Online Marketing for Small Business
Article by Kristaps Brencans Last updated
In a modern, digitally-connected world, businesses have to come up with innovative ways to connect with their existing and potential clients. Considering the rapid pace at which digital transformation is happening across all business sectors, entrepreneurs have to adopt Internet technologies to survive and thrive.
Digital marketing is a unique marketing approach that leverages the Internet to connect with existing and potential clients. The Internet itself offers numerous digital channels and advanced platforms for efficient marketing solutions.
Online marketing channels include websites, email marketing, search engine optimization, mobile marketing, social media marketing, and content marketing, affiliate marketing, online PR, and conversational AI.
Potential customers are overloaded with information from television, smartphones, radios, tablets, and computers. Brands have to fine-tune their digital marketing strategies to stay visible and relevant. Businesses must use digital marketing channels to guide prospective customers as they make purchase decisions while also staying connected to the existing clients.
Digital marketing for small businesses
When small businesses launch, the entrepreneur’s focus is on attracting the first batch of customers. Some may rely on more traditional advertising forms, including print ads, billboards, and coupon mailers. The majority of these entrepreneurs rely on their brand name as they offer good services and products and figure it is only a matter of time before customers flock to them.
This strategy may work for brick and mortar shops with limited product and service offerings. Smaller businesses should take advantage of the vast marketplace of potential customers available online. Compared to the number of clients that are available locally, online clients are more plentiful. Digital marketing enables all types of small businesses to reach wider audiences in measurable and cost-effective ways.
The benefits of digital marketing for small businesses include the ability to immediately track responses to your marketing efforts and the opportunity to know one’s audience personally (this creates a high level of brand loyalty). Online marketing also helps small businesses to save money and interact with more clients for significantly less.
Digital marketing also propels small businesses to the global level by giving them a global platform to compete with larger companies. Online marketing also includes analytics tools that help small businesses analyze customer preferences and learn what they require.
As the COVID pandemic continues to disrupt business operations worldwide, small businesses are the most affected. The growing reliance on solutions in the digital landscape means that small businesses have to adopt digital marketing to maintain and grow their reach and revenue. The majority of small business owners realize they need to run an informative social media profile.
Digital marketing is a fantastic field leveler for small businesses. It does not take much for a smaller company to launch a social media profile and compete with more established brands. Compared to other marketing channels, the barrier to entry for online marketing is lower.
The tremendous variety of options available for online marketing campaigns means that small businesses are free to explore their creative options. Interested clients who are still at the top of the funnel (interested and aware) can be further enticed using display ads. In the digital marketing world, this is called retargeting or remarketing.
Online marketing is considerably more efficient and cost-effective than traditional marketing channels, such as billboards and television ads. This is partly because online marketers can place caps on their advertising expenditures. A Google report shows that every $1 spent on Google Ads yields $8 in revenue for small businesses.
Digital marketing campaigns can target multiple different audiences at the same time, via different channels. In addition to this, online marketing models can be fine-tuned and made granular depending on the business’ choice of marketing channel. Built into digital marketing models is the capability to check and boost conversion rates.
Marketing ideas for small business
For many small businesses, taking on the digital marketing challenge can be intimidating. Entrepreneurs need to make decisions such as applying methods for optimal results and tactics that will yield maximum exposure. They also need to consider their budgets and the time factor.
The majority of small business owners leverage social media to drive sales. For many small businesses, taking on the digital marketing challenge can be intimidating. Entrepreneurs need to make decisions such as the methods to apply for optimal results, and the choice of tactics that will yield maximum exposure. They also need to consider their budgets and the time factor.
Creating shareable content
Small scale entrepreneurs need to create the right kind of digital marketing content. Low-quality content hurts one’s brand. High-quality content enables the brand to craft strong relationships with its clients, boosting the brand image and overall revenue in the process.
However, one should note that even the most premium content does yield the expected results if it is not seen and shared by the right audience. The best content enables your brand to grow its reach while also giving your audience the answers they seek. At the same time, your potential and existing clients should feel the need to share the content your brand creates.
Premium digital content is unique and elicits an emotional reaction from clients. It is also practical and offers real value to clients. Good content tells a story and enables clients to connect with the brand’s vision.
Develop a strong focus on organic social media platforms
Social media can be a unicorn for small business revenue generation. Smaller brands leverage social media to extend their reach. A majority of a brand’s clients will tend to prefer social media for customer support.
Any brand that wants a leg up on its competitors makes heavy use of social media platforms. A friendly and interactive social media presence by small businesses also creates a lasting positive impression on prospective clients’ minds.
The best social media platforms are those that contain a large target audience for your business. Content designed to boost organic (unpaid) growth is perfect for generating long term stability while increasing trust among the brand’s followers.
Organize and host value-packed webinars
Webinars for small business brands can be in the form of demonstrations, discussions, and presentations. Compared to ordinary video content, webinars help you stand out by being engaging and interactive.
A Q$A session immediately after a well-designed webinar helps potential clients understand what you are offering, and increase the brand’s perceived value. Webinars help you connect in real-time, position the brand as industry experts, generate high-quality leads, and enhance the sales process and boost ROI.
Create a targeted mailing list
Email lists are trusted channels for driving repeat sales and building solid relationships with the target audience. Responsive email lists can be more valuable than active social media followings.
A McKinsey study showed that email is up to 40 times more effective at generating leads and converting them compared to Twitter and Facebook put together. Email marketing grows credibility, enhances communication, nurtures relationships, generates traffic, and builds the brand.
Optimize online marketing for both desktop and mobile
To get maximum results from digital marketing efforts, small businesses need to consider converting prospects into paying customers. An excellent desktop user experience enables visitors to stay longer on your channel. Good UI experience determines how engaged and connected your audience is. Mobile-friendly sites load fast and are optimized for search engines.
Online marketing for small businesses
At some point, every small scale entrepreneur must consider digital marketing channels to grow their brand. Due to the COVID pandemic, a lot of potential customers have retreated to their homes. As usual, it is the small-scale players who have experienced the most significant impact. The ‘new normal’ driven by digital transformation requires businesses to invest heavily in online marketing to drive sales.
The considerations for online marketing plans include the many options for marketing channels and the large amount of data generated, which needs to be analyzed. Without prior experience, it is easy for inexperienced entrepreneurs to get lost in the digital maze that is online marketing.
The most popular online marketing channels include social media, email marketing, pay-per-click (PPC), search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, telesales, and display advertising. In a world of excessive choices and options, it is best to use data to make relevant decisions.
Digital marketing tools can generate immense data loads. This means that there will be hundreds of metrics to consider. Small businesses should focus not only on the likes they receive on social media platforms but also on actual traffic and conversion rates.
For small businesses, traffic refers to the number of prospective clients who visit a web domain over a given period. These metrics are extremely valuable in digital marketing since they directly indicate the business’ popularity on the web. Heavy traffic shows that the target audience knows about the business and are visiting the site.
For smaller brands, SEO is the best method for increasing website traffic, according to David Hahn. SEO is leveraged to tap into client psyches and promote traffic to small business websites. A well-designed SEO strategy enhances reach, creates more exposure, and improves business revenue.
To understand the power of efficient SEO, entrepreneurs should know that roughly 75% of traffic usually goes to the top three results on the search engine results pages. Businesses should strive to get to this top position to put up any meaningful competition in the digital space.
Added benefits of SEO include creating long-term credibility and lasting search status. SEO done right can generate traffic from previously unimagined sources. However, this sort of strategy requires a consistent effort on the part of the smaller brands.
Traffic without conversion is useless. In online marketing, conversion refers to when a website visitor decides to take the desired action based on the marketing funnel. For any business, the most appropriate visitor action would be a sale. In most cases, however, clients signing up for newsletters or downloading eBooks are good first steps.
To boost the conversion rates for small business websites and digital properties, entrepreneurs can take several steps. First, invest in customer research to develop a picture of the target demographic. Next, de-clutter the landing page to make sure it contains only the most necessary information. Owners can also give a clear call-to-action (download button, signup forms, or ‘Buy Now’ banners) for getting visitors to convert to paying clients.
Why digital marketing is important
In the past, online marketing was a new and unique way to market business products and services via the Internet. It provided a new and interesting channel for entrepreneurs to prosper. However, the past few years have proven just how vital digital marketing can be for a business’ long-term growth and survival.
As digital transformation continues to take effect worldwide, there is fierce competition for website traffic as brands strive to increase revenue. An online presence enables a brand to offer 24/7 services and support to customers. Clients are also able to provide instant negative or positive feedback regarding the brand’s performance and product.
Digital channels offer a means for information to be shared rapidly across the world. Today, up to 72% of marketers say that traditional marketing strategies are not sufficient to keep up with the competition. They also say that brand revenues have increased by up to 30% after adopting efficient online marketing plans.
Let us look at the reasons why digital marketing is important:
- Guaranteed satisfaction for mobile consumers – As mobile phones continue to become more pervasive, mobile marketing is also on the rise. Advertising crafted specifically for mobile users through smartphone apps attracts potential clients and results in conversions.
- It levels the playing field for smaller brands – Typically, when a larger brand such as Walmart sets up shop in a town, hundreds of smaller, local specialty stores suffer and eventually shut down. The same is true for smaller family-owned coffee shops when Starbucks arrives. In the online space, Amazon can be hard to compete with given the millions of dollars they invest in brand management and marketing. However, the online space also offers an equal opportunity for small businesses to market their products and even appear at the top of search engine results. The advantage of digital marketing for small brands is the enhanced ability to compete with larger businesses for only a fraction of the advertising budget. These smaller businesses can choose how and when they spend their money. Online marketing also generates highly relevant data that offers insights into customer spending habits.
- Digital marketing can be increasingly personalized – In targeting potential customers, digital marketing is used to segment the target market almost down to an individual level. Online marketing aimed at individuals is “personalized.” Personalization is typically in the form of emails that create repeat customers through segmentation and automation.
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Article by Kristaps Brencans
I started as a project manager at On The Map Marketing in 2015 and now run the day-to-day operations as the company’s chief executive officer. In the last few years, I have overseen thousands of successful SEO campaigns in numerous industries, including lawyers, contractors, E-commerce, and other markets. I am also a proud dad of three divas and take a keen interest in running and calisthenics.