As an entrepreneur, digital marketing for small businesses may seem overwhelming. There are so many aspects of marketing; you may even feel that digital marketing isn’t as crucial for your brand or that it’s too complex to benefit from it. Did you know that 90 percent of small businesses use a combination of digital and traditional marketing? You can, too.
We’re going to give you the lowdown on how using a combination of digital marketing strategies for small businesses can work for you. If you don’t know much about digital marketing, don’t worry, we’ll cover this in plain language and leave the confusing shop talk out of it.
We’ll cover a variety of strategies and advantages of digital marketing below, including SEO (search engine optimization), social media, Facebook Ads, and content marketing. Then we’ll get into how combining them can help you take your business to the next level.
Understanding Small Business Digital Marketing Strategies
Your small business needs to market itself to succeed. For small businesses, advertising on radio or TV, print coupons, and yellow pages used to be the cornerstone of reaching new customers. Digital marketing takes your brand and puts it, literally, in the hands of your intended audience, if done right.
Using digital marketing strategies, together or alone, is not just a good idea for a small business, nowadays, it’s essential for growth and reaching your target audience. You need to understand the basics. Below, we’ll cover what you need to know about each strategy.
Search Engine Optimization for Small Businesses
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is essential for any small business that wants to make it to the first page of search engine results pages (SERPs). Without quality SEO, even the best website may not generate traffic or leads, as it becomes buried by sites that do SEO better.
Why is it important to rank on search engines like Google? Statistics show that as far back as 2014, 94 percent of B2B (business to business) buyers search Google before they make a purchase. That’s not all, 82 percent of retail consumers hit search engines for research before making a purchase too, even standing in the store at which they’re shopping.
Let’s talk a little about SERPs. Search engines, like Google, Bing, and DuckDuckGo, take people’s questions and give them back the most relevant articles and websites possible. They do this in part by matching the keywords search for to website’s content, as closely as possible. The pages of websites and articles the search engine gives you after a search are the SERPs.
How It Works
The goal of SEO is to make your website more profitable and more visible. It includes refining you site structure and creating high-quality content so search engines like Google see your page as an authority in your market. If you do it right, you’ll end up higher in the SERPs, perhaps even page one. You want to be on page one because 75 percent of people never go past the first page of search results
Google and other search engines don’t only look at the words you use on your site. To nail SEO, you also have to consider the speed, mobile responsiveness, backlinks (we’ll talk more about these in the content marketing section), and structure of your site. User-friendly sites set up for mobile devices that have been linked to often by other highly-ranked sites have very strong SEO and often hit the first page of the SERPs.
Benefits of SEO for Small Businesses
- Cost effective digital strategy; the sooner you get it going, the sooner you begin seeing results
- Increase the number of people seeing your business in SERPs, and result in increased traffic
- Brand recognition, hitting the first page of SERPs in your industry grows your reputation
- Customer traffic going up increases the chances of conversion (making sales)
- Expand your area of doing business without physically opening new locations
Two billion people use Facebook every single month. That’s a lot of potential customers, and due to the way that Facebook works, paid advertising is close to the only way to reach a large number of them with your advertising. But what’s in it for your small business?
You can’t reach as many people on Facebook organically, which means through un-promoted posts. Facebook only shows your posts to some of your page followers, and with the sheer volume of posts on their platform, it’s difficult to get your posts seen without purchasing ads.
One of the major advantages of Facebook ads is that regular people can use them. You don’t have to be a marketing executive to create a campaign, set your goals, and monitor results with robust analytics. Creating that campaign and setting those goals is the tough part; the tools you need to carry it off are built-in to your Facebook page.
How it works
Whether you are trying to build brand recognition, generate leads, or make conversions, a Facebook advertising goal is available to help you make it happen. It’s as “plug and play” as advertising on social media gets, though it does require maintaining a Facebook page.
Facebook allows you to target your advertising so that your ads go to the kinds of people you seek. Their sophisticated algorithms give their users information they want to see, leveraging them to advertise to people who are looking for your business is just smart.
Benefits of Facebook Ads for Small Businesses
- 2 billion potential customers a month, but specifically targeted ads go to those in the demographics you choose making your advertising more efficient
- Targeted ads increase your positive results
- Expand your reach and get your content in front of more people than you can organically
- See the immediate results of your ad spend reach with robust analytics
- Low minimum monthly budgets suitable for small businesses
Social Media Marketing
Facebook is considered the social media giant, but by no means is it the only titan of small business digital marketing strategies. While they have 2 billion users a month, there are 3.499 billion active users of social media.
What is social media marketing? It’s posting videos, texts, or images that raise awareness of your brand with your target audience. For many small businesses, social media brings the power of paid advertising to national and worldwide audiences at affordable prices.
It’s the equivalent to advertising on network television in the past, instead of simply using a newspaper ad. Often, it’s far less expensive to execute a social media digital marketing campaign than a beautiful newspaper ad ever was.
Social media is also interactive. Unlike advertising of the past, you can build relationships with potential and current customers, answer questions, and get immediate feedback from your audience. That allows a good social media marketing team to make an impression, and create a unique brand identity at a low price point.
How it Works
From platforms like Pinterest and Instagram to the video giant Youtube to short-form content specializers like Twitter and TikTok, social media covers a lot of ground. It also covers all age groups, races, geographic locations, and interests. If you are marketing to human beings, you can target them on social media and benefit your business.
Create engaging content that is useful to your target audience, keep it upbeat, funny, or serious, depending on your niche. Make sure that your content is shareable, short, and contains a call to action to produce as many conversions as possible.
Simply live streaming parts of your day, or teaching your followers important information on live video is a good thing to add to your social media marketing. Up to 80 percent of people who responded to a survey stated they’d rather watch a video on a topic than read a blog. Just keep in mind that video quality is extremely important, poor quality video isn’t worth making.
Benefits of Social Media for Small Businesses
- Most social media is visual, either images or video, which more people like to get information from than written content
- Reach anyone in your target audience, because nearly all age groups and demographics use social media
- Create relationships with current customers and prospects
- Build up brand recognition, reputation, and your unique brand identity
- Cost-effective marketing
The goal of content marketing isn’t to sell things directly with your content. Though when done correctly, it does generate more conversions. Quality, authority content that has value for the reader brings more people to your site and generates more shares and engagements. By doing so, it is an extremely effective strategy for small businesses.
You position your brand as an expert source of information for people looking specifically for your service, your advice, or what you are selling. It seems logical to try to make money or a sale on every article you have on your site, but passing up that monetization opportunity to create content that teaches or informs people, serving their needs, reaps dividends.
High quality, authority content moves you up in SERPs, improves your site ranking, and is part of great SEO. Quality backlinks, links to your content from other sites, are important. Non-monetized content is likely to get more backlinks, as other businesses are more likely to avoid linking to content that competes with them for sales.
How it Works
Your content should relate directly to what your business is about. As experts in your field, you can share information with value to your target audience and others that will bring traffic to your site and raise your ranking with search engines.
Write your content with SEO in mind, using high-ranking (often searched) keywords and thoroughly covering your topic. However, do not “stuff” keywords into your work; it hurts you just as bad to have too many keywords in your piece. Content is king, as the SEO saying goes. Search engines work tirelessly to make using SEO techniques without offering real value to the reader difficult or impossible to pull off.
Don’t limit yourself to written articles. Content marketing using video, images, slide shows, and interactive media like quizzes can be very effective. Blog posts, social media campaigns, and embedded social media posts all have a home in your digital marketing strategy, and content marketing is the base for all of them. This point is where we get into using your digital marketing strategies together.
Benefits of Content Marketing for Small Businesses
- Improves SEO for your site, can draw backlinks
- Builds brand authority and awareness and consumer confidence
- Helps increase traffic to your site
- Is the basis for a comprehensive digital marketing strategy
- Drives conversions
Better Together: Combining Digital Marketing Strategies for Small Business Success
All of these work better when put together into a comprehensive plan. Combining your digital marketing strategies may look a lot like this:
Build a comprehensive portfolio of quality content marketing pieces extremely specific to your brand, including video, blog posts, and authority posts, teaching or informing your audience. Publish content regularly on your website, and update published content as well
Use SEO strategies, including your content marketing and monetized content (content intended to make a sale or generate a lead) to drive traffic to your website. Drawing others writing about your industry to your high-authority content full of useful information shores up your SEO with natural, high-quality backlinks.
Use your social media platforms, including paid Facebook ads, to share your highly engaging content pieces with your target audience. Use call to action buttons in your social media advertising that drives visitors to your website, or collects information like email addresses for leads
Build a relationship with your audience on social media, and pay attention to them. Listen to what they are asking, saying, and complaining about and address that in your content marketing pieces.
Use your social media to inform your content marketing strategies and topics, creating an even more comprehensive portfolio of high-quality articles and information.
The Bottom Line
Every small business can benefit from a comprehensive digital marketing strategy. The three main strategies that any brand can use for cost-effective marketing are SEO, content marketing, and social media marketing, including Facebook ads. Used together, they’re even more effective.
While it may seem that digital marketing is a huge task that is highly complex, creating a plan of action based on the actions outlined in this piece is not. Your business deserves the benefits of efficient and targeted marketing, and it is possible to do using these techniques.