According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, 66% of entrepreneurs and small business owners are responsible for three or more areas of the business. These can include a variety of different areas including:
- Email management/marketing
- Running social media campaigns
- Building a marketing strategy
The common thread here is that many areas now revolve around digital channels over more traditional ones (like direct mail, radio or television).
Entrepreneurs and small businesses alike will benefit immensely from keeping a few essential digital marketing tips in mind.
Digital Marketing for Entrepreneurs
In the digital age, consumers have grown accustomed to interacting with brands over channels like social media and email on a regular basis. While social media is continuing to grow daily, 72% of consumers prefer to communicate with businesses via email instead of through channels such as Facebook Messenger and Twitter or Instagram Direct Messages.
Sure, social media is an essential part of a small and medium business (SMB) marketing strategy, but it’s crucial to take into consideration all the pieces of the marketing puzzle.
The Importance of a Small Business Website
With more individuals taking on the role of entrepreneur, more products and services are being made available to the public—and let’s face it—a brand really is nothing without a small business website to direct clients to.
Sure, word of mouth is excellent, but with more people turning to the internet to research, if you don’t have a small business website, then it’s like you don’t even exist.
Small business websites hold several roles, including…
- Giving consumers a place to learn about you and your brand, products, or services
- Giving them a channel to initiate conversation—such as a contact us page or a chat bot
- Having a place to funnel prospective consumers through your sales process—such as landing pages
Small business websites are also an excellent place for publishing your brand’s content. With 70% of customers preferring to learn about a brand through an article over an advertisement, user-focused content creation is vital.
In fact, 55% of marketers say that creating content for their blogs is their top inbound marketing priority.
Content creation is a vital piece of the digital marketing puzzle. Readers want to be informed, not sold to, so creating relevant, easily digested material is key for not only creating a level of trust between you and consumers, but for also giving yourself more authority in your niche.
Sharing your content on your small business website is an excellent starting point.
Once you’ve published it on your own digital property, there are other ways to share your content with prospective readers, including social media and through email marketing campaigns. When it comes to content creation, a regular creation schedule is key. By producing relevant, reader-focused content, your brand stays relevant in the mind of consumers—and they’ll trust you as the expert in your industry or niche.
Measuring the overall success of your marketing efforts is another vital piece of the digital marketing puzzle, and this can be done in several different ways.
With countless numbers of tools available to marketing teams, monitoring key analytics is an essential part of the marketing process. To know if your marketing efforts are paying off, you need to see positive trends amongst key performance indicators (KPIs) such as:
- Email deliverability rates
- Email open rates
- Email click-through rates
- Website page views
- Traffic distribution (from digital sources like social media, organic search, etc.)
- Average pages per session
- Social shares and engagement
Many analytics programs cater specifically to certain platforms like websites or email campaigns, so it’s essential to choose the right tools for your marketing needs. Use that data to make decisions about your marketing next steps.
Small Business SEO Terms to Know
With so many small business marketing tips out there, one of the most talked about topics revolves around SEO and how it can help build your business.
SEO, or search engine optimization, is the practice of optimizing your website and content so that it helps users find what they’re looking for and so that it ranks on major search engines, such as Google and Bing. SEO helps improve the chances of your content being seen organically, meaning you won’t have to pay to drive traffic to your site.
In order to understand small business SEO and make it work for your brand, there are a few essential terms that all marketers should understand.
A search query is a keyword or phrase that is entered into the search engine box. It’s what a user types in to find what they’re looking for. For example, if I am looking for a local real estate agent to help me sell my home, my search query might be, “realtor near me.”
Organic vs. Paid Search Results
When someone types in a keyword into the Google search bar, they are going to be presented with two main types of search results:
- Organic: These results are not sponsored in any way financially. They have been optimized to perform on their own, and their overall ranking will be determined by factors like the number of people who find their information useful.
- Paid: These results have been sponsored financially to show up earlier on in the search results. Typically, the first page of a search will have anywhere from two to three paid results, which will clearly be labeled as either “sponsored” or as an ad.
Internal, External, and Inbound Links
During content creation, an essential part of building site authority is by linking both to your own content and other high-ranking content created by others. It is also necessary to have other outside sources link to your content.
- Internal linking: this is the act of linking to your own content pages on your site.
- External linking: this is the act of linking to sources that are not your own.
- Inbound links: these are links from outside sources to the content on your website.
In search engine optimization, the most important of these three types of linking are inbound links. Someone links to a source for a reason—so the creator of that material is seen as an authority figure — the more quality inbound links that lead back to you, the better.
Small Business Local SEO
When a business is first starting, yes, they may want to jump online and get their brand known by the masses; however, they need to tighten their focus to their local market first.
When people go to Google something, nearly 46% of all search results are local. A good SMB marketing strategy focuses closely on local SEO. So what should small businesses focus on when it comes to this method of search engine optimization?
- Free listings in online directories: These listings are essential because these directories are where consumers head to first. Google My Business is an example of a must-utilize online directory.
- NAP Consistency – Name, address, and phone number: Including your name, address and phone number on not only your website but your social media profiles as well, is crucial. Some other information that should be included are your business’ hours and directions to your physical location, should you have one.
- Focus on customer reviews: Reviews are vital for any business, but when it comes to new or small businesses, these reviews are where potential consumers are headed to first. Anyone looking up your brand, product or services want to know if you are reliable and good at what you do. Reviews help to establish that fact without you having to sell yourself. Just remember, for everyone that leaves you a review, make sure you respond appropriately.
What to Include While Planning Your SMB Marketing Strategy
Creating an SMB marketing strategy takes time and a lot of planning, and if you fail to plan, your business can quickly go belly up. Building your small business marketing strategy means considering several different areas:
- Content Marketing: How are you getting your content out there? Will you be utilizing a blog or focusing on individual landing pages to your website?
- Email Marketing: Will you be using email to communicate with consumers regularly?
- Social Media Marketing: What platforms will you be taking advantage of?
These are only a few small of the many pieces of the digital marketing puzzle that a business will want to consider. For each marketing campaign, you’ll want to make sure you are outlining detailed goals.
If your first goal is to bring in new customers, plan it out. Some questions you may ask yourself include:
- What defines success?
- How many customers are you aiming for?
- Who is your ideal customer?
- What do you have to provide for them?
As a small business, it is crucial to plan out every campaign down to the last details and rushing this process will send your business spiraling.
Small Business Marketing Done Right
Small business marketing takes on a variety of different aspects, and while entrepreneurs like to take on as much of their own work as they can, sometimes you just need a little help.
The ultimate goal at Search Hermit is to help small businesses come out of their shells and be seen online. From search engine optimization to website development and marketing coaching, Carolyn Lyden helps companies to plan and execute it all.
Need help growing your small business? Here at Search Hermit, Carolyn offers several packages to cater to your individual needs. From one-time tasks to ongoing digital marketing projects, she can help. Contact Search Hermit today for more information.