With the constant rise of digital, small business and entrepreneurs face never-before-seen challenges. The open market is stronger than it has ever been. But, it is also intense, and the competition is quite high. Marketing can help small businesses get noticed and move ahead of the competition.
Of course, marketing methods only work if applied correctly. When it comes to digital marketing, a lot can be done even on a zero budget. Online, even a small local company can reach a worldwide audience and gain new customers from all over the world.
How can digital marketing work for your small business? Let’s go through the basics.
First off, Know what Digital Marketing Stands For
We can make a clear distinction between traditional and digital marketing platforms, even though they are sometimes mixed. Traditional marketing platforms are radio, television, print. Digital marketing platforms are online media, social networks, mobile.
There is a lot more creative and financial freedom in digital marketing. This especially evident on social networks, where an ad can achieve great momentum if it is shared by a lot of users. This doesn’t even have to be a typical ad – social media loves videos, status updates, even memes.
Create a Recognizable Online Presence
Every business needs to have an official webpage. This doesn’t have to be something elaborate, even a simple landing page can work. The most important thing is that your webpage instantly introduces and explains your business to a new audience.
Visuals are important, and that’s why you need your webpage to have a simple design that attracts visitors. Navigation has to be simple, as well. Your official site also needs to be stuffed with keywords and taglines that are directly associated to your business.
Think of it this way: Your landing page is the foundation of your online presence. From there, your potential clients can check out your blog, social media pages, online shop and more.
You Need SEO from the Very Start
Search engine optimization – SEO – is something you need to implement as soon as you launch your website and online campaign. Basically, SEO is needed because you want potential customers to find you via online search engines. Various SEO tactics will give your webpage a higher ranking, meaning it will appear higher in searches. Want to rank high on Google? You need to take care of SEO.
Generally speaking, SEO begins with the selection of relevant keywords and phrases that search engine users will use to find your business. As you publish content, send emails and engage social media users, you need to naturally integrate such search terms to maintain a consistent theme for your brand.
Where to start? Back on your landing page, and move on from there. First off, define relevant keywords, phrases that are associated to your business. Identify ten to twenty most important ones, but make sure you cover about one hundred total keywords.
Implement those keywords on your landing page, social media profiles, ecommerce product descriptions – wherever possible. In turn, those keywords will ‘stick’ to your brand name and make your business show up higher in Google searches. You’ll be more visible to customers.
Produce Content your Audience wants to Consume
Content is extremely important in marketing. Blog posts, native advertising articles, videos, brand endorsements – all these methods work better than simply showcasing desriptions of your products. In order for content to have power, you need to know who your potential customers are. You need to know your target audience.
Examine your online followers. Find out their online preferences. How much money they make, how much they spend, what other products do they use, are they fans of your competitors, find out their median age, education and more. The more you know, the better your content will be suited for your exact audience.
When posting content, remember to keep it personal. You know the profile of your average online follower, so talk to them in a voice that’s familiar. Give your brand a personality and let it shine across your online presence.
Let Loose on Social Media
Social media has almost limitless marketing potential. It can work even with a limited or no budget. While you have to appear spontaneous on social media, you definitely need a well-developed strategy. Of course, you can consult with or even hire digital marketing experts that will achieve this for your company.
This is also where your brand’s personality needs to be implemented. Interact with your audience. Follow back, Tweet back and re-Tweet, take part in discussions on Facebook, organize Q&A sessions and interact with online followers.
Remember, your main goal is making sales and long-term customers. Interaction on social media not only creates brand awareness, but also brand loyalty.
Don’t Forget about Email Marketing
Email marketing used to be more prominent about a decade ago, but that doesn’t mean it’s ineffective today. Sure, promotional emails can often wind up in a person’s spam folder, but if they’re formatted correctly, they can work as a great call-to-action.
Email newsletters are a great way of interacting with your customers, maintaining brand awareness and creating a community based around your business. If you really want your emails to pack a punch, use them to offer exclusive deals to your newsletter subscribers, for example.
Another useful aspect of newsletters is that it provides you with a list of subscribers. Of course, you don’t have to send each email manually. There are automation apps and services available, which is something you should consider when hiring marketing experts.
Stay Connected to Your Audience
In a way, we already covered this step, but it is so important it has to be emphasized. Yes, you need to interact with your audience on social media while a post or a topic is active. It’s equally important to followup with an email or message after making a sale.
Little gestures like that can go a long way. They can generate new sales, create new customers and build a strong, loyal following. If you send a customized ‘thank you’ message you a customer after a sale has been made, that customer will feel special. A happy customer is a steady one.
Track your Online Campaigns
There is no way of knowing how effective your digital marketing campaign is without following web metrics to see how it’s actually doing. That’s why you need to track everything, and keep record.
How much buzz can a Tweet generate? How much feedback are you getting from Facebook posts? What kind of content works best? You can use free tools like Google Analytics to follow your online scores, or hire professionals.
Learn the Basics, and Get Going
Digital marketing can do wonders for any small business, even on a tight promotional budget. What’s important is that you know your end goal: Generating sales, creating loyal customers and building brand awareness.
What we’ve showcased here are just the basics. It’s up to you to learn and apply them, and continue developing. Remember, these marketing techniques definitely work, but they do they time. Be patient, consistent and always plan things out. Small businesses can be as powerful as big companies, if you do your marketing right.