A digital marketing strategy is an important part of the overall marketing mix of a business regardless of its size and whether or not it’s doing business online.
Small business marketing for a local company can include many offline local advertising methods, but it needs to also include a healthy portion of digital marketing strategies in order to maximize sales in today's economy. A small business that is doing most or all of its business online needs to embrace a digital marketing strategy that helps online users see it.
There are several main areas of online marketing that are of interest to a small business. Some of them are more important to local, offline businesses, while others are more effective for those exclusively operating online. Many businesses engage in multiple areas of small business marketing on the internet.
What Digital Marketing Strategy Is Best for My Small Business?
Take a look at your customers and identify where they spend their time online. Your digital client base might be a different audience than you’re used to targeting. Your budget will be an important factor when deciding which digital marketing strategies to pursue.
Don’t be afraid to test out a few different methods when deciding which digital marketing strategy is best for your business. Take a look at the results to see which methods are the most effective with your client base, and make sure you’re getting a positive return on investment (ROI). Some strategies can be difficult to measure, but be consistent with your method of measurement—one suggestion is to compare the company’s revenue during certain marketing efforts to the revenue generated while running other marketing campaigns.
You should revisit your marketing plan at least once a year to make sure it’s up-to-date and still meets your business needs.
Search Engine Marketing
This portion of marketing is critical for a small business. It gives you a chance to compete with larger companies by being more visible in search engine results. Since people use search to find products both online and locally, it is important that your company place high in search results for words that relate to what you are selling. Professional internet marketing firms offer this service through search engine optimization (SEO), which can help your website rank higher on search engine results pages through methods such as:
- Keyword research and volume
- Internal link building
- Optimizing content to produce high-quality, relevant information
Local Search Marketing
Location-based marketing includes website optimization for search results but also integrates a search engine's maps function. This is especially true with Google, where your business can be listed with mapping and address information, giving the prospective customers what they need to visit your establishment. Your phone number and website address can also be listed. Customer service will often be available to help someone decide if they are interested in your product or service.
This strategy revolves around giving prospective customers information about your product or service, as well as information in general. Everyone is trying to sell, but those that can inform are more likely to get sales. People will attribute a certain level of expertise to a company, and this instills confidence in the consumer.
In the past, content marketing was often executed through printed brochures and guidebooks. Today, however, the strategy relies on delivering valuable, relevant articles and information on your company’s website that advise and attract potential customers, and serve as a call to action.
Social Media Marketing
This type of marketing can be tricky. Everyone talks about social media, but the truth is, it can be difficult for companies to integrate social media into their business. The type of media used, as well as how it is used, is dependent upon the type of business you have. For some companies, being in touch with their customers and giving them breaking news can be an important element of success.
Other businesses, such as a local restaurant, have seen success using social media by letting customers know of the latest specials and new additions to their menu. The most important aspect of social media is to use it to strengthen your customer base to achieve repeat sales.
Trying to spread yourself across a wide net of social media platforms can be difficult for small business owners with limited resources. Instead, figure out which online channels make the most sense for your business and the customers you’re trying to reach. Are you targeting professional clients? LinkedIn might be your ideal tool. Does your marketing have a strong visual aspect? Instagram could be the best fit for your business.
Social media marketing is about developing a relationship with your customers—not just constantly selling to them. Use the platform to listen and engage with your online clientele.
This form of marketing can be crucial to a small business’s online or offline success. Essentially, email marketing is promoting products and services electronically—through newsletters, updates, promotions, or general messaging—and is reliant on building a list of existing and prospective customers. This list of names and emails consists of people who are interested in your business, and you know this to be true because they have opted into this list themselves.
Perhaps they were offered future updates on products as well as coupons to sign up. As this list grows, it becomes more valuable. Many marketing professionals consider this a very important, long-term small business marketing strategy.
A consumer’s experience nowadays is largely driven through a mobile device—whether they’re searching for the product or company, doing a price comparison, or actually buying a product.
Mobile marketing is aimed at reaching customers through their smartphones or tablets by using mediums such as text messaging, social media, website, email, and apps. Businesses can take advantage of technology that can target clientele based on time or location, like sending customers a discount code when they enter a store.
Make sure your online presence and digital marketing strategy is mobile friendly as consumers are increasingly spending more time on their phones.
Pay-per-click (PPC) marketing is running online advertisements where the business only pays if the ad has been clicked on. There are many different types of online ads including the ones featured at the top and sides of a search, promotions that run before videos, or ads that show up in mobile apps or while browsing online.
Some benefits of PPC marketing are that the business only pays for results, and that ads can be targeted towards a specific geographic location.
The cost of PPC marketing can vary significantly depending on how much the company is willing to invest in advertising. Pricing is based mainly on keyword competition—popular keywords that have high competition will cost more.
The Bottom Line
Many online marketing strategies are outsourced, because unless you have time to dedicate it's difficult to stay on the multiple changes that transpire when it comes to strategy. With content and email marketing, you can do much of it yourself, but it never hurts to ask experts for strategy advice to help get you started.
If you have a small business, you need to take the above areas of digital marketing into consideration. Formulate a plan and combine it with your other marketing efforts. Some of these areas of marketing will be more important and effective, depending upon your business. You can have professionals help you or outsource if you don't have the manpower to handle marketing obligations in-house.