Not sure where to start developing your website or social media? Here are 10 quick and effective ways to get started with digital marketing.
As a local or small business owner, taking advantage of digital marketing is the key to success. Barriers to market entry are minimized compared to traditional forms of marketing. Find out how you can take advantage of digital opportunities with these tips.
Here is a list of 10 digital marketing tips for small businesses:
- Research Competitors and Differentiate Yourself
- Build Your Website on Solid Foundations
- Improve Your Google Business Ranking and Customer Reviews
- Create Interesting Blog Content
- Consider Google Ads for Your Small Business
- Create Professional Visual Content
- Improve Your Local SEO
- Improve Your Email Marketing
- Focus on a Primary Social Media Channel
- Partner with Local Influencers
Table of Contents
1. Research Competitors and Differentiate Yourself
Competitor research is important because as a local business, you may want to offer added value in the market. [Google Searches]https://www.google.com/) is a great place to start. You can see how your competitors position themselves in their ads. This example shows the Google Search Network results for local Nottingham plumbers below. Terms like “No Call Fees”, “Fully Qualified Plumbers” and “1 Hour Response” are great selling points.
Now, you might be thinking, how do I distinguish myself from all the other plumbers who offer a more or less similar service? Entrepreneur.com says: “If there is nothing that differentiates you, invent one”.
- Product – most notable but easily copied and short-lived
- Service – training, installation, speed, ease of doing business, etc.
- Distribution – The suppliers, manufacturers, distributors or retailers you work with
- Relationship – employees and customer service can be an effective way to differentiate. Maybe add a review service like a Trustpilot review
- Image / Reputation – this can be determined through your current customers, who can then become your advocates.
- Price – again, this is also easily copied. However, depending on your product, customers may choose to pay more if there is added value in doing business with you.
2. Build Your Website on Solid Foundations
Online users are becoming more and more demanding in terms of the experience they expect from a website. They want a fast loading website as a minimum requirement. As a local business, you may not have the budget for larger, national or international firms, but at least you can get the basics right.
From the statistics above, you can see how a slow website can have an impact on your chances of converting new users into customers. As we move into a more mobile-first world with slow 3G internet connections, page speed or page load time becomes even more important. Google PageSpeed Insights shows you how you can reduce your website load time.
You can test your website ‘s mobile speed with Google’s free tool and see how you can reduce bounce rates.
3. Improve Your Google My Business Ranking and Customer Reviews
As a small business owner, your online reputation can be the deciding factor when a prospective customer searches for your product/service. Fortunately, with Google My Business you have a level of control over managing how people perceive your business.
Some of the common mistakes to avoid are:
_ Having multiple listings _ Unnecessary new listings after address change _ Business name misuse, for example adding unnecessary promotional messages
Customer reviews are nothing new, but you’d be surprised how often this is overlooked. According to the study, 30% of respondents said online reviews are key when evaluating local businesses , so you should make this a top priority as part of your digital marketing strategy.
4. Create Interesting Blog Content
If you’re in a very competitive industry—most local businesses are—you need to think about a content strategy that will deliver results. When working with small businesses, they are generally less likely to rank on the first page of Google for a broad term related to their product/service.
For example, if you are just entering the market, it would be nearly impossible to be found with “Plumbing Nottingham”.
First, it will require a budget and resources that are not affordable to reach. Second, ranking for a broad term may not lead to more customers at the end of the day. This is where your blog content plays an important role.
- Putting the audience first
- Making sure it’s SEO friendly
- Correct communication tone
- Showing readers that they can trust you
The screenshot below is an example of how organic traffic for a local business in Nottingham is increased by researching the blog content they can produce in-house.
5. Consider Google Ads for Your Small Business
Google Ads, formerly known as Google AdWords, is developing.
However, the principles remain the same and are covered in this helpful small business PPC guide from Google .
There are eight stages to follow:
- Set your goals
- do your research
- Determine your budget
- Build your build
- Choose your keywords
- Take care to be relevant
- Use powerful messaging
- focus on the whole picture
New Google Keyword Planner
One of the key stages when creating your Google Ads Search campaigns is choosing the appropriate keywords. Google Keyword Planner has been updated with the new interface to help with this.
New features include:
- Volumetric trends – detect seasonal trends
- Evaluate by platform (device) – desktop/tablet/mobile traffic splits
- Enhanced forecasting tools
6. Create Professional Visual Content
Content is still king and content marketing is an industry in itself. Your content will form an important part of your digital strategy.
Video is a rapidly growing field, and these stats from HubSpot show why:
- 97% of marketers said video increases users’ understanding of their product or service.
- 76% said it helped them increase sales
- 81% of people are convinced to buy a product or service by watching a brand’s video
Also, an important statistic that shows how important video is today is that more than 1.9 billion users log into YouTube every month.
Big brands understand the power of video marketing, and examples like Beats by Dre, Apple, Nintendo, and Domino’s consistently create big-budget video campaigns.
You may not have big budgets, but you can always partner with a talented local video agency/freelancer to start your own video campaign.
7. Improve Your Local SEO
Local SEO is primarily important if you are a local business.
Link building is equally important as always.
You can create local links from:
- newspaper sites
- Award / festival sites
- Sponsorship sites
8. Improve Your Email Marketing
Another digital strategy that is essential for your small business is email marketing.
At Simply Business you can find a truly comprehensive email marketing guide that lets you cover all the important email marketing questions. Some of those:
- Do you know the legal side of email marketing?
- Have you chosen a provider?
- Do you know what your competitors are doing?
- Do you know how to craft an effective email?
The guide also includes checklists, provider comparisons.
If you’re struggling in this area or need to solidify your knowledge, you can also complete a free email marketing certification course from HubSpot .
9. Focus on a Primary Social Media Channel
Social media marketing strategies are constantly changing with constantly updated platforms.
Often small business owners ask, which platform should I focus on?
The answer is simple…
Focus on the social media platform related to your business and where your customers are most active.
- If the nature of your product/service offering is B2B, LinkedIn and/or Twitter are natural choices.
- For B2C businesses, Facebook and/or Instagram may be better choices.
Whatever you decide, have a primary social media channel to focus on growth. As a small business owner, you may not have the necessary resources to effectively manage multiple channels.
Artificial intelligence is a big trend for 2019. In fact, adoption is expected to increase by the end of 2019 and chats are expected to become the ‘norm’ for online retailers.
Chatbots are now at the forefront of innovation for small businesses. As a business owner, it has never been easier to create your own bot. Facebook offers a convenient way to create one with limited coding capability.
According to G2Crowd , there are more than 300,000 Facebook chatbots today and it has become the preferred and most common platform for chatbot use. Also, a joint study by Drift, Salesforce, and SurveyMonkey found that 69 percent of consumers prefer using chatboot for quick communication.
10. Partner with Local Influencers
This is definitely a growing field of digital marketing and perhaps you should consider it for your business.
Today, influencer marketing isn’t just used for the fashion industry.
For example, if you are in the food industry, you can approach local food bloggers and have an impressive promotional strategy to help raise awareness of your brand.
All in all, these tips will help your small business if you use the above digital strategies effectively.
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