DIGITAL MARKETING TIPS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
Whether you are in the process of trying to convert your ideas into actual business opportunities or already have a business, you need to use digital marketing to let the world know about your products and services. As highlighted in our earlier blogs, establishing a digital presence is extremely important. Keeping up with the digital trends that change every waking day seems like a daunting task. A strong online presence is important to give your brand visibility and establish yourself as a market leader in your field. This will in turn help you to build loyalty and to gain trust from your current and potential customers.
The digital space is evolving every day as more and more people now have access to a smartphone and internet. In fact, 97% of people learn about local businesses online more than anywhere else.
It is essential to also know how to track your Return on Investment (ROI) and the brand awareness; this can be done through analytics on digital marketing. One is able to see how many people saw and interacted with your brand on a daily basis. You are also able to track how many people bought products from your website and where the bulk of traffic is coming from and hence you know where to invest more time and marketing efforts. Digital marketing is also a must-have for promoting your products or services to people. You are able to know the demographics of your consumers therefore, it becomes easy to craft brand messages that fit your audience.
Local businesses, just like all other businesses, have suffered harsh economic effects. Businesses all over the world are struggling to stay afloat, balance their finances and keep their doors open during these tough economic times. The importance of marketing has been seen now more than ever, and marketers all over the world are spending hours on end to come up with new marketing strategies that will help businesses reach new markets. Small businesses are looking for the necessary opportunities to carry out their marketing strategies. With the lack of physical options, there has been more reliance on the digital landscape. The digital space has continued to provide value to small businesses with value and a space to increase their revenues.
If you are a small business owner and are new to the digital marketing landscape, worry not because, in this blog post, we cover the core elements of marketing for small businesses and also give tips that are cost-efficient for your small business. You can read on how to leverage the power of SEO to improve your Search Engine ranking as well as how to use Social media channels effectively to grow your brand, how to conduct market research and identify your target audience and how to craft appropriate marketing messages for them.
Core elements of small business marketing
In order to successfully develop your marketing strategy, you need to build your inbound marketing which is a business methodology that attracts customers by creating valuable content and experiences tailored to them. This ultimately sets you up to attract new clients and eventually grow your business. It increases your organic traffic, (people finding you through their own internet search, here you do not use paid ads or promotions, it solely depends on your SEO and how effectively you are able to use it)
Here are some of the top core elements of small business marketing;
- Email tools
- Social media accounts
Your website is the first place that your customers and potential customers will first visit when they come to purchase anything from you. Your customers will automatically form an opinion about your website and your products. Having an attractive website is an asset to your business, it displays professionalism and customers are able to find products/services easily.
Blogging allows you to share information about your business and its services but it also allows you to share opinions and thoughts on certain topics. Blogging is a great way to create a personality for your company and makes your business more credible and approachable.
Post the blogs on your website to increase visibility on search engines, also ensure that you apply appropriate SEO so that people can find your content. Apply call-to-action (CTA) buttons that prompt people to subscribe to your blog or sign up to receive your newsletters. This is a great way of collecting information and feedback on how well your blog/website is performing.
Email marketing is an essential part of your marketing tool kit. A huge majority of millennials prefer communication that is coming from businesses to come via email. Emails are professional and are a great way of communicating directly with your audience. You can communicate updates and offers to your customers, as well as promote your blog through emails. You can curate newsletters and pass them on to your audience.
This strategy is free and a scalable way to communicate with both new and existing customers.
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Social Media Tools
Social media for a long time has been used as a tool for socializing and interaction with friends and family. Marketers have however realized the gold mine that social media is. It is a powerful marketing tool and can be used to reach wide audiences, increase traffic on your website, and ultimately increase sales. It is also a great way to interact with your customers and know what they would like to see from your business.
Knowing how to effectively use social media will boost your business and scale it higher and enable it to be ranked higher by search engines.
To do this, you must keep up with the trends that are happening on social media. Read these tips here.
Marketing tips for small businesses
- Determine your brand identity & target audience
All marketing starts once you are able to correctly identify your target audience. You might spend a lot of your marketing budget sending out communication to people but if they do not relate to it or identify with your brand you might be wasting time and resources. Ensure that you conduct adequate market research and correctly identify your target market. You must also develop your brand identity, this is basically elements of your brand that people are able to see and immediately attach to your brand. This includes your tone, typography, colors, etc. An example would be Coca-Cola. Their slogan is open happiness and their brand is identified by the constant happy and smiling pictures, their typography and red color are also very easily identifiable. This in itself markets for them because any time you open a coke, one would attach it to a feeling of happiness as per their slogan.
- Utilize Social media
Social media as discussed above is a powerful tool and when used correctly can generate several leads and sales. Learn how to optimize your social media to suit your business needs and your target audience needs. This will help propel your business higher, you can also use your social media to direct people to your website where they will find your blogs and products.
- Utilize free tools
There are several tools that are readily available on the internet for you to use and better your content. Some of these tools are WordPress, where you can develop and build your website for free. If you wish to have a custom domain you will, however, need to purchase a paid version. Canva is a great tool that has a lot of templates to help you design graphics and social media content for free. It also has free images and event templates. Another great source for free images is Pexels, which has thousands of pictures that you can use for free. Mail Chimp can help you send out email communication to up to 2,000 contacts for free. Utilize these tools to help you with your digital marketing strategies.
- Develop a customer referral program
A customer referral program is one of the most effective ways to promote your products or services. Ask your existing customers to give out a good word for you and you can also incentivize them. Create a reward program for whoever brings in a new client to boost their morale about telling others about your goods or services
- Online contests
Online contests have become quite popular these days, they are a great way of getting people to follow and know your brand. An example would be “for a chance to win a hamper from us, you must follow our page and tag three of your friends on the same”. This will automatically raise engagement. Despite the fact that you might have to cough out some money for the prize, it will be worth it because of the engagement you will generate from the contest.
- Email marketing
Email marketing as aforementioned, is a great way of reaching out to your audience directly. Tools such as MailChimp are a great way to get started. You can send out news on what is going on in the business as well as offers and introduce new products or services.
- Employ organic SEO strategies
SEO is an essential part of your marketing strategies. You need to know how to apply the basic principles of SEO to enhance user experience on your website and blogs. SEO raises your ranking on search engines. Read here on SEO tips that will help propel your organic reach.
- Try Facebook ads
Facebook ads have become quite popular, and are a great way of reaching a greater audience. Though paid, they have great results and businesses have attested to getting their money’s worth. Ads Manager is a free management tool that can help achieve better results. The benefits of using this simple tool include access to an image library, better targeting, and superior bidding capabilities.