The Digital Marketing Guide for Small Businesses

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By A Digital N.E.R.D

Establishing Your Brand Identity Online

Getting a new business off the ground can be very challenging. If you run a small business, you most likely have a limited budget to work with. Unlike big companies who have a surplus of funds at their disposal, small businesses often have more difficult obstacles to overcome in order to keep up with their larger competitors. One of the most important ways to spread the word about your small business is to get creative with your digital marketing strategy.

You’ve probably heard countless experienced professionals say that creating a strategy that utilizes both traditional and online marketing is the best method. Not well versed in digital marketing? That’s ok – neither are many new entrepreneurs. That’s why we’re here with a guide that is sure to help your small business achieve your desired goals.

Step 1: List Your Business

While online marketing may seem daunting, you can use it to your advantage. There are several platforms you can utilize to provide people information about your business. Just a few great options include Yelp, Yahoo! Small Business, and Google My Business.

Something as simple as listing your business name, hours of operation, phone number, address, and a small description online can do wonders. The more you increase your invisibility online, the easier it will be for customers to find you. If you use Google My Business, you will even be able to check out analytics, respond to comments, and post updates.

Step 2: Use Free Tools

Another great thing about using Google to market your business is that you have access to a number of free tools. If you’re a smart spender or have a limited budget, you will definitely want to take advantage of these, as they can help provide the right solutions for your strategy. For example, Google Analytics allows you to easily learn and analyze your web traffic. Google Voice offers convenient solutions for communicating with customers and potential customers. You’re probably familiar with Google Docs, Calendar, Drive, and Gmail, which are also all free to use.

As you adapt more to the online marketing world, you will begin to recognize which premium tools are worth the investment. Still, many experienced entrepreneurs continue using these free tools because they are so effective and beneficial.

Step 3: Social Media Is Your Best Friend

Facebook and other social media platforms have become increasingly popular for businesses as a social marketing tool, especially smaller companies. Not only can you create a social media page for your business for free, but you can significantly boost your customer base. After all, do you know anyone who doesn’t have a Facebook? Making a name for your business on social media platforms is one of the most effective ways to spread the word about your company and advertise promotions.

Depending on what type of products and services you offer, you will want to choose a few social media platforms based on where most of your potential customers spend their time.

If your target audience consists of both an older and younger crowd, it’s essential to think about how you will want to utilize multiple platforms to your advantage. For example, older folks are more inclined to use Facebook than Twitter, so you will want to draw their attention with a language that appeals to them on your Facebook business page. While you don’t want to sound like a different company on Twitter, we recommend you adjust your posts and promotions to also appeal to the younger side of your target audience. With a strong brand voice and creative approaches to your tone, you will see how much of an impact social media can have on your business.

When it comes to targeting businesses, a LinkedIn profile for your company can be exceptionally effective, especially if your company website is still under construction.

Step 4: Invest Money in a Quality Website

When it comes to online marketing, there are many free tools that you’ll find beneficial to your strategy. However, when making your company website, you do not want to take a cheaper route. Your business needs a website that not only attracts users but one that also functions properly and offers a great user experience.

If you prefer to create your own website instead of paying an expert to make it for you, we highly recommend using WordPress, Squarespace, or a similar option. Functionality is critical because if potential customers visit your site, but struggle to navigate it, they will lose interest and leave the site.  What’s worse is that this can lead to a high bounce rate, which will significantly damage your online presence over time. It’s key to launch a site that captures attention very quickly and maintains it.

The best way to do that is to ensure your site is:

  • Eye-catching
  • Easy to navigate (don’t require registration)
  • User-friendly
  • Quick to load

Additional tip: Save your users and yourself some time by creating an FAQ section. This way, you won’t be overwhelmed with calls or have to implement chatbots.

Step 5: Invest Time in SEO

Search engine optimization is the key to reaching a wider audience and increasing your visibility – and it’s especially helpful for small businesses. Grasping the concept of SEO may be complicated or even overwhelming at first. However, it’s a very cost-effective method that helps you establish credibility and trust with customers as well as search engines. The more credibility your site and its content have, the more likely you will be to rank highly on SERPs (search engine result pages) and increase your conversions.

Incorporating SEO into your digital marketing strategy is worth the effort and has a long-lasting impact. While SEO trends change frequently and search engines occasionally change their algorithms, it is well worth it to stay on top of the changes or outsource the job to a professional in the field.

Step 6: Network

Forming relationships with other business professionals is a critical component to helping your company get noticed. You have probably already reached out to your existing contacts and promoted your business on your personal social media page, which is a great start. You may also want to seek out influencers that can help you further promote your company. You don’t need to partner with a ridiculously famous person for your business to benefit. We recommend trying to find someone with a large following who fits into your niche. From a simple picture of an influencer using or wearing what you sell to a YouTube video that they created describing their experience with your business, you can quickly gain numerous interested customers. Depending on your business and the influencer, he or she may request you to pay them or they may do it for free in exchange for your promotional products.

Step 7: Blog It Up!

Running a business can be incredibly time-consuming, but if you have spare time and are good with words, you might want to think about creating a blog to promote your products and services. Your business represents the useful things you have to share with the world, so why not write about them? Blogs are an excellent way for customers and potential customers to learn more about you and your business, making it much easier to establish and grow trust.

Creating a blog for your business also gives you the chance to work with other companies and blogs. It’s common for companies to write blogs for other companies and vice versa. Blogging is also a great way to get a better grasp of SEO. You can even get other people to write your posts for you if your blog succeeds enough.

Paid Advertising – Is It Worth It?

Small business owners tend to consider PPC (pay-per-click) advertising when they can’t afford to wait for their organic approach to pay off or when their efforts aren’t showing results.

While PPC is pricey, especially if you have the limited budget most small businesses have, the plus side is that you only pay when people click on your ad and pull up your website.

PPC will also give you the opportunity to:

  • Track clicks
  • Target a specific audience
  • Test new keywords

Takeaways

We highly recommend the tips and techniques in this guide, especially if you’re new to digital marketing. Once you become more well-versed, you’ll have the knowledge and experience to determine what strategies are best for your business and what’s worth investing in.

Every business is different. What’s right for one company may be the downfall of yours, which is why it’s crucial to utilize the right tools and invest your budget wisely. The digital world is always changing, which is what makes digital marketing so overwhelming at first. However, once you learn how to keep up, you will see how effective digital marketing can be.

Want to learn more about our Digital Marketing services? Contact our team at 323-387-3067 or schedule a complimentary consultation here.

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