Like never before, small businesses face challenges from competitive markets, evolving customer expectations and dynamic economic conditions. The reason? Everything has been digitized, and business is no exception. For this reason, business owners must embrace digital marketing.
Digital marketing isn’t something reserved for large companies with huge budgets. With the right plan, smaller business can thrive in a digital environment and promote themselves even on a global scale. Let’s take a better look into what digital marketing tools and methods are available out there, for small businesses.
What is digital marketing?
In the past, marketers focused on channels such as print, radio, and television to win customers and build brands. Although businesses still profit from traditional marketing channels, they can often save time and money by developing a digital strategy. These days digitally is more important.
Digital marketing includes the use of digital media including the internet, social media, mobile apps and text-based messaging to build brand awareness and authority. Additionally, tactics such as influencer marketing, content marketing, and content automation can help business owners and marketing professionals achieve their goals.
Build a strong online platform
To begin with, you definitely need to create a website to showcase your products and services. Make sure you give it a functional design that quickly supplies visitors with vital information about your business. Additionally, format the content for your business website in ways that will captivate the attention of your audience.
Making the right type of content can be tricky. The most logical method is to analyze your business and discover what content is relatable to your industry. Content can vary, it can be videos, articles, surveys, giveaways. For example, you can publish free tutorials related to your business, on your official page. We’ll get more into that a bit later.
A website is not enough, especially when we consider the social networks of today. Start a Facebook fan page, official Twitter and Instagram profiles, consider using YouTube. Keep in mind that there are many social networks out there and you don’t have to use all of them. Focus on the ones your clients use the most.
Search engine optimization is absolutely necessary
Your digital marketing strategy should include the use of search engine optimization (SEO), a collection of tactics used to achieve a high position in search engine results for your website. The higher your business pops up in search results, the better. That makes your business more visible.
Generally speaking, SEO begins with the selection of relevant keywords and phrases that search engine users will use to find your business. As you publish content, send emails and engage social media users, you need to naturally integrate such search terms to maintain a consistent theme for your brand.
Know your audience and give them content
Successful digital marketing strategies depend on an accurate identification of your target market. When you understand the attitudes, behaviors, and demographics of your prospective customers, you can craft custom messages that will inspire them to buy from your business rather than from a competitor.
As you create and publish content, make sure that it contributes value to your audience by solving their problems, teaching them how to use products and supplying with the information they need to make good decisions.
Social networks are your playground
Digital marketers should never underestimate the potential of a social media marketing strategy. By leveraging social networks in ways that encourage sales without constantly making sales pitches, marketers can build relationships and drive website traffic.
After all, social media users visit their favorite sites to socialize. When you present a human, social character for your brand, you develop trust. Therefore, you should spend time participating in online discussions, responding to comments and sharing content that will educate and entertain.
Don’t forget about email marketing
Despite the problems with spam and the popularity of alternative communications channels, email still offers marketers opportunities to win customers and grow sales. You can not only use email to connect with your customers, but you can also build email lists to make sure relevant people receive your newsletters and promotions.
Automated email marketing tools give you an easy way to manage your lists, segment your audience and create personalized messages that get results. Such tools also provide you with valuable analytics data that you can use to optimize your email campaigns.
Stay in touch with your customers
Email, social media, and mobile text messaging give you many opportunities to remind your customers about your business and brand. Always follow up on every sale and make sure you ask for feedback.
When you learn about the experiences of your customers, you can find ways to make buying from you an easier and more satisfying process. Additionally, your attentiveness to your customers will make them feel valued and appreciated. It’s that extra effort that can make a difference. Sending a follow-up email to a customer can result in a new sale.
As you get busy, you might feel as though you lack the necessary time to assess the performance of your digital marketing strategies. Still, you want to make sure that you spend your time and effort doing the things that generate the best results.
You don’t have to track everything you’ve posted online manually, that would be impossible. Use free tools such as Google Analytics and the built-in reporting tools offered by your social networks to find out what content types and topics get the most clicks and shares.
Once you’ve developed a strategy, apply it
Businesses of every size can benefit from digital marketing. For the most part, the practice offers a low-cost way to grow your company. Also, you can scale your digital strategies so that they can evolve with your growth.
What we covered here are digital marketing essentials. Apply them to create a consistent and valuable online presence for your brand. As you work, you will find that digital marketing is crucial to the success of a business.
Having a marketing strategy and applying it regularly will make your business profitable and stable in the long run. Just remember, planning takes more time than execution, and consistency is key. Big ideas for small business create a solid foundation for your long-term success.
About the author:
Josh McAllister is a freelance technology journalist with years of experience in the IT sector. He is passionate about helping small business owners understand how technology can save them time and money. Find him on Twitter @josh8mcallister
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