These days, digital marketing solutions are popping up faster than flowers after a rainstorm. That's both good and bad news for small business owners. The good news: You have more marketing partners to choose from than ever before. The bad news: With so many choices, choosing the right marketing solution vendor for your small business can seem overwhelming.
There is a lot at stake: Companies in one survey say marketing automation increased their sales revenues by an average of 34%. In another, marketers that use automation software generated 80% more leads than those that don't.
All-in-one marketing solutions offer many advantages. Asking a few simple questions can help you narrow down your digital marketing options so you can make a smart decision. Here's what you should consider before making your selection.
What to ask a digital marketing solution vendor
- Is this solution a good fit for my business? Look for a digital marketing solution that will work for your industry, your business size, and your marketing goals. If your focus is on generating leads in your local area, for example, you will have different needs than an e-commerce business targeting customers around the world. A marketing solution that is popular with enterprise businesses may offer more features than a small business needs. The same marketing solution may not work for a B2B company and a B2C company.
- How easy is the marketing solution to implement and use? In order to get the most from a digital marketing solution, you and your team have to actually use it. If a solution is time-consuming, costly and complicated to implement, you’re likely to delay setting it up. If it's hard to learn, your team may not adopt it, and you will have wasted time and money. Get feedback from others who have used the solution to see what they think before you make your decision.
- What kind of analytics does the digital marketing solution provide? One of the biggest benefits of online marketing is how rapidly you can see results. A good digital marketing solution will offer robust analytics tools you can use to track your marketing and advertising campaigns, monitor ad spending, and measure performance. Make sure the solution that you choose measures the metrics that are most important for your business.
- What expertise does the vendor have? Even though the online marketing industry changes rapidly, experience in the field still has value. Looking for a marketing solution vendor that has a track record of success can give your business an advantage; they've been around long enough to see what works and what doesn't. In addition, partnering with a brand-new marketing solution vendor could put your company at risk if they go out of business.
- What customer service and support does the vendor offer? Find out how you can get customer support (via phone, text, email, and/or chat), how quickly you can expect a response, and what days and hours customer support is available. Will you have a dedicated account manager or customer support representative? For example, Lead Stream offers monthly one-on-one calls to review your performance and make any adjustments you want. Does the company provide a knowledge base you can use, training videos or webinars to help you use the digital marketing solution to its fullest capacity?
After you've made your selection, be patient with the process: Online marketing takes time to work. (Once it does, check out these tips for managing business leads.) Asking these five questions will make it easier to select from your many options and choose the right digital marketing solution vendor for your small business.