Digital Marketing for Your Small Business

Marketing is all about connecting with your audience in the right place and at the right time. There are two main types of marketing that can help you reach consumers and take your small business to the next level.Traditional Marketing refers to any type of promotion, advertising or campaign that has a proven success rate. Methods of traditional marketing can include print advertisements in mediums like newsletters, billboards, flyers and newspapers.

Digital Marketing is an umbrella term for the marketing of products or services using digital technologies, mainly on the Internet, but also including mobile phones, display advertising and other digital mediums. Channels such as Google search, social media, email and a dedicated website help small business owners find and connect with consumers.

More and more these days, your current and potential customers are online via desktop computers, laptops or other mobile devices. Here are different types of digital marketing and how they can help your small business grow.

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Your Website

Increasingly, the World Wide Web is the first stop for a consumer looking for more information about a product or service. If you haven’t refreshed your site in a few years, it’s time for an upgrade. Do you have a clean, modern look? If not, invest some of your marketing budget and hire a pro to help out. Design is one aspect but you also need to configure the metadata of your site (title tags, descriptions, alt text, etc.) so you don’t impact search engine visibility.

Also of vital importance is having a website that is mobile-friendly. A recent study indicated that nearly 80% of local mobile searches end in a purchase.

In order to get found by local consumers, optimize your website with information like your local address and location-targeted keywords.

Social Media

A clear and comprehensive social media presence is almost required these days. Social media platforms are often where consumers initially research a company. Dennis Kirwan, CEO of Dymic Digital, writes in Forbes, “There are many reasons social media is essential for online marketing, but the most important has to do with its incredible ability to help create and cultivate brand trust, build a meaningful web presence, drive traffic and remain cost effective.”

Social media extends beyond creating content. It’s important to understand advertising options available and how to target your specific audience. If you don’t have the know-how or bandwidth, consider hiring a freelancer to launch and manage your accounts. Look within your organization for help as well. You might have a team member with social media skills or the desire to learn more. These days, there are endless easy ways to learn about social media and how it can help a small business. Online courses or webinars can give you the information you or your team needs to successfully use social media marketing.

Local Online Listings

Platforms like Google+, Yahoo, Yelp and Manta are local business directories. When you claim your page, you’ll have control over your profile. Add a link to your website, high-quality photos, directions, hours, email and any other important details consumers need to know about your business, products and services.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC)

Pay Per Click (PPC) is a tool to promote a business in the online world. You run advertisements on the Internet and how much you pay for that ad depends on how many people clicked on it. The best-known PPC platform is Google Adwords. With Google Adwords, you can advertise locally or globally and target ads to customers in certain countries, regions or cities — or within a set distance from your business or shop.

Email

First, you need email addresses – make it easy for customers to subscribe via your homepage, blog, Facebook page and wherever else your customers are active. Short and sweet is the key here – people might abandon a too-long subscribe form.

Content expert Kate Kiefer Lee writes in Forbes, “Send test emails to colleagues, or use a testing program to make sure your emails are going to look good on screens big and small. Testing reveals design mistakes before it’s too late, and testing programs can predict whether or not a campaign will get caught in a spam filter.”

Finally, don’t bombard subscribers with irrelevant content. Make sure you have a specific goal in mind for every email you blast out. For more information, check out How to Run an Email Marketing Campaign That Doesn’t Annoy Recipients.

Getting Started

Before you launch digital marketing initiatives, it’s important to identify your perfect customer. Who wants/needs what your offer? Drill down to the details like location, age, income, gender, etc. This will also help you set realistic and appropriate price points for your product or service.

It’s important to constantly test your digital marketing campaigns to determine if you’re getting the appropriate ROI for your efforts. Here are some solid resources to help you out as you plan and launch digital marketing plans:

How to Hire a Social Media Strategist

Small Business SEO Checklist – 8 Layman Steps for Success

30 Tips for Great Digital Marketing

The Best Email Marketing Software of 2017

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