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Why developing a digital marketing strategy is so important for SMEs 


Digital technology can help small businesses leverage limited capital in smarter, more effective ways.  

Research has shown that SMEs using digital technology as a part of their business processes have a 22% higher revenue than those with little to no use of the internet, and SMEs embracing digital technology will likely experience an estimated 10% increase in productivity. Additionally, 38% of SMEs see a rise in sales after becoming connected to the internet. Despite this, one in three businesses still don’t have a website and 11% of SMEs said they did not use the internet or have access to it at all. 


A digital strategy is a high-level plan for how digital technology can be used to achieve the goals of an organisation or business, and the role of it is to establish which digital technologies or platforms can do this and how.  

In a time where technology is playing a more prevalent role in our activity day by day, from personal use to the workplace, the need to focus on your individual digital marketing strategy is ever apparent. 


Reach and engagement 

Skills Coach Lorcan Stafford reminds us that “in 1964, Bob Dylan released the song ‘The Times They Are a-Changin' and in today’s world of tech conglomerates it certainly rings true. Digital skills for many businesses are no longer desirable but rather essential.” In the UK alone, over 45 million of our 66 million population use the internet and social media every single day and “these potential customers are there waiting to be engaged with if you have the right digital skills.” 


Cost and time effectiveness 

Planning and running a digital marketing strategy is also highly cost and time effective. For entrepreneurs, it’s likely that you’ll be juggling numerous different to-do’s at once and the automated nature of digital technology can help to alleviate some of that pressure. When it comes to cost, most of your budget and use of budget is determined by you, with intricate audience targeting parameters to be explored. You set the budget, you tell the software who to advertise to and you’re in control. 


Ease of access 

The internet is easy to access for both you and your customers and there are endless ways to optimise digital advertising to target other businesses to offer your services, or to reach individuals. What’s great about being online is that billions of content creators have devised video and written tutorials on how to do, well… pretty much anything! So, if you’re new to cyberspace have no fear – the answers to your questions are in the digiverse itself. There are many free and comprehensive online courses that you can take from the comfort of your own home that teach you how to use digital marketing tools and a great place to start would be by visiting the Google Digital Garage. 


Skills for tomorrow 

Digital technology, IT and social media are still growing into themselves and are by no means redundant or going out of fashion any time soon, so it’s easy to see that digitising your business is a great way to increase your customer reach, optimise your time and energy use and to prepare yourself and your team with skills for the future.  

Lorcan says “during lockdown, businesses have dived in at the deep end with digital. Meetings are being held via video calls, living rooms have become ‘home offices’ and new apps or programmes are being introduced to allow work to continue. However, the more adept a business is at utilising digital the more effective they will be.” 


Skills for Growth – SME Support is designed to equip SME’s with future-proof skills and abilities, to drive innovation and make employment opportunities better for all. For more information on you can get the most out of accessing our fully funded support services, contact our skills coaches directly and start your #skillsrevolution today!  


Ph. 01612374444  


Follow us on social media @SkillsforGrowthSME 


The Growth Company is an award-winning, not-for-profit social enterprise with a mission to enable growth, create jobs and improve lives. We provide individuals and businesses with a wide range of services that improve employment, skills, investment and enterprise for the benefit of all, and have been working in the Greater Manchester city region for more than 30 years. 

This project receives funding from the European Social Fund as part of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme in England.  

The Department for Work and Pensions is the Managing Authority for the England European Social Fund programme.  

Established by the European Union, the European Social Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support skills development, employment and job creation, social inclusion and local community regenerations. For more information visit 

About the author

Lorcan Stafford

Lorcan Stafford

As part of the team at Skills for Growth - SME Support, Lorcan is a dedicated Skills Coach, supporting Manchester SMEs who are joining the skills revolution.