BT’s Digital Marketing Hub allows you to run online advertising campaigns across Google, Facebook & Instagram in one place.

If you’re running a small business and if you’re looking to grow, online marketing can be an effective way of reaching customers who are looking for your product or service.

If you’d like to run digital marketing campaigns without the steep learning curve that’s normally involved, BT has launched their new Digital Marketing Hub service. It’s an easy-to-use tool that allows you to very quickly launch and run online advertising campaigns across Google, Facebook and Instagram. As well as helping you to set up your campaigns, you can benefit from automatic performance optimisations, along with an all-in-one dashboard that allows you to see the results of your activity.

In this article, we’ll look at the benefits of digital marketing for small businesses and how you can use BT’s Digital Marketing Hub to quickly launch and run online advertising. We’ll also review the Digital Marketing Hub, including how it works and how much you’ll pay for it.

Digital Marketing for Small Businesses

If you’re running a small business and if you’re looking to grow, marketing is a key way to gain new customers and to grow your sales.

Although there are now lots of different ways to advertise your business (including in the local newspaper, on radio, TV, billboards, leaflets, etc), it’s digital marketing that makes up three-quarters of all advertising spend in the UK economy today.

Given all of the benefits for small businesses, it’s easy to see why:

  • You can get started very quickly with digital marketing. You can create the advert yourself and have it online and in front of your customers in under an hour. There’s no need to hire external agencies or designers, or to speak with lots of different staff members at different media organisations before you can even book an advert.
  • You can test it out from just a couple of pounds per day. There are no minimum spend requirements or long-term contracts when you set up a digital marketing campaign. This means you can easily dip your toe in the water to try it out and to see how it performs, with minimal risk.
  • You can be highly targeted with online advertising. For instance, your advert may be shown only in front of the people who are looking for your service, or the people who are most likely to need it. You can also focus your marketing activity on specific geographical areas (e.g. customers within a certain town, or within a certain vicinity of your shop).
  • You can measure the return on investment (ROI). Digital marketing is highly measurable so you can see how many sales, calls, bookings and enquiries you’re getting as a result. You can also break this down by channel and campaign, so there’s no need for guesswork when figuring out how things are going.
  • You can easily scale your campaigns, up or down. It’s possible to scale or to switch off your digital marketing campaigns as needed. For instance, if you want to acquire more business (e.g. because you have spare capacity or because it’s the most important time of the year for your business), you can scale your campaigns up to get more customers. Similarly, if you want to turn things down (e.g. because you’re too busy, or because you’re about to go away on holiday), you can simply reduce the amount you’re spending or you can pause your activity entirely.
  • You can have a two-way conversation with your customers. With social media advertising, you can communicate directly with your customers – for instance, by answering their questions or replying to their reviews. This can also help to boost your word-of-mouth and customer loyalty.

There are also some disadvantages of digital marketing, when compared to other marketing channels. For instance, a common complaint is that digital marketing can be quite complex and technical. This can make for a steeper learning curve, and it can sometimes make things a little overwhelming. In addition, there are constant changes you need to keep up with, which is difficult if it isn’t your full-time job.

As a result, it’s estimated that 40% of UK SMEs are yet to utilise digital marketing channels. That means a lot of lost opportunities to gain customers and to grow your sales.

How Does Digital Marketing Work?

Broadly speaking, there are two main types of digital marketing:

  • Search engine marketing: When you advertise on a search engine such as Google, you’ll be able to place your advert on specific keywords and search terms. This means you can find customers at the point they’re looking for your product or service. For instance, if you’re selling shoes, you can place your advert on search terms such as ‘shoe shop’, ‘work shoes’, ‘school shoes’, etc. You can be very specific on the exact search terms and locations you target. Google has about 90% market share for searches in the UK.
  • Social media marketing – When you advertise on social media websites like Facebook and Instagram, you’ll be able to show adverts to the people who are most likely to be interested in your products or services. For instance, you can target adverts based on customer interests, demographics and location. You can also show them targeted deals and offers, and you can interact directly with your customers through the comments. Collectively, Facebook and Instagram take the vast majority of UK social media ad spend.

Alongside that, there’s also content marketing which involves writing your own blog posts and getting them to rank organically in search engines (SEO). Many companies also use email marketing, which is handy if you have your own email list (e.g. through your newsletter or loyalty scheme). You can also use display advertising (e.g. showing banner adverts on other websites or on videos from YouTube).

To run your own digital marketing campaign, you’ll need to have a website for your business. You’ll also need to set up advertising accounts to use with Google, Facebook, Instagram and other relevant platforms. If you like, you can do this manually by setting up an account in each individual platform, along with your campaigns and technical set-up. Alternatively, you can use a tool such as BT’s Digital Marketing Hub to do all of this for you.

What is the BT Digital Marketing Hub?

One of the major hurdles when getting started with digital marketing is that it can be fairly complex and time-consuming to set everything up. It’s also a little bit overwhelming if it’s the first time you’ve run a digital marketing campaign.

The BT Digital Marketing Hub aims to make it a lot easier to get started running digital marketing campaigns. For instance, the service eliminates the need for you to set-up individual accounts with each advertising provider and to figure out how each of their platforms work. You can use BT’s simple online interface to set up and to manage your campaigns. The product also does the day-to-day management and optimisation of your campaigns, reducing the time required and the amount you need to learn.

You can use the Digital Marketing Hub to boost your awareness, engagement or sales.

To set up campaigns on the Digital Marketing Hub, you’ll follow a simple ten-step wizard. This will start by asking you a number of questions about your business, and what you’re looking to achieve with your campaigns.

Once you’ve done that, you’ll be provided with some suggested keywords for your business. You’ll also be able to add your own keywords, along with any ‘negative keywords’ that you don’t want to appear against. For instance, if you’re an optician, you might want to appear on ‘reading glasses’ as a keyword. However, you might add ‘wine glasses’ and ‘drinking glasses’ as negative keywords to your campaign as people searching for those terms are unlikely to be looking for your business.

The Digital Marketing Hub will suggest relevant keywords, or you can add your own.

Once you’ve chosen the keywords you want to target, you’ll be asked to provide a couple of headlines and unique selling points for your business (i.e. what makes you different from other brands). You can also upload relevant images for your business, along with selecting the area and the demographics that you want to target.

Before your campaign even goes live, you’ll be given a forecast of the expected results. You can then launch your campaign once you pay for the activity.

The Digital Marketing Hub will give you a forecast of the expected results.

Once your campaign goes live, you’ll be able to monitor the results with the BT Digital Marketing Hub. This includes seeing a breakdown of how much has been spent on each platform and what it’s delivered, in terms and impressions and clicks.

If you’ve connected the Digital Marketing Hub to your Google Analytics account, you’ll also be able to see how people have interacted with your site after clicking through from an advert (e.g. whether they convert into a sale, lead, booking, etc). This makes it easy to see what you’re getting from your ads. The system will also use this information to optimise your adverts accordingly, and to focus your advertising spend on the channels that deliver the greatest return.

How Much Does the Digital Marketing Hub Cost?

There are two different tiers on the BT Digital Marketing Hub:

  • Starter plan: For customers spending less than £200 per month on digital advertising. There are no additional fees charged by BT on the ‘Starter’ plan. You’ll just pay for what you spend on your ads.
  • Pro plan: For customers spending more than £200 per month on digital advertising. You’ll pay a £34 per month subscription fee for the Digital Marketing Hub, plus a 10% service fee on anything you spend above £200 per month. For instance, if you’re spending £300 per month on digital advertising, you’ll pay a total fee of £44 for the BT Digital Marketing Hub (made up of the £34 subscription fee, plus a £10 service fee).

Both plans are flexible and have no minimum term. This means you can easily upgrade or downgrade your plan at any time.

Conclusions

If you’re new to digital marketing, BT’s Digital Marketing Hub allows you to get set up very quickly on the major digital ad platforms including Google, Facebook and Instagram.

With the simplified interface and the one-stop reporting dashboard, it dramatically reduces the amount of time you need to get started and to manage your campaigns on an ongoing basis. This is helpful if you’re also running the rest of your business at the same time and you don’t want to dedicate lots of time to learning the ins-and-out of digital marketing. It’s also a lot cheaper than hiring an external agency to run the campaigns for you.

In contrast, if you’re looking for fine-grained control over all of the available advertising options, BT’s Digital Marketing Hub isn’t for you. It will help you to get your campaigns online very quickly, but it won’t give you access to all of the most advanced functionality. Similarly, if you’re looking for a bit more hand-holding (e.g. from a freelancer or an external advertising agency), this isn’t for you as the service is more about enabling you to set up and run digital adverts by yourself.

More Information

For more information, please see BT’s official Digital Marketing Hub website.

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