5 Ways to Use Digital Marketing to Grow Your Small Business
Digital marketing is a must for small businesses today, and it can take many forms. Compared to traditional forms of marketing, such as radio, TV or print ads, digital marketing can cost less and be more efficient to plan, execute and update. Plus, you can track how effective your tactics are and measure what types of marketing messages resonate with your target audiences.
Here are five essential areas to focus on:
1. Choose the Most Relevant Social Media Platforms to Reach Your Prospects
Social media presents a huge marketing opportunity for your business, because it’s where your customers likely spend much of their time. Utilizing social media allows you to connect directly with your target audience, to spread the word about your business, drive traffic to your website and ultimately increase leads and sales.
The ever-increasing number of social platforms today can feel overwhelming when you’re first starting out. To keep your efforts manageable, focus on one or two platforms, depending on where your audience is likely to be. If you have a business-to-business (B2B) company, a professional networking site might make the most sense, for example. And when it comes to content, post regularly, including relevant photos and videos, actionable tips, quotes and fun facts related to your business that your viewers will value and share.
2. Create an Email Marketing Strategy
Email marketing has long been a tried-and-true, cost-effective way to build and nurture relationships with your customers, but it’s experiencing a bit of a renaissance thanks to the ability to customize messages and target prospects. Here are three keys to email marketing success:
- Personalize messages whenever possible, whether it’s with a personal note or by simply including a customer’s name or business in the email.
- Focus on Mobile. Another reason for the increased interest in email marketing is the ability for consumers to access email on the go using their smartphones. With that in mind, making sure your emails are designed to display well on mobile phones can help encourage your customers to open your messages.
- Create a Compelling Message. Keep the content short and direct so your prospects immediately know what you’re offering and include a specific call to action that compels them to take the next step.
There are many email marketing apps on the market today that make it easy to manage every aspect of an email campaign, from design and mailing, to tracking performance and managing subscriber data. Some even offer plans free of charge, which is a great way to get started using the basic functionality.
3. Optimize Your Website to Rank in Search Engines
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of improving your website to help it rank higher on results pages, which helps increase the number of visitors to your site and improves the visibility of your business. The primary means of boosting SEO is to deliver quality content that contains the top keywords your target audience uses to search for your product or service. And if that great content attracts links to it (known as “backlinks”) from other high-traffic, reputable sites, then that can help your site’s ranking improve even further.
One key to SEO is to talk about your products and services the way your customers do, using phrases that they are likely to type into a search engine. For example, instead of “flotation device,” think “life jacket.”
4. Test and Learn With Online Advertising
With paid online ads, you can reach a large, targeted audience for a fraction of the cost of ads placed in traditional media. Options include pay-per-click ads that appear in search results and display ads that appear on website banners and other strategic internet locations. You can also place low-cost targeted ads on various social media platforms. Test and learn with different headlines, calls to action and keywords to see what drives the best results.
Online business directories and listings such as Google and Canada One are another form of online advertising for your business. They generally have high visibility with online viewers and they’re free, so it’s probably worth your time to claim your listings and review and update your business information. Be sure to include a link to your website so viewers can learn more about your company. Any links to your content from other sites may also benefit your site’s SEO.
5. Encourage Customer Reviews
Online reviews are a powerful form of word-of-mouth advertising and are an important component of every small business marketing plan. Consider these steps to help you use online reviews to your best advantage:
- Encourage satisfied customers to share their positive experience, whether on social media, through online business directories, a poll or survey on your website, or other online review platforms you choose for your business.
- Check your reviews regularly and respond to all comments quickly. This lets your customers know that they’ve been heard and that you care.
- Just as much as word-of-mouth advertising can help your business, it can also hinder it – depending on what the reviewer has to say. If you receive a negative review, respond in a polite, professional manner, and publicly ask the customer to contact you offline. If you’re able to resolve the issue, post a follow-up comment briefly describing the outcome. Your efforts will help protect your reputation, retain existing customers and reassure potential ones.
A well-thought-out and carefully executed digital marketing plan can put your business growth on track, but it also has risks. For example, a competitor could sue you claiming you used their advertising ideas in your campaign, or that an ad or piece of content you published disparaged their product or service. General liability insurance can help protect your business from the costs of alleged advertising injuries, which include libel, slander, invasion of privacy, copyright infringement and stealing of advertising ideas.
Find an broker today to make sure you have the protection your business needs.