Every small business owner’s priority is getting customers. If you have a brick and mortar store, you’re starting out with signage, print ads and perhaps a postcard mailing. Since you offer a good product or service, you likely believe that word of mouth will work its magic and in a matter of time you customer base will grow. That’s a good beginning, but it’s not enough anymore; digital marketing is an important way for small businesses to generate leads.
Small businesses need to be creating a strong presence on social media and investing in online advertising. The ability to tailor messaging for a customized audience at every stage of the sales funnel makes online advertising a good use of your marketing dollar.
Let’s look at the benefits of digital marketing and the ways online platforms can be used to help grow your business.
Benefits of online marketing
If you’re selling your services online or working virtually, you don’t need to be restricted by geography or time zones. Using digital marketing techniques, you can reach a global audience in a way that’s cost-effective, scalable and measurable.
Key benefits of digital marketing include being able to:
- Transcend geographical boundaries or time restrictions
- Target the right audience at the right time—you’re able to personalize your communications and understand preferences
- Communicate with your prospects at every stage of the buying process
- Save money and reach more customers for less
- Get to know your audience and drive engagement to create brand loyalty. Get some inspiration from the power of customer loyalty schemes.
- Track and monitor responses to your marketing efforts easily and instantly
Getting started on digital marketing for small businesses
Online advertising can be intimidating. It can get complex and there are new terms and platforms. It’s easy to make mistakes, but you learn from them. Start small and monitor your campaigns. You control your budget and only pay when someone clicks on your ads.
Your customers are online
When people are interested in your business, they go to your website to learn about you. I also check out their LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram pages. I’m curious to see what people are posting in informal formats. I also look at reviews. Supporting local businesses has never been more important; 87% of consumers read online reviews before making a purchase–a growth of 6% from 2019 to 2020.
Find out what your competitors are doing online
If you’re doing online advertising, one of the metrics that you’ll be examining is competitor activity. We learn from our competitors–the quality of their content and whether or not they’re publishing a blog. Look at the quality and relevance of their images and if they’re using videos effectively. Pay attention to the overall quality of the website, the navigation and whether or not it provides enough description to answer your questions. What about the call to action? Is clearly visible so you can easily respond? How do they communicate their brand and what makes them unique? To really understand their overall brand, this is the time to take a tour of their social media sites to see how these contribute to their brand.
The importance of accessibility: About SEO and showing up in search
It starts with search and that means Google. If you have no online presence, you won’t be found and you can’t compete. You’ll need to learn about keywords and search engine optimization (SEO). Search engines work on the words or keyword phrases that you want people to use when searching for you in a search engine.
Identifying those keywords that fit your budget has become more challenging as more people enter into the online advertising space and the competition increases. It’s critical that you learn to use Google Adwords or another keyword tool. As prices for your keywords go up, you may want to choose longtail keyword phrases that will come at a lower price point and align with customers further down the sales funnel. These are the customers who are ready to make a purchase.
Learning to identify your target audience
Digital marketing allows us to engage with prospects. We can get to know them and their pain points to provide a solution. We use social media or blogs to start a conversation as we build a relationship with our customers.
Online advertising is cost effective
Small businesses and startups are always trying to achieve as much as possible through their marketing on a budget. Online ads can stretch your budget by allowing you to refine your target audience. Save money with online ads by excluding the demographic that would never buy from you. Compare that to print ads where we’re likely reaching a lot of people who have no interest in our services.
If you’re going to advertise on social media, do some research–select the platform that will work best for you and your brand. TikTok and LinkedIn reach very different demographics. This is a good time to be selective.
It’s time to kick off your digital marketing program!
Digital marketing strategies are affordable, measurable, accessible and endlessly adaptable. Getting started on social channels or doing online advertising can be intimidating, and there is always a learning curve. We help our clients take the guesswork out of digital marketing and develop customized campaigns that help them grow their businesses. Contact Top of Mind Marketing to help grow your business.