Digital Marketing for Small Business

Digital marketing is an effective way for a small business owner to attract new customers. Marketing online can get a bit overwhelming at first, you’ve got LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, website, viral campaigns, Google+, email, blogs – there’s a lot of stuff to consider. Take a deep breath, it’s not as bad as you think. Here’s a simple guide to help you along:

Digital MarketingFirst – define your digital marketing goals

Before you can begin, you need to determine your business goals. With goals, it’ll be easier to determine if digital marketing efforts are worth investing time & money. A clear goal will give you something to measure your success against and track progress. If you aren’t making significant progress towards a goal, you’ll know that there are areas that need improvement. Goals to consider are; optimizing your website for conversions, expanding reach, and nurturing prospective customers.

Second – identify your target audience

Before you can begin communicating, you need to identify your target audience — people who benefit the most from your product or service. What are the demographics? What do they want from you? What problem do you solve for them? Once you know who you’re talking to, it’s easier to find the best way to communicate.

Third – set up your website

Websites are a source of information about your business. Almost 50% of business owners say they don’t have a company website, it’s a must-have for any business. Whether you’re starting from scratch or simply updating your website, be sure to keep the following in mind:

• Design your website design needs to be easy to use and consistent with your brand image.

• SEO throughout pages of your website, include searchable keywords. Keywords make it possible for people searching the web to discover your business.

• Content your homepage should clearly outline what your business is about, and make it easy for visitors to contact you. Update regularly to ensure content is current and accurate.

• Mobile-Friendly mobile devices (smart phones & tablets) account for more than half of Internet users, so you want your site to have responsive design that adjusts for different devices.

Email is an easy way to stay connected

With the help of an email service provider, you can automate your email campaigns. Simply create a sign up form on your website to collect subscribers and follow up with awesome email content. Content can include product updates (featured or discounted items), upcoming sales, coupons, and anything else customers value.

Social Media

Maintaining an active presence on social channels like Facebook and Twitter is a great way to engage with customers and raise brand awareness. Contests, helpful tips, and discounts are all great ways to get followers to interact with your business. To further expand your reach, you might want to consider paid advertising and promoted posts on channels that are most relevant to your business. As you set up your social media accounts, don’t forget to set up your online business profile (e.g. Google+, Bing, Yelp) as well. This will bring more credibility to your brand, and provide people with another way to learn more about your business.

Blogging

Consumers hold the power and determines where a particular brand fits into their life – a big part of that decision is based on trust. By creating content that focuses on helping your customers improve their lives (while also remaining relevant to your brand and industry), can build trust. As you develop a deeper connection with your audience, they’ll remain loyal to your brand. Create an editorial publishing calendar – cover at least three months of content, you’ll give yourself an opportunity to work ahead of time and establish a regular publishing cadence (which readers will love and appreciate). As you plan, make sure to note upcoming company or local events, webinars, holidays, and any other timely event that are relevant to your business.

Dip into PPC

Small businesses think pay-per-click marketing might dilute their marketing budget. Sometimes it is best source to drive results for your business. PPC is one of the tools withing Search Engine Marketing, that helps you connect with audiences in the online world. You simply need to create an account on the popular PPC platforms such as AdWords or Bing, create an ad that best communicates your business offering, products, or services – and target it based on keywords, the device they are on, interests, websites that they visit and more. You  pay only when someone clicks your ad. Millions of searches are being done on search engines every day. People are taking to the internet to find information on products and services and, often times, purchasing or making a call to action when visiting a website. Paid-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising can be a highly effective tool for driving traffic to your small businesses website, but there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes to make your online advertising campaign successful. Watch the Adwords tutorial video on Youtube.

Video content for Youtube

YouTube may not seem like a perfect platform for marketing small businesses – but comments on YouTube are tied to Google+, and it’s a influential platform. Creating and posting video content on YouTube is a good way to boost visibility and credibility of your business. There are easy ways to produce video content for your small business – webcasts & webinars can be posted as a series of videos. You can create short (two – three minute) tutorials, or product demonstrations, create a corporate profile, or company history video. Think about what your target audience would want to watch and make a video.

Measure your progress

Review Google Analytics to determine ROI of your digital marketing efforts, set up analytics tracking to measure the effectiveness of your website, social presence, and general content. These statistics will be the vital signs for measuring the health of your digital marketing strategy. Once you have your reports, use insights to improve strengths and weaknesses of your marketing efforts. You might notice underperforming areas that could use help, or successful tactics that you could use elsewhere.


Find the right mix to get the results you need...

Even if you’re a one-person company, you should consider having a digital marketing plan, remember to set goals and track your results. What types of posts and promotions attract potential customers? What brings people to your website or brick-and-mortar location? Adapt, if something isn’t working, stop it and try something new.

Identify where your customers are socially and what devices and media they use. With a carefully managed strategy, small businesses can see a huge return on their efforts. Refresh your marketing campaigns, test new ideas, and watch how e-commerce companies promote their products. Stay active and never stop learning.

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