International-Telecommunication-Union-BRANDSPURNGAsk a business owner for a list of the things that most often overwhelm her, and she may well place digital marketing at the top. That’s not unusual: Most business owners feel as if there’s too much to learn and do, and too little time to do it.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Five Steps to a Simpler Digital Marketing Strategy

Between content marketing, social media, SEO, PPC advertising, web design, conversion funnels, email, direct messages, and dozens of other marketing functions a business might tackle, it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture. If you aren’t careful, you could end up missing out on a golden opportunity to reach new customers and expand your brand.

Setting aside all the noise that surrounds digital marketing, the core tenets and responsibilities remain simple and familiar. Contrary to popular belief, you can simplify your efforts.

Below are five practical suggestions.

  • Establish 3 to 5 Core Marketing Objectives

It’s easy to get sidetracked in digital marketing if you’re not clear about what you’re trying to accomplish. But if you don’t let that happen, it can be oh-so-easy to hunker down and focus on the marketing tasks that matter because you know what you’re aiming for.

Before you do anything else, sit down and establish a list of three to five core marketing objectives. These will be the filters through which every marketing decision — big or small — will pass.

  • Clarify Your Brand Voice

The next step is to clarify your brand voice. It’s imperative to have a solid grasp of your brand’s identity and how you expect to convey it to your target audience.

A strong brand voice maintains consistency and makes it easy to facilitate communications that are meaningful and “on brand.” It also makes the challenge of establishing trust with customers much more smooth.

You can use this to shape a style guide that will help you create useful and high-returning content.

  • Streamline SEO

Too many firms overcomplicate SEO by adopting complex strategies and techniques. Although there’s an undeniably technical facet to SEO, the fundamentals are absurdly basic.

Experts suggest following a simple 1-2-3 SEO process: (1) Find the appropriate keywords, (2) Optimize the site for those keywords, and (3) Develop content about those relevant keywords. Each of the steps requires work, but don’t fall for the notion that you have to do ten tasks at once.

  • Use Minimalist Design

Complicated web design with intricate graphics and lots of motion aren’t necessary. If you study some of the leading brands in your space, you’re apt to notice that they rely on minimalist design to get their branding cross … and this should be good news for you.

Minimalist style takes skill, but it doesn’t require a massive investment. You can excise a lot of unnecessary brainstorming from the process and use your creative energy in other areas.

  • Focus on One Social Media Platform

Who says you need a social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, LinkedIn, Periscope, Foursquare, and every other platform in between? If you’re investing in all these channels, the odds are you aren’t doing a very good job on any of them.

Instead, focus in on just one top social media channel, such as Instagram or YouTube. If you pour all your time and creative energy into this profile, you’ll extract far more value over the long run.

It’s better to have a few hundred loyal, engaged supporters than thousands of shallow, disengaged followers.

Simple is Better

There’s a common assumption that the harder you work for something, the better the results will be. But too often, this becomes little more than a justification for sunk costs.

The truth is that the simplest tasks often yield the highest return on investment — especially in digital marketing. Instead of overwhelming yourself with complex marketing initiatives and challenging strategies that demand substantial amounts of time and financial resources, simplify your approach.

If you do so, you’re more likely to save time, money, and creative energy … all of which could be reallocated toward strategic investments in other areas of the operation. Simple is better. The sooner you recognize this, the quicker you can move forward.