • Owner, manager or director of the business
  • Marketing or digital marketing manager in small-medium sized businesses
  • Other directors in and SME/SMB for whom marketing is not your main role, e.g. Financial Director, Operations director

Resource Details

About the authors

Anne-Marie Ivanova

Anne-Marie Ivanova

Anne-Marie Ivanova is an author on Smart Insights, currently working as a digital coach and trainer at Google. She also gained a European finalist (EORF) award for Pink Moods for ‘loving our customers’. Further, Anne-Marie was nominated as inspirational business woman of the year 2015. Connect with Anne-Marie on LinkedIn.

Dr. Dave Chaffey

Dave ChaffeyDave is co-CEO and co-founder of Smart Insights. He is editor of the 100 templates, ebooks and courses in the digital marketing resource library created by our team of 25+ Digital Marketing experts. Our resources used by our members in more than 80 countries to Map, Plan and Manage their digital marketing.

For his full profile, or to connect on LinkedIn or other social networks, see the About Dave Chaffey profile page on Smart Insights. Dave is author of 5 bestselling books on digital marketing including Digital Marketing Excellence and Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice. In 2004 he was recognised by the Chartered Institute of Marketing as one of 50 marketing ‘gurus’ worldwide who have helped shape the future of marketing.

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