11 digital marketing tips and strategies for small businesses
If you are new to the world of digital marketing and have just set up your own business it can be hard to decide where you should start. To help I have listed out 11 digital marketing tips that you can use to help grow your small business.
As a small or local business, using digital marketing is one of the biggest keys to success. This article will give you an understanding of how you can take advantage of digital marketing to work as a driving force for your business.
A list of 11 digital marketing tips for small businesses.
Stand out – Don’t be a ‘copy’ business
Website – Keep it simple – Get the basics right
Create useful content
Don’t rely on marketing channels – create your marketing system
Outsource if you can afford it
1- Stand out – Don’t be a ‘copy’ business
There are 1000’s of businesses both new and old that are exact copies of their competitors; these businesses often rely on their owners contacts or being an established brand as means of survival. It is crucial you don’t fall into this trap. In the digital world you need to make your business unique to your competitors. If you currently don’t have a unique factor that separates you from your competitors, it is crucial you find one. This is what makes your business special and it is what will allow you to become an industry leader.
The one hour response allows them to stand out from their competitor below.
Some examples of unique factors your business can have over its competitors:
Service – Do you offer extra services no one else does, this could be – training, consultations, guaranteed speed of service etc.
Distribution – Are you the sole supplier in your area of a product or service? Do you partner with a company as their local supplier?
Customer Relationship – Do you offer more for your customers than anyone else? This can be as simple as sending out Christmas cards or be as full on as offering free one hour consultations.
Price – This is a tricky one as it is easy for a competitor to replicate, however are you the best value for money? Or even just the cheapest in your area. If so this is something to talk about!
2 – Website – Keep it simple – Get the basics right
Internet users (your potential customers) are becoming less and less patient with bad websites. This includes load time and user experience. It is crucial your website loads fast and it is easy for your potential customers to use.
You can test your website for free, Google actually offers PageSpeed Insights https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/ which will show you ways you can reduce the loading time of your website.
UX is also crucial, if users have a negative experience on your website this will reflect as a negative on your company, in my basic SEO guide i give some tips on how to improve UX here in the beginner’s guide to SEO lesson 6.
3 – Create useful content
Create content that is useful for your potential customers not content that just shows off your business!
Businesses both big and small fall into the error of only promoting the things they have done well such as; winning an award, opening a new office or hiring more members of staff. This type of content isn’t bad when it is limited; however creating content that is useful for your potential customers will be much more beneficial.
For example, if you are an accountant creating beginners guides about tax returns will help out your potential customers and help promote yourself as a local expert in the field.
Key tips for content
Create content that helps your audience for free (guides,eBooks, checklists)
SEO your content, it is an excellent way to rank for more keywords and appear in more Google search results
Use your content to showcase how you are an expert in your field.
4 – Don’t rely on marketing channels – Create a marketing system
A huge mistake businesses make is only relying on one marketing channel. In the past few years we saw businesses that focused solely on organic Facebook traffic take a huge hit when the algorithm changed.
This will happen to any business that focuses heavily on just one marketing channel! It is crucial that you focus on your marketing system and then use channels to get your potential customers on your marketing system. The benefits of creating a marketing system is that if one marketing channel loses its shine, you can replicate your marketing campaigns on to any other channel.
To help you understand below is a basic marketing system breakdown an accountant can use:
Freebie to get contact information from potential leads (eBook “Beginners guide to tax returns” Free to download in return for an email)
Email/content to help nurture these leads in proving you are an expert in your field (Weekly emails about how small businesses can manage their finances better)
Special offer which gets them to use your business for the first time (70% off first month payroll service)
Upsell/offer extra services to generate more profit for your business (Taxation & accounts preparation services)
Recurring services/subscription based service which helps monthly revenue for your business (Monthly payroll service at full price & yearly taxation services)
High ticket item only a small % of customers will buy but will give you the most profit (Full accounting services for business – pensions, payroll, taxation etc)
Creating a system as such allows you to not rely on one main marketing channel but in fact be able to promote your business across a range of channels. The main benefit of creating a marketing system is over time you will be able to find the cheapest cost per conversion for each channel and use that data to scale your campaigns effectively.
5 – Facebook Ads
Currently one of the most popular marketing channels for small businesses is Facebook Ads. This is for good reason, Facebook Ads are considerably one of the most cost effective methods of marketing.
Facebook Ads also offer the most detailed targeting out of any of the marketing channels. If you are a small business you can pretty much target your exact perfect customers via Facebook’s audience creation.
If you have never used Facebook Ads, it is certainly worth creating a free Facebook Business account here https://business.facebook.com/ and having a look into how detailed you can be with your audience targeting.
One key tip I will give you is that if you have a physical store/only work in certain areas, you can actually target your ads via postcode. This can be perfect for local services such as hairdressers.
An example of Facebook’s postcode targeting
6 – Google Ads
Google Ads can be a useful marketing channel for your small business.
Google have actually created some tips & resources for using Google Ads which you can find here – https://ads.google.com/intl/en_uk/home/resources/basics-online-marketing/
A basic breakdown of how Google Ads should be used in your business is as follows:
Set your budget (remember marketing is an investment not a cost, you can increase your budget once you find success)
Choose your keywords – same as SEO keywords, it is crucial your business is found for the correct terms
Create strong messaging in your ads – As mentioned previously, if you are just another copy business you may not get much success from Google Ads, find what makes you unique and promote this in your ads.
Promote your lead magnet/offer in your ad. Using the marketing system from above, you can use Google Ads to get potential customers onto stage 1 of your marketing system or even attempt to get them using your service straight away with a unique offer.
As with Facebook Ads, Google Ads shouldn’t be your only source of marketing, use it as a channel to promote your marketing system.
7 – Local SEO
Local SEO should be seen as free marketing for your business and is one of the most underutilized marketing channels for all businesses.
Google My Business listings are often not even claimed nevermind optimised! It is crucial you optimise your listing as this will allow you to appear more in relevant searches, this is especially true if you are a physical location (Bar, Restaurant etc). Read more about optimising your Google My Business here…..
Building local links will also help you appear higher for location based search terms. You can build local links from:
Local newspaper websites
Sponsor local events (Schools,Youth Clubs etc.)
Enter local awards
Collaborate with local bloggers
Partner with local businesses
8 – Email Marketing
Email marketing is making a big comeback, businesses both big and small are seeing how effective it can be.
You can build your email marketing list from step one from your marketing system (your lead magnet) this will allow you to send emails to your potential customers.
Using a site such as Mailchimp can make email marketing easy and simple, although before you get started you may want to learn some email marketing skills, Hubstop actually offer a free certification on Email Marketing which you can find here https://academy.hubspot.com/courses/email-marketing
– Hubspot Email Marketing Course information
9 – Local partnerships
It is extremely difficult for you to compete with the big players in your industry alone, this is why creating local partnerships is crucial.
Partnering with another local business allows you to share each other’s customer base, this means more potential customers for you.
This can be done by both digital and physical businesses. If you are a graphic designers partner with a local print company and recommend eachothers services, if you are a restaurant owner using a local wine supplier can both make your business unique and improve your relationship with the local community.
In the modern world, partnerships don’t even have to necessarily be local, especially if you are a digital business, try and find businesses in a similar industry that are a similar size to yours and see if you can create a partnership deal.
10 – Automation
When you are small it is easy to do everything yourself and sometimes you can often be glad for the work; however it is crucial that you bring in automation as quickly as possible. As your business grows the more tasks you do manually the more time you spend and the higher the chance of error.
Think about what you spend the most amount of time doing in your business and think of a way you can add some automation into this task to make it less time consuming.
11 – Outsource (if you can afford it)
When you are a small business or even working alone, it can be hard to justify spending money on getting someone else to do the work, however there are some amazing freelancers who can complete certain tasks to a much higher standard that you could for a cost effective price.
Outsourcing will allow you to focus on what you are best at. If you want to create a good ad campaign but are not the best writer it would be worth paying a freelancer to write your campaign for you, it is important you see this as an investment. As the work will be produced at a better quality there is a higher chance that you will get more customers from it.
In conclusion, these 11 tips should help your small business get started with digital marketing and allow you to start creating your own digital marketing strategies.
If you have any questions about anything mentioned in this, feel free to contact me here firstname.lastname@example.org