This blog is based on a report prepared by GetApp offering some insightful data regarding the latest trends in the field of digital marketing, the challenges faced and possible software solutions for small businesses.

Digital marketing continues to be one of the most dynamic and ever-changing elements of any marketing strategy. The emergence of new technology makes it gradually more difficult for small businesses to choose the most appropriate digital marketing and social channels for attracting customers and leaving an indelible imprint in the digital medium.

So, by briefly examining the latest digital marketing trends and laying out the challenges which obstruct effectiveness, this blog attempts to understand why small businesses need to take full advantage of the limited number of marketing tools that they can access.

The Latest Digital Marketing Trends and Challenges

In terms of digital marketing trends, the GetApp report identified social media marketing, mobile marketing, email marketing, and data-driven marketing as the most important channels.

  • Social media marketing still remains one of the most popular tactics due its sweeping reach and comparatively low barrier to entry.
  • Regarding email marketing, the higher conversion rates and relatively lower costs makes it one of the most desirable channels.
  • The report also points out the imminent need of embracing a mobile-first strategy which necessitates, among other things, the optimization of websites for mobile use.
  • It also lauds data-driven marketing which evidently enables small businesses to measure the effectiveness and track the performance of different marketing strategies thereby greatly increasing ROI and improving sales and marketing efforts.

“Digital marketing trends in 2017 are largely driven by the channels used to execute marketing strategies. While social media, email, mobile, and data are the key drivers of digital marketing in 2017, they present unique challenges that must be countered in order to maximize their effectiveness.” said  Suzie Blaszkiewicz, the author of the report.

The three main digital marketing challenges identified by the report are lack of resources, knowledge, and time; the difficulty of converting leads into customers; and diminishing organic reach.

  • It is difficult to analyze the effects of digital marketing strategies as such efforts are not easily measurable.
  • Most small business owners don’t prioritize marketing and they seem to have very limited time and resources for contributing towards digital marketing efforts.
  • It is very difficult to find proper personnel with relevant digital marketing expertise that fits the budget.
  • Another persistent problem is that the traffic generated by social media and mobile does not necessarily lead to conversion. Low conversion rates make these channels less relevant when compared to other traditional media.
  • Lastly, the slump in the organic reach of different social media channels like Facebook means a sharp increase in spending as paid marketing is seen as a better alternative to organic.

Invest in Software Solutions Early on – Get Better Results

Why should a small business bother with software solutions, especially if their present efforts have been bearing fruits? Not only do such tools cost money but they also require a minimum level of know-how. Implementing new software solutions usually entails reassigning employees to this new task who are then required to devote substantial time and energy towards mastering these tools.

However, as discussed before, it is not always easy to measure the effects of digital marketing strategies and so small businesses cannot afford to experiment with too many different tools which are often very expensive with low ROI. They need a specific set of tools which are low investment but high performance.

The GetApp report offers a list of such software solutions which are perfect for small businesses. Even if the small businesses have limited technical skills and inadequate financial resources, there are certain software which are a must-have for any small business toolkit.These tools are easy to use and affordable, making it very convenient for entrepreneurs to grow their businesses and achieve their marketing goals.

The development of new technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality or Virtual Reality and their impending integration with existing marketing channels will doubtless make the marketing challenges faced by small businesses more complex. But, such innovations can also make digital marketing efforts more easily measurable and therefore reduce redundancy in the long run.