Digital Marketing for Small Business is Critical To Your Success
I am often asked about digital marketing for small business and how it can help them grow. My response is very simple. Digital marketing has created a level playing field between large corporations and our small businesses. The cornerstones of digital marketing have affordable costs of either time or money that even the smallest business can undertake. Digital marketing can be found in many forms from blogging and posting on social media to your website, contact forms, and mobile (SMS text) marketing. There are more than 55 ways to promote your business using digital marketing. We created a useful checklist to help you see where your digital marketing efforts are. You can download it here. This is a great way to really look at all of your options when it comes to marketing your small business and determine what your budget (time or $) will allow. Failing to budget for marketing each year is a big mistake we see many small businesses make that spreads the divide between themselves and successful large businesses. An average business will put between 8-12% of their gross revenue into marketing the business. Continuing to ensure that your brand is top of mind for potential consumers is critical to your continued success. This is a big reason why only 1 in 3 small businesses make it to their 3rd year in business. Let’s take a look at some of the ways to use digital marketing for your small business.
Social media is an easy way to reach your potential customers… when done correctly. First, you must research your ideal customer and make sure you pick the social network(s) where they are. This is an often overlooked step in digital marketing. If you target demographic is 18-22 year-old males then you would want to consider Snapchat or Instagram. Conversely, if your target is 35-55 year-old females who like crafting then you’d probably choose Pinterest or Facebook. Second, you have to think through your strategy for creating content and posting to achieve desired results. If you want people to visit your website then some of your posts should include links to your website. If you want more people to like and share your page than your content should support that as well. Third, you must create engaging, valuable content for your potential customers. Your images shouldn’t be grainy or out of focus, your videos should be well lit and not shaky, and your audio must be good! There is nothing worse than finding a video that you want to watch, clicking the video to enable the audio, and then having poor sound. The video is instantly turned off and we don’t watch the rest of it. Lastly, no matter which platform you are on… BE SOCIAL! Make sure your brand isn’t only posting things you sell. Make sure you are visiting other pages or profiles and engaging with their posts. Make sure you like, comment, and share when it fits your brand. For instance, at Problem Solver’s we spend a lot of time commenting on posts from our partners at Constant Contact and other digital marketing brands. Sometimes we are happy about a new software update and other times we are giving our opinions or helping others who are having an issue. This is an easy way to be seen on social media and only costs you time. This is a critical component of social media marketing, so if you do look to partner with an agency for your social media accounts make sure they are managing the accounts but are also being social. Social media is one of the easiest places to start using digital marketing to grow your business.
Email marketing is a very affordable way to send new and returning customers information about your business. The first step in email marketing is getting started growing your email list! There are many different ways to grow your email list. You can collect information on a signup sheet in your brick and mortar business or you can add a signup form to your website. You can add a widget to your social media accounts allowing people to signup or you can run lead ads that capture contact information including email addresses. I’ve even seen business put out a fishbowl asking people to leave their business cards to be added to the contact list. Next, you need to develop an email strategy that provides value to your subscribers. No one likes getting email after email that screams buy my stuff, buy my stuff. Your email campaigns should be primarily valuable content with small amounts of promotional materials. Each small business has many valuable insights to share with their customers. Small businesses can use autoresponders to send out premade email campaigns at certain time triggers such as a welcome message shortly after someone signs up for your email list or a thank you email after a customer makes a purchase. There are many easy to use email service providers including Constant Contact, Mail Chimp, Emma, Drip, and more. Using these service providers makes creating your email campaigns easier. Using your email list you can create long-lasting relationships with new and existing customers.
Online advertising has allowed small businesses to compete with corporations on a massive scale. There are different ad platforms each with their own pros and cons. You can use Google Ads, Bing Ads, Yahoo, and more to create search ads (SEM). These ads show up alongside organic search results. SEM ads are more expensive than other forms but tend to convert visitors into customers at a higher rate. These conversions come from searchers intent. These ads show when certain keywords are searched for by potential customers in your target geographical area. This sounds more complicated than it is. Basically, when someone searches something related to your product or service (ex. “car insurance” if you’re an insurance agency or “laptop” if you sell electronics) your ads with your name, a short snippet about you and extensions with your address, phone number, and website direct people to you first for a price. Each industry is different but the average cost per click (CPC) in the U.S. is ~$3. Many of these services also offer display ads and remarketing ads. Display ads are graphics that are displayed on partners websites based on each consumers purchase intent. Remarketing ads are another form of online advertising. Remarketing is when ads are shown to potential customers after they have visited your website. When they visit pages of your website they retain cookies that allow you to market directly to them. This allows you to serve ads only to those who are familiar with your brand and are more likely to make a purchase.
Another form of online advertising is social media advertising. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn all have ad platforms that allow you to serve ads to your potential customers. Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn also have pixels for remarketing ads. Consumers today spend more and more time on social media. Meeting potential customers where they are is the best way to incorporate your brand into their thoughts. Social media ads can be optimized for many different outcomes such as driving website traffic, generating more followers/likes, or generating leads. Social media ads are a very cost-effective way to reach your potential customers and can generate tons of website traffic when executed properly. Online advertising is another great digital marketing resource for your small businesses to leverage.
Your website is often the first interaction a potential customer has with your brand. A Google search often leads new potential customers to your online listing including your website. Having an updated website is critical to your digital success. Many businesses create a website and forget about it. Using Google Analytics and Tag Manager to learn how potential customers use your website. When you find out where potential customers leave your site you should make adjustments to ensure you meet your goals. A business website should be reviewed and updated every 6-12 months with a new website design every 3-5 years to match the businesses brand and image. The biggest mistakes we see with small business websites is either lack of a website altogether or a poorly designed “builder” website that has a poor user experience. This creates a poor first experience with your brand for your potential customers with your brand. Your website is another key part of your small business digital marketing strategy.