Small businesses help boost the economy through innovation, customized services and job creation. These businesses are also competing with larger companies in the digital universe to offer online customer experiences. According to Statista, in 2021 over 2.14 billion people worldwide bought goods and services online, up from 1.66 billion just five years prior. Purchasing goods and services online is common practice. As such, it’s important to focus a portion of your small business marketing on digital tactics—it’s where your customers want to engage with you.
Five tips to use digital marketing to grow your small business
1. Set your small business marketing plan.
A solid and well-crafted marketing plan can not only grow your business but also holds you accountable. Your marketing plan should match your company goals and objectives to your marketing strategies while focusing on your defined target markets. Understanding your audience will help you create digital strategies that support their needs. Each customer is unique. Your online marketing strategies should account for their unique traits using customer segments (personas). As you craft your plan, map out your customer personas and tie your marketing strategies to each.
Pro tip: One way to keep track of your digital content as it relates to your marketing plan is to create a content calendar which serves as the framework of what your business publishes across all of your marketing channels.
2. Use email marketing campaigns to connect with your audience.
Email marketing is not dead; in fact, it has one of the highest success rates compared to other marketing tactics. Email marketing facilitates personal connections with your audience and gives you the opportunity to connect with your existing customers on an ongoing basis (no algorithms to compete with here—either they choose to open your message or they don’t). According to HubSpot, 80% of business leaders believe that email marketing amplifies customer retention. Nearly 60% of respondents of Hubspot’s State of Email Marketing survey said that marketing emails influence their purchasing behavior.
Connecting with your audience through email helps your brand expand its reach. One of the many benefits of email marketing is that you can create targeted messages that provide a personal touch. Examples of targeted messages:
- Welcome email
- Happy birthday email
- Customer support emails
- Thank you emails
- Emails directed to specific customers within a product or service group
Pro tip: If you are hesitant to get started with email marketing for your small business, there are many resources to help. You can work with an agency to walk you through the process, get your email strategy established and manage the execution of your emails. You can also use templates provided by third-party email marketing software companies such as Constant Contact, MailChimp or SendGrid. These platforms offer options for list management and metrics which are imperative for email marketing success.
3. Prioritize your website
It’s simple, if you don’t have a website, you’re nonexistent in the eyes of many customers. Most people research online before they make a purchase. Consider the following:
- 81% of retail shoppers conduct research online before buying
- When B2B buyers are considering a purchase, only 17% of them meet with potential suppliers
Your website is the key factor in providing the information your prospects are looking for; it enables you to showcase your brand whenever someone may be looking. Websites help grow your business and provide credibility to your brand.
Forbes outlines seven great reasons to prioritize a website. I already mentioned credibility above—in addition, your website should work harder for you by
- Showcasing your brand
- Increasing your chance of getting leads (new business)
- Providing organic traffic through search engines
- Reduce the amount of time spent on 1:1 customer service (i.e., automation, chatbots, FAQs found online)
- Highlighting recent announcements and updates
- Serving as your digital ‘home’ where you can direct all email, social media or digital ad traffic back to
Pro tip: Conduct a digital audit of your website. Use Google analytics and other metrics to understand how users are currently interacting with your website, where you can update or change out content, and how your current website leads process works.
4. Optimize your content for SEO
Search engine optimization is not just about making your website more visible to search engines, it’s also about creating a better user experience when customers search online for your products or types of services. This includes social media channels.
If you optimize your website for conversions, you focus on guiding visitors towards a specific goal. When people visit your website, you want to leave a lasting impression and encourage a connection. The key to driving traffic to your website is to provide valuable content and plenty of opportunities for visitors to convert. Ultimately, it’s about serving their pain points—will your website or social media channels show up in search and will the content that appears help your customers answer questions or find solutions?
Pro tip: To get started, check out our tips for keyword research and SEO where we provide you with keyword templates, starter tips and tools. You can use these SEO suggestions for website and social media content throughout the year.
5. Create a strong social media presence
The importance of having a social presence cannot be overstated. Establishing social profiles gives you the opportunity to expand your audience reach and connect with your audience where they are – this is an important aspect of small business digital marketing. Get comfortable with where your customers prefer to interact with you online.
According to the Global State of Digital 2021 report, here is the breakdown, by age, of those who perform brand research using social media:
- 1% – 55.9% of people aged 16 to 34
- 3 – 42.5% of people aged 35 to 54
- 9 – 28.3% of people aged 55 to 64
Evaluate the social media usage of your target audiences (and personas!) Are you focused on the right channels for the right audiences? Are you using the social media channels that you are most comfortable with versus what your audience is most comfortable with?
Pro tip: Each company is different; your social media presence will depend on audience needs and brand resources. Once you’ve established the channels to match those needs, create a consistent cadence for content. For additional guidance on developing your social presence, check out our post: Falling into routine: Best tips for managing social media.
How to put digital marketing into practice
As a small business, you know the importance of being agile. Digital marketing may be something you can easily manage in-house or something you need additional resources to maintain. Here’s a quick checklist to consider as you map out next steps in digital marketing:
- What does your marketing plan look like?
- Who are your target audiences?
- Where do you want to focus your efforts (both in messages, product/service promotions and distribution/channel strategies)
- What resources do you have to carry out your plan?
- Are there barriers that prohibit you from executing marketing strategies you know will move your business forward?
Visit our tools and resources area of our website for templates and additional ideas to move forward with digital marketing. We are here to help when you are ready. Give us a call or fill out our contact form—our team is happy to help you on your small business digital marketing journey!