Every small to mid-sized business needs online marketing to succeed, grow the business, and generate new revenue. For many, it starts with a simple website or Facebook page. Later, a business owner attempts her first AdWords campaign, puts up a Facebook ad, starts a blog, or solicits reviews from satisfied customers. Quickly, she realizes it’s taking too much time to do everything herself. She decides to pay top dollar to outsource to a local marketing firm, relieved and also worried about ROI. What exactly is she getting back? What’s working and what’s not?

According to an AT&T Small Business Technology Poll from 2013, 66 percent of small businesses are maintaining or increasing spend on digital marketing. The question is, do they know if they’re investment is paying off? While the majority of large and small businesses decide to outsource their marketing efforts because they’d rather not think about the details, it literally pays to know exactly what you want to get out of a consulting relationship before entering one. As marketers know, there isn’t a one-size fits all approach to online marketing. A smart marketing plan begins with considering a particular industry, its unique challenges, and tailoring the plan to fit the business.

Where do you want your dollars to go? Ask yourself these questions and spend some time thinking about the answers before locking down your marketing plan and finding the right firm for your needs.

1. B2B or B2C? (Each is unique.)

B2B and B2C are very different animals. Here some key stats:

  • While advertising works great for B2C, organic search drives the majority (51%) of B2B traffic. (BrightEdge)
  • 68% of B2B businesses use landing pages to garner a new sales lead for future conversion. (MarketingSherpa)
  • Companies that acquired customers from Facebook: B2C is 77% and B2B is 43%. (State of Inbound Marketing, 2012)

2. Where are your customers? (Be there.)

Do you know whether your customers use Facebook or Twitter, or both? Identify where they are and be there! Some stats:

  • 69% of consumers are more likely to use a local business if it has information available on a social media site. (comScore Networks and TMP Directional Marketing, 2011)
  • Retail is the top industry that has acquired customers through Facebook. (State of Inbound Marketing, 2012)
  • 80% of Pinterest’s users are female (comScore); Pinterest referrals spend 70% more than visitors referred from non-social channels, including search, according to industry reports. (Wayfair)
  • LinkedIn generates more leads for B2B companies than Facebook, Twitter or blogs individually. Yet only 47% of B2B marketers say they are actively using LinkedIn vs. 90% on Facebook. (Inside View)

3. Are you generating leads? (Now’s the time!)

It’s not enough to put up a website. Is it optimized to maximize traffic and leads? Some stats:

  • 60% of local business websites don’t have their phone number on their site. (BIA Kelsey, 2012)
  • 49% of sites fail to comply with basic usability principles, and 50% of online sales are lost because visitors can’t find content. (Forrester 2012)
  • Companies with 30 or more landing pages generate 7x more leads than those with fewer than 10. (HubSpot)
  • 92% of companies who blogged multiple times a day acquired a customer through their blog. (HubSpot State of Inbound Marketing, 2012)

4. Are you converting? (Get on it!)

What happens after you get a lead? Is there a pipeline in place? If not, get on it!

  • A whopping 68% of B2B organizations have not identified their funnel. (Source: MarketingSherpa)
  • 79% of marketing leads never convert into sales. Lack of lead nurturing is the common cause of this poor performance. (MarketingSherpa)
  • 35-50% of sales go to the vendor that responds first. (InsideSales.com)

5. Do you know the numbers? (Analytics is the new black.)

Reviewing analytics is a must for every business owner concerned with ROI.

  • Spending on marketing analytics is expected to increase 60% by 2015. (CMO Survey)
  • Just 44% of marketers have a documented content strategy. (CMI)
  • 47% of B2B marketers say they either close fewer than 4% of all marketing-generated leads, or they don’t even know this metric. (Forrester Research)

Already identified your online marketing needs and need an intelligent team to execute your grand plans? IntelliBright offers affordable, comprehensive online marketing solutions for small to mid-sized businesses that are Tracked, Proven, and Guaranteed. Visit IntelliBright.com to learn more or Request a Free Consultation Now.

About Jen Udan

Jen Udan is a writer, editor, blogger and marketer based in Austin, Texas. She has worked with a number of tech startups and has interviewed founders, industry leaders and YouTube stars.