I recently watched the Hollywood adaptation of the Broadway musical, Chicago. I have seen the movie a dozen times, so I know what to expect from each scene, but I still watch it with as much interest as I did the first time I saw it in theaters. When character Velma Kelly wisely approaches her foe, Roxie Hart, to be her partner in a vaudeville act, she does so out of desperation and cunningness. Kelly’s sales pitch to Hart includes a spectacular song and dance piece that involves a chair, a fire pole and a lot of fringe. While Kelly breathlessly dances the Charleston, she sings a jubilant song titled, “I Can’t Do It Alone”. Sure, she was selfishly pursuing Hart to join her stage act, but I interpreted the song much differently this time.

I was thinking about work and the amount of energy, thought, planning and precision that goes into growing small businesses. We work with entrepreneurs and small businesses that have reached a critical point in their development in which they simply can’t do it alone. Managing every aspect of business ownership, with the level of attention and detail startups are known to have, is nearly impossible. Marketing is only a small part of the overall business strategy, but when implemented properly, it can have a profound affect on the business as a whole.

Whether the client is a solopreneur or a small company comprised of a five-member partnership; expecting to manage sales, investments, product development, business logistics, social media, public relations and marketing — without assistance — is unrealistic. To reach a large audience and grow your business, a strong online presence that is supported by a team of experts is needed. Using sophisticated marketing tactics, an experienced digital marketing agency will work to improve their clients’ online presence and while allowing the small business owners to focus on other aspects of building their company, like development, funding and sales.

Experts in search engine optimization (SEO) identify website improvement opportunities and implement these changes to increase organic search traffic and rank. Analytics tools provide insightful data that help verify the accuracy and relevancy of the information their clients track online. This data is used to identify target audiences, popular content and lead sources; this information is then applied toward PPC advertising, media and social outreach, and content creation.

Paid advertising is great way to build brand recognition, and attract and convert qualified leads; however, appropriately deploying successful PPC campaigns is a science. Researching, analyzing keywords and phrases, and tracking ad performance, requires a level of expertise most small business owners lack. Established marketing agencies will often have experienced PPC specialists that know the latest paid advertising trends and social platform regulations; therefore, they are able to strategize, implement and measure data quickly and efficiently.

One of the greatest challenges small business owners face is effectively reaching their target audience with persuasive messaging, building a strong social media presence and protecting their reputation. Public relations specialists dedicate a substantial amount of time to building relationships with influential media outlets and popular publications. They determine the most optimal time to distribute press releases and know what kind of information should be highlighted so that their clients are featured in prestigious media outlets. PR teams constantly monitor news feeds and if unfavorable information is identified, they should proactively respond in an informed and professional manner. Small businesses should not passively consider reputation management. Poor management of your reputation could be detrimental to the success of your business.

Similar to public relations, social media management and content development requires an awareness of social trends, and how best to highlight the features of a client’s products or services. Social media involvement by small businesses has grown exponentially over the past decade. Creating, posting and sharing relevant content, and then engaging directly with customers, requires a deep understanding of social media practices, as well as excellent time management skills. Posting on Instagram and Twitter might be fun, but growing a dedicated fan base and managing feedback offered by the public is challenging work and should not be taken lightly.