Following the evolution of modern technologies, small and medium businesses are doing everything they can to keep up. Brick-and-mortar businesses are either changing their business models to go online and expanding their digital marketing channels or beefing up existing marketing efforts with marketing strategies for small business– in an attempt to capture a growing and very lucrative online marketplace. Even if you receive tons of daily traffic to your website, it would not amount to anything unless the visits convert to leads or sales. This is why your website doesn’t matter if you are not partaking in digital marketing. Digital marketing tools and techniques provide business owners a competitive change when it comes to survival and business growth
What is digital marketing and why people are using it?
You have likely already been inundated with articles, tips, and tricks regarding small business digital marketing.
But what is it exactly? In a nutshell, digital marketing means using the internet and digital media to boost awareness and interest in your business’ services or products. Digital marketing strategies for small businesses include:
- Website Design & Content
- Social Media Content & Advertising
- Search Engine Optimization
- Email Marketing
It can be a bit overwhelming if you are a new business owner or not that experienced with technology. That’s why it may be tempting to skip out on the new marketing technologies to stay in your comfort zone. But for the sake of your business’ success and reputation, you need to use all the digital marketing tools that you can!
Stand out against the competition
Almost 78% of small business have and implement a social media strategy. If you don’t have a digital presence, consumers may choose your competition since there is more information readily available.
Reach and target your audience
Chances are, your customers are online. Small business digital marketing allows you to utilize different platforms and strategies to reach people on the internet. Many digital platforms also allow detailed targeting, so you can reach the people who will be interested in your services and products. Digital marketing targeting options range from basic information like gender and location up to household salaries or Facebook likes.
ROI & KPI Digital Marketing: Automatic Analytics
Monitoring your digital marketing campaigns is easy thanks to many automatic analytic programs and plug-ins. By keeping an eye on your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and digital marketing ROI (Return of Investment) metrics, you can determine if your campaign is effective and delivering the desired results. If a specific campaign isn’t working out as well as you had hoped, it is easy to make changes in real time and get your campaign back on track. Limiting unnecessary and ineffective spending is why digital marketing is cost effective.
Traditional Marketing vs. Digital Marketing
While companies still invest in traditional marketing methods, digital marketing has seen explosive growth for several reasons.
Traditional marketing methods like print, broadcast, or direct mail are very costly compared to digital marketing methods. It is also very difficult to measure its effectiveness.
Digital media, on the other hand, can help you market to potential customers everywhere. Measuring success is easier too with tools like Call Rail and linking strategies.
Finally, if you have an online store, traditional marketing methods are simply impractical. The customer base for an online store is often global. Spending money on local news, radio, or television ads is not practical.
Fostering a Community
Having an online presence also provides the opportunity to connect and interact with your customers in real-time, something that wasn’t possible with traditional marketing tools. Not only will you create a sense of community around your brand, but you can also tackle problems as they happen with direct communication.
Why isn’t my website making sales?
The principal of small business digital marketing is quite simple, and your website is one of the best digital marketing channels, but too often small business owners don’t view it this way. If you fall into this category, you are likely wondering how to use your website as a marketing tool and the best way to promote your website online.
The first step to website marketing is considering the user-experience on your website. If the website is too slow and hard to navigate, users will undoubtedly leave without making a purchase. Your website should be mobile-friendly to target on-the-go consumers as well. Google will lower your search engine rating if your site is optimized for mobile.
Next, develop website content that is relevant to your industry and consumer base. For example, if your company sells construction materials share renovation guides and tricks. If you want to go the extra mile, consider hosting videos on your website with instructional content related to your industry. Creating video content is one of the most effective marketing strategies for small businesses since it catches and holds consumer attention.
The next step is figuring out how to convert views into sales. Most small businesses use call to actions to boost sales and sign-ups.
What is a call to action on a website? This is also an important component of small business digital marketing. A call to action is a short sentence or phrase that encourages your readers or viewers to take action that directly benefits your business, like making a purchase or subscribing to a newsletter. The call to action should be near the top of the webpage and easy to read.
Don’t be stuck, focus on more cost-effective digital marketing channels
Digital marketing helps businesses grow. But it can be challenging to determine how to market your business online and which digital marketing tactics are right for your business.
Here are some of our favorite digital marketing ideas:
Digital marketing channels like social media are the perfect platforms to allow two-way communication between you and your customers. Many social media platforms offer simple and detailed targeting options.
Compared to social media, email marketing is typically one-way communication. But email provides you with the opportunity to create an even more exclusive community with options to personalize greeters and other elements.
A great website
Even though it may not be one of the most obvious marketing strategies for small businesses, it is definitely one of the most important. Your homepage is where consumers go for information about your business, so it better be convincing!
When someone visits your site, but are not yet a loyal customer, they may forget about your brand until the next interaction. So, utilizing retargeting ads keeps your brand and products fresh in their mind until they are ready to make that purchase.
But above all, the secret ingredient for cost-effective digital marketing campaigns is research. Research your desired audience: What are their interests? Which platforms do they prefer? Do they respond more favorably to straight-forward sales and promotions or more muted strategies like sponsored content?
Once you have these questions answered, you can make an informed decision about which platforms and what kind of digital marketing campaigns will bring you and your business the most success.
How to create dialogue with customers online and increase sales
The importance of social media in digital marketing strategies is not to be underestimated. Therefore, many business owners are left to wonder how to do social media marketing for small businesses or more generally, how to market your business online.
The main thing to consider is that when consumers come to social media, they are coming to interact with your brand rather than learn about it. Therefore, one of the best marketing strategies for small businesses on social media is to focus on interactions and engagement with your followers. Small business digital marketing is driven by sharing behind-the-scenes content as well as replying to all comments, tags, and reviews made by customers.
Need some social media marketing tips for small businesses? Or are you unsure which platforms you should consider?One of the digital marketing tools you can use is LinkedIn for small business marketing, based on the connections and engagements you can gather on the platform. It is better for B2B businesses. Using Instagram for business is a tremendous visually-driven strategy to target and involve younger audiences. Pinterest is another visual platform that is especially popular in the DIY, food and fashion industries. Facebook is still one of the biggest and most popular digital marketing channels for small businesses around the globe. Facebook marketing ideas for business include re-sharing follower-generated content, going live and joining locally based Facebook groups.
Incorporate search engine optimization if you aim high in search engines marketing strategies for small business
As a local small business owner, one of your biggest goals should be getting your website to the top of google results. After all, high search engine placement drives clicks to your homepage. But how can you influence your business’ search engine placement? Website SEO marketing.
Wondering how to do search engine optimization? Look towards all the digital marketing channels you are present on:
Website SEO marketing isn’t as complicated as it seems. You need to “optimize” or adjust your content to make sure it is featuring the different keywords or phrases related to your business that can be used in digital searches. But, it’s imperative to keep the text flowing naturally. If you keyword stuff and the texts don’t make any sense, Google and other search engines will penalize you for it. The keywords can also be spread throughout blogs posted on your site.
But it also goes further than your own website. Starting to link build by having other companies and blogs link to your website can prove your website’s relevancy and authority to search engines.
Even your social media accounts play a role in search engine optimization! So, try to incorporate some keywords in your page’s posts and updates. Always remember to link your social media pages on your website and vice-versa to get that extra bit of authority. You can do local digital marketing on social media also.
Your placement on Google and other search engines can affect how much consumers trust your business and how likely they are to visit you. That’s why SEO for small business websites is so important.
Everybody checks their emails use email marketing strategy in your favor
Although the name is not as catchy as other strategies, email marketing for small businesses is another indispensable tool you need to know about.
When contemplating how to market your business online, an email marketing strategy is a cheap and effective option. 89% of American adults check their emails on daily, and 53% stated they purchased an item after receiving an email about it.
Following some email marketing newsletter best practices can keep your readers hooked and help you get the most out of your efforts.
Every email a consumer receives is a mini interaction with your business – you want it to be a good one. If you are successful in creating a newsletter content strategy that keeps your readers hooked and opening their emails, you have created another reliable marketing tool.
Informative and relevant
Avoid spamming followers with uninteresting information that has nothing to do with your industry. Instead, compile a newsletter content strategy that contains only industry-relevant information and isn’t too salesy. The general rule of thumb is to focus on company updates and information 90% of the time and pushing products around 10% of the time. Another general guideline is to stick with one theme per newsletter.
Keep a schedule
If you say your newsletter will be published every Friday at 12 pm, make sure it goes out at that time every week! A big part of email marketing is the consumer anticipation of your newsletter every week. If you aren’t regular, the consumer has nothing to look forward to.
Deliver → offer more → get referrals and reviews
Referral marketing, also known as review marketing or reputation management, is an effective digital marketing tool used especially by local service businesses with brick-and-mortar locations.
How does referral marketing work? Many customers chose to review a business on social media or local directory pages following an interaction. These reviews are a standard piece of local digital marketing since they can influence other consumers to try your services.
If you want to encourage people to leave more reviews, offer small incentives like a free dessert at the next visit.
The influence of online reviews is staggering: 91% trust digital reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends and family. A majority of American consumers read an average of 10 reviews online before they can trust a local business. Glowing reviews can cause consumers to spend 31% more in your store than they would have before. Positive reviews on Google can improve your click-through rates since consumers are eager to learn about reviewed small businesses in their area.
If your business happens to receive a particularly glowing review, consider posting it on your website as well. This is another website marketing strategy that helps to cement your standing as a popular and trusted business in the area. If some reviews include the keywords associated with your small business, re-posting the positive reviews on different pages can boost your SEO score as well.
Be an expert in your field
The easiest way to gain authority and trust from other professionals in your industry and consumers is to become an expert! Odds are, if you own a small business, you are quite the expert already, so all you need to do now is share this information with your followers. This is where webinar marketing comes into play.
What is webinar marketing? First of all, webinar is coined from the words “web seminar.” Webinar marketing means sharing your expertise with interested parties in the form of webinars or podcasts. Webinars are generally a presentation followed by an open Q&A session. Remember these sessions are not meant to sell your product but solidify your position as an industry expert. You want to create trust in your abilities which can result in a future purchase of your services. Up to 5% of attendees will purchase a service or product from your business following a webinar. You can even do local digital marketing by targeting certain Webinars to local clients. Webinars are an easy and sometimes free strategy to keep in mind when considering how to market your business online.
Of course, you need to promote your webinar or podcast on your website, email and all social media channels before you go live. Using webinars and podcasts for marketing is one of the most creative digital marketing tools to help you improve your standing as an industry leader or mentor.
Use of paid search advertising
Now that we have been able to define digital advertising, it is time to dive more into search engines and how to improve your ranking. If you wait for your SEO ranking to improve naturally, it could take a while. That’s when paid search advertising, one of the different types of online advertising, should be used your next digital marketing tool!
What is paid search advertising? It allows businesses to pay a premium to be one of the sponsored results at the top of search engine result pages. Paid ads on search engines boost awareness about the aspects of your business that relate to someone’s search.
After analyzing your campaigns, you may find that paid search advertising is more effective. This could be because the person searching was already in the purchasing mindset and was just looking for the best product on the market – which happened to be yours!
Gone are the days when businesses laid down an annual sum to have its information listed in the Yellow Pages. These days it’s crucial for small businesses to instead prominently be listed in multiple online directories. You can add a geotag if you need to emphasis local digital marketing, however, you want your URL in as many places as you can get it so more people can find it. So why not take advantage of this free advertising space?
Depending on the industry you work in, there may be a dedicated directory for your business type. If you have a brick and mortar store, submitting to local directories is even smarter. Free services like Google My Business allow you to claim your business so that when someone searches for your business, your website plus a map with your location, hours and contact will appear on the right side of the results page. Other places you’ll want to look into adding your website or business to are Angie’s List, Yellow Pages, and Yelp. A quick google search will show you how to submit websites to directories for free.
Where to list your business online will depend on your specific business type. For example, list your business on Google and Yelp if you own a brick-and-mortar restaurant or storefront. If you are a service-based small business, consider Angie’s List. Just like for social media, it behooves you to be where your consumers are. It is essential to research multiple directories to list your website on in order to reach the most amount of people.
Consumers reference assorted local directory listings regularly to make informed decisions about their future buying behavior. And, learning how to add your business to Yelp or other platforms is quick and easy, so there is no reason not to do it!
The importance of business listings in SEO is not to be underappreciated. Every time your business is listed on a new website, especially established websites like Yelp or Angie’s List, your business becomes more “trustworthy” in the search engine’s eyes.
Why your website does not matter if you don’t do digital marketing - FAQ
Q: Why is digital marketing necessary?*
A: The internet not only allows you to interact with your consumers and create content in real time, but there are innumerous tools and programs to help you analyze the effectiveness of your campaigns.
Q: What is SEO?*
A: Search engine optimization (SEO), is a series of different techniques and tactics used to increase the visitor volume to a website by improving the placement on the search engine result page (SERP) on popular search engines like Google, Bing or Yahoo.
Q: How do I get my business at the top of Google search results?*
A: Use relevant descriptive keywords in page titles, links, and your general content strategy. Next, take steps to be listed in all digital local search directories.
Q: Can a Facebook page replace a small business’ website?*
A: Unfortunately, no. It does not give visitors the pure brand experience your website would. On Facebook, consumers may be distracted by different brands also present on the platform. A website dedicated to your small business also gives your complete control of your SEO strategy.