With nearly 87% of buyers beginning their product search online, understanding digital marketing as a small business is more important than ever.
Digital marketing is the promotion of brands or products through the internet and online mediums, such as web-based advertising, email, and social media. In the past few years, digital marketing has grown at a rapid pace and now ad spend on the internet outdoes ad spend on TV.
Digital marketing has many elements and every business will use them differently. It’s important to create a digital marketing strategy for your small business so you know how and why you’re using each element. These are a few key elements that make up a successful digital marketing strategy:
If you’re going to start using digital marketing, you have to have somewhere online to send customers when they click a digital ad, find you through organic search, or otherwise. According to WebFX, 95% of a person’s first impression of your brand is related to web design. It’s crucial to have a well-designed website with a seamless user experience (on both desktop and mobile) so that you can easily provide your customers with the information they need and meet your business goals. Google indexes your site based on a “mobile first” approach – meaning that the mobile user experience is now weighted more towards smartphone and tablet users than desktop computers.
Effective content marketing helps your business rank higher in search engine results and makes it easier for potential customers to find your products and services online. Your content should include quality keywords and key phrases that relate to what your customers are typing into a search engine. It should help answer their questions and include a convincing call-to-action (CTA) that makes it easy for the customer to purchase or engage with your business. 75% of search engine users don’t click past the first page, so optimizing your website’s content to rank you as high as possible is crucial to generating leads and revenue.
Part of content marketing, SEO is the process of improving the effectiveness of your website’s content. It’s important to consider SEO both on the page (content your customer will see on your website) and behind the scenes (content your customer may not see, but the search engine will, like meta tags). Use SEO to improve your rank in search results and drive more traffic to your site organically.
Social media allows you to actively engage with your customers, build brand awareness, and increase your reach. It’s estimated that by 2024, social media ad spending will rise to $225 billion and account for 26.5% of all advertising. Some of the most popular social media sites for businesses are Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and TikTok.
More than just sending purchase confirmations and shipping notifications, email can be used to engage with your customers before and after purchase to generate leads, improve brand loyalty and retention, and increase brand awareness. Forbes states that email marketing can earn your business $42 for every $1 invested, making it an incredibly cost-effective way to communicate with your target audience.
You can only manage what you measure. One of the most important parts of your digital marketing strategy is analytics, allowing you to monitor key performance indicators (KPI) for your business. An analytics platform, like Google Analytics or Google Console, can help you better understand your conversion rates, cost-per-lead (CPL), page views, and more. Use these metrics to evolve and better optimize your marketing over time.
Large companies and your competitors are likely already using digital marketing, and adopting it yourself can help put your business on a level playing field. Digital marketing benefits small businesses in the following ways:
When it comes to your marketing efforts, using analytics as part of your strategy will provide an understanding of what’s working, what’s not, and why. These measurable results offer incredible insights about your customer base and allow you to optimize your marketing to be most effective and meet your business goals.
Digital marketing makes it easier to communicate with your ideal customer. Especially via social media and email, you can serve the right content at the right time to the right people. For example, if you own a local plant shop, your ads may target people who are part of gardening groups on Facebook. Not only does this help you learn more about what your customers are looking for, it allows you to spend your marketing dollars on the customers who are most likely to engage with your business.
When you market your business online, you can communicate with a large audience in a broader geographic area quickly and efficiently. Digital marketing gives you the ability to meet ideal customers where they are, whether on their phone, in their email, or scrolling through social media.
It’s no secret that the internet makes everything move a little faster. Have a sale going on? Announcing a new product? Digital marketing allows you to get critical messages to your target audience fast, and allows them to respond just as quickly.
With a larger reach and the ability to target the right customers at the right time, digital marketing can help your marketing dollars go further. It is arguably the best tool for small businesses to generate a higher ROI, increase revenue, and achieve a lower cost per customer acquisition than traditional direct marketing and telemarketing.
Digital marketing isn’t a simple switch you turn on and off. It takes dedicated planning and experimentation to figure out what works for your business. Start small by creating a social media account, testing display ads through Google, or creating an email campaign for prospective customers.