Being a small business certainly has its perks. Depending on the product or service you sell, you may be able to take things slow without having much competition breathing down your neck. In other words, you’re in your own lane – at least for the time being.

In the beginning, you might start off securing new customers, making a name for yourself and growing your business. Even things like managing social media and sending out emails can be done in house.

But, as your company grows and you become more competitive, you have to wonder whether you should be investing more into creative marketing. Your annual revenue is vital to your business, so every penny needs to be spent wisely. At the same time, you want to make your company more competitive. So what do you do?

If you are considering investing more into creative marketing, we recommend that you speak with a marketing consultant who can look at the specifics of your business. In the meantime, here are 10 signs that you should be putting more money into digital marketing.

1. You lack a clear, measurable marketing plan.

If you’re like many small businesses, you may not have a straightforward marketing plan in place. Do you even know where to begin?

Digital marketing is complex. You must be familiar with all the aspects of it, including social media, email marketing, web design, search engine optimization, content creation and more. Unless you have a background in marketing, you’re going to need some direction.

A marketing firm will look at your business, your audience and the goals you are trying to reach. They will make sure that your business is taking advantage of the right channels and not falling behind the competition. While there is an upfront investment, it will be returned quickly. Plus, you’ll feel better knowing that you have something concrete in place.

2. Your website is old, outdated and sleepy.

It’s easy to forget about your website. It takes time and money to build one, and traditional websites are created with a “set it and forget it” mindset. As you get into a groove running your day-to-day operations, you probably don’t think much about your website. But in the back of your mind, you know that it’s ugly.

Fortunately, a site redesign is made possible with the right design team. Not only can your website be made to be more cutting edge and captivating for your audience, but also it can be designed to meet your business objectives. For instance, is your website meant to generate leads? Produce more sales? Instill trust and credibility?

Having a website that you can be proud of is invaluable, but this will only come with the right investment. You might even want to consider a growth driven design that is quick to launch and allows you to spread your budget out over time.

3. You don’t have a blog, or you haven’t contributed to it for a while.

Company blogs are crucial to SEO. By updating your blog, your site receives fresh, relevant content on a regular basis, which makes the search engines happy. Also, blogs are an exceptional channel for communication, trust building and lead nurturing.

If you don’t have a blog, or if you haven’t added anything to it in months or years, it’s time to get moving. By investing money into blogging, you can create an editorial schedule, create engaging content and distribute it on the best channels.

4. You get traffic, but it doesn’t lead anywhere.

It’s always great to see that your website is bringing in visitors, but what does it mean when you can’t get any of them to convert? Something is definitely missing!

At the very least, you need to learn more about the people visiting your site. Who are they? Where are they coming from? What do they want?

With a more comprehensive marketing plan, you can collect the right data from your visitors and use the information to create more targeted messaging. This will make it easier to engage and nurture leads in the future.

5. You have social media followers, but they don’t engage with you.

Perhaps you set up a Facebook Page or Twitter account a while back and obtained some followers. But be honest. Are they mostly friends and family? If so, it’s time to get some real followers. Why? Because these are the people who will become advocates of your brand.

Don’t worry about the number of followers you have right now. Focus on the quality instead. Nurture your prospects with the right content at the right time. Engage them in conversation, ask for feedback and respond to comments – good and bad. Social media is a platform that is designed for building relationships, not selling.

6. You think that a marketing strategy is simply SEO.

If you think that all a marketing strategy requires is search engine optimization, you’re sorely mistaken. While it’s easy to get into the cycle of optimizing metadata, performing basic on-page SEO and analyzing data, marketing is so much more than this.

The search algorithms have changed significantly over the years. They take into account many factors such as the popularity of your content, social media growth, the speed and architecture of your site and more.

If all you’re doing is focusing on SEO, your website is going to slip through the cracks.

7. Or maybe you think that a marketing strategy is just SEM.

Another common misconception is that investing in PPC is enough to have marketing covered. Unfortunately, this is not the case. While pay per click is an effective way to drive immediate traffic to your website, it’s not a long-term strategy.

Pay per click is often part of a digital marketing strategy, especially if you want to increase traffic and sales quickly. But you need more than PPC. These ads alone are not enough to engage and nurture leads and keep them coming back for more.

8. Your emails are stale and boring.

Do all of your emails look the same? Are they segmented based on user data? Are they personalized? If all you’re doing is sending out the same emails to everyone on your subscriber list, you are limiting your potential.

Many wonderful tools are available that make it possible to collect data on your leads and segment them into different groups. Using the data, you can personalize your messaging to fit your audience and send them information that helps them in their journey.

Email marketing is still one of the most effective and economical ways to grow your business, so it’s important to utilize this channel to your fullest potential.

9. You have a lot to share with customers but don’t.

Does your business have a lot to share with customers, but for some reason, you don’t? Maybe you don’t know how to organize your information into a series of posts. Or it’s possible that you don’t have the time to put together educational content.

By investing more money into marketing, you can create valuable content such as ebooks, whitepapers, podcasts, infographics, how-tos, etc. and begin to establish your business as an authority. If you want to succeed and grow your business, you must have customers that trust in you. The best way to do this is by providing them with relevant information that answers common questions/pain points.

10. Your marketing team consists of yourself.

A final sign that you should invest in marketing is that you don’t have a solid marketing team. Small business owners often have no choice but to handle their own marketing in the beginning. But now that your business is growing, you must give it some more.

Digital marketing has many angles, and a qualified marketing team will be able to meet them all. Rather than hiring individuals for each role, one marketing firm will take on your SEO, social media, content writing, design, development, strategy and more.

Digital marketing cannot be put on the back burner any longer. In order to remain competitive and grow your business, you must take advantage of the channels that are waiting for you.