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Digital marketing investments SMEs need to make to survive

As a small business, we know every penny counts when you’re just getting started.

With employee payroll, office rents, and service costs eating into your profit, it’s worrying to spend money to improve your profitability, especially if you’re not convinced it will work. This is even scarier if you rely on external agencies to drive sales to keep your business relevant.

We’ve repeatedly seen business owners act like gatekeepers, keeping everything in-house and trying to do everything themselves. Sometimes, it’s not about spending the money but the fear of wasting it.

The solution? Be smarter with your investments because if you don’t make them at all, you’ll be doing your business a disservice.

Vanilla Circus has worked with hundreds of SMEs, and from experience, we know there are four crucial investments you should never avoid making…

professionally designed website
Website design and SEO by VC

1. A website should be your priority to tap into an online market, searching for a solution your service or product might provide

Invest in:

  • Professionally designed websites
  • SEO-ready websites (never DIY builders)
  • Mobile and laptop user experience
  • Website redesigns

Today, businesses cannot survive without a website. If you’re not visible online, you won’t be found, and to users, your company won’t exist.

It’s the one place where consumers can make a private decision to engage with your products or services, and an easier option for returning customers.

More than this, you can reach thousands every month if you invest, at the same time, in organic search to get your company on the first page of Google for your product or service. But it all starts with a website – and if you already have one, what’s the design like? How do your customers respond to it?

Whilst acquiring a website might seem expensive, and you might try and cut corners, you’ll likely spend more money later down the line getting it redesigned, which requires more work.

DIY websites built using Wix are also not recommendable or worth your investment.

Your website must be perfect and optimised across all devices, especially mobile.

Instead, employ designers or an SEO company like us, who can design your site and prepare it to be read by Google simultaneously—saving you money.

image of seo keyword analysis

2. Digital marketing, or even better, SEO, to avoid wasting money on advertising

Invest in:

  • Search engine optimisation
  • Competitor analyses
  • SEO audits and technical fixes

Many business owners build a website (not with an SEO agency) and believe that a flood of online users will flood their websites. But this is not true, and you’ll be forever waiting without input from digital marketers and savvy SEOs.

As much as you like to believe your product or service sells on websites, you need information, copy, call to action, code, and more to convert the user.

Investing in a good SEO company like Vanilla Circus will be a smart investment choice and one that can actually make you money.

The beauty of working with us is that you can build up your hours and investment as your profit increases and increases.

We’ll get you there for converting keywords – because it’s not always about the traffic volume your website receives but the kind of traffic it welcomes.

For example, if you sell clear braces, you won’t earn money from copy detailing how to clean them, but rather pages that detail their cost, which catches users at the end point of their sales journey.

Your monthly SEO will include competitor analyses, too – we spy on the competition to see how they’re performing and who they’re targeting.

By identifying their strengths and weaknesses, we can begin to identify opportunities that develop your unique selling point that provides you with a competitive advantage that persuades users to choose you.

digital seo copy example
Copy created by VC

3. Content and digital copy

Invest in:

  • Good website copy
  • Branded graphics and imagery
  • Relevant blogs and guides

Finding a good copywriter, blogger and content creator is difficult – especially if you’re in an industry like health, finance or law.

Plus, when it comes to service page or product page copy instead of blogs, the tone needs to be perfect to reflect your brand identity and appeal to customers.

Anyone can write a blog, but not everyone can write engaging, persuasive copy that convinces the user then and there that you’re the right choice.

Trust us when we tell you we’ve seen countless websites spend thousands of pounds of digital copy to have it thrown straight in a bin – so be careful not to waste money here.

Good copy and content come at a cost.

You’ll have a website to write, which should, at a minimum, have five new pages and five new blogs every month to keep you relevant, increase your traffic, and get you ranked in Google.

What is the best way to keep costs low? Find an SEO company like us that includes content and copy creation and uploads within their monthly SEO package and start to find yourself ranking higher and attracting quality leads.

branding strategy image

4. Branding and reputation management

Invest in:

  • Customer reviews and reputation
  • Your image, uniform, and stationery
  • Your signage, logo, and unique proposition

An area to focus on always is reputation management.

Put effort, time and resources into reviews, adding credibility and trust to your products and services.

Your digital presence must be believable and trusted to be engaged with and bought. People trust people, so positive, replied-to reviews are a must.

The next critical factor is to invest in is your brand (for SMEs)

The best businesses we manage are the ones that invest in professional photos, branded stationery and vehicles, bespoke uniforms, and videos showing off their friendly faces.

Without branding yourself, you fall victim to not being memorable and will use the same stock images and designs that thousands of other businesses use.

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