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An introduction to small business digital marketing strategy

13 October 2020

Today, having a small business digital marketing strategy is one of the most affordable and effective ways to grow and achieve commercial success. Why? Your potential customers and clients are highly likely be online looking for your products and services or, they are online and can easily be targeted with compelling messages that will make them want your products or services.

If your small business does not have an active presence online, you are missing out on a huge pool of opportunity as your brand is not discoverable online. Whether you’re a specialist law firm, organic candle maker or video production agency, you can grow your brand with a bespoke small digital marketing strategy that supports your overall business strategy. A digital marketing strategy doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive, the trick is to focus on the areas of digital marketing that are relevant to your small business!

Big brand vs small business strategies
Is there is a difference between a small business digital marketing strategy and that of a global brands? Absolutely, and it’s not just a difference in budget and the number of people involved. Effective digital marketing strategies are tailored to a brand’s goals and they plan the detail for the activities to reach said goals, no two brands are the same and therefore no two strategies are the same – regardless of the business or budget size.

Define your digital marketing goals
If you’re a new brand then raising awareness will be top of your list of goals, or perhaps you want to showcase expertise in your specific field of business? Having a website that drives quality leads or generates X number of sales per month are also popular goals amongst our clients.  The first step in devising your small business marketing strategy is to define three business goals that you want to achieve within the next 12 months. Start by writing down all goals that pop into your head and refine until you get to three that mean the most to you and the success of your business.

Then, why not think further ahead and list another three goals that you’d love to smash within three years! Being clear on your priorities short and long term from the outset enables your digital marketing consultant to understand the full scope of your aspirations. Going forward each goal will act as a benchmark to measure performance against and keep your strategy on the right path.

Set a marketing budget
Every small business should have an allocated budget to cover all areas of digital marketing such as website design and development, paid advertising, SEO, social media etc. Typically, there are two budgets; one to get your brand’s digital presence to where it needs to be and one for the promotion and growth of your brand online.

A digital marketing agency or consultant who specialise in supporting small businesses and startups are most likely to have rates that are affordable to you. However, that does not mean they will be cheap – especially if they are accomplished in delivering digital marketing strategies that deliver strong results. Always gather proposals from a couple of potential partners and check their reputation before deciding on your small business digital marketing agency.

introduction small business digital marketing strategy

4 key areas of digital marketing for small businesses
The world of digital marketing is complex and evolving constantly so it can be overwhelming to know where to start. However, as a small business owner you don’t really need to focus on AR, AI or voice interaction technology just yet – your priority should be to create solid digital foundation for your brand. Here are the key areas of digital marketing to get right first and then as your business grows so can your digital marketing activity.

Custom websites
Your website is the most important digital destination for your small business. Your customers will likely discover your brand for the first time on your website so it must create a ‘wow’ first impression and guide users into action such as learn more, send an enquiry or make a purchase. As a small business owner one of the best investments you can make is in a custom website that is unique to your brand and fit-for-purpose to deliver your commercial goals.

A well designed and custom-built website on a platform such as WordPress boasts many benefits:

-It will last you many years as it will be unique to your brand’s look and feel
-They are very easy to maintain and keep updated yourself so no expensive monthly fees
-You can add new features and functionality easily as you’re not restricted by a template

Search engine marketing and SEO
In short, search engine marketing and SEO is what makes your website and your brand discoverable online amongst users who are searching (or Googling) your brand, product and services, areas of expertise etc. It’s essential that the content on each page on your website is optimised to capture traffic and rank on a search engine for a specific target keyword or two. For example, if your business is an organic candle company make sure that the meta data for your homepage explains this to Google. This is just one element of on-site SEO, if you’d like to ensure that your website is discoverable amongst users actively seeking your brand please discuss your needs with a small business digital marketing agency like Hi Digital.

Another key area of search engine marketing is PPC (pay-per-click) advertising on Google Adwords, if you execute this well your brand can serve compelling ads to your target customers at the top of the search engine results amongst your competitors.

Local digital marketing
Before you start to embark on world domination or creating a nationwide digital presence we recommend focusing on your local geographical area first, especially if you are a service-led business. One of the best ways to kickstart your small business’s local digital marketing is with a Google My Business profile, these are free and you can sign up here. With this profile in place you will literally get your business on the local Google map and create a valuable backlink to your website.

Social media marketing
Social media channels provide small businesses with a cost-effective platform to raise awareness of their brand and engage with their target customers. The most popular platforms are Twitter, Linked In, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and Snapchat. However, as a small business owner you do not need to be on all of them – we recommend that you focus on the two channels where your target customers are most likely to be active. Once you’ve decided on your priority social media channels it’s time to get creative with your content, post with consistent frequency and utilise the unique features of that channel to your advantage.

Where should small business owners focus first?
Once you’ve created a fantastic website your digital marketing strategy will determine which digital marketing channels are likely to achieve the best results. Trying to cover all areas and channels of digital marketing is never advised, not even for the biggest brands. It is better to focus on one or two areas and execute them well rather than to poorly execute a little bit of everything, the latter approach is highly unlikely to deliver any meaningful results.

Knowing where to focus your small business digital marketing strategy is easy if you know the answer this question: “where are my target customers most likely to be online?”.  For example, are they likely to be researching what you do and Googling? Are they on Instagram absorbing content about a particular subject? Do they use Facebook a lot to keep in touch with friends and family? If you don’t know where your customers are likely to be online, then you don’t have a good enough understanding of your target customer. In this case we recommend you take some time to get to know your target customers better and create a customer avatar for at least two of your target customers.

Is it time for a digital marketing audit?
If you’ve got a website and have a presence on social media but you’re not seeing the results you want, then now is a good time to conduct a digital marketing audit. Let us conduct a comprehensive review of your entire digital presence. We identify quick wins and strategic opportunities to get your branding, website and marketing channels in great digital shape to attract more customers.

Unfortunately, if you want to achieve tangible results you can’t start marketing or advertising your small business online until you get the basics right first. You need to ensure you are saying the right thing, portraying the right image, enabling potential customers to find you online and most importantly your potential customers need to understand what you can do for them and what you want them to do.

The role of a digital marketing agency
If your business goals are to increase traffic to your website or improve your brand’s presence online, then a digital marketing agency or consultant can be a valuable extension to your core team. Effective digital marketing strategies take creativity and skill, they are not learnt in a morning’s training session and digital marketing channels do not work in silos. Outsourcing your digital marketing needs to an expert with a solid reputation is a cost and resource effective solution to help you to achieve the results you want efficiently, and long term. Read our top tips to find the right digital marketing agency for your small business.

You need an effective digital marketing strategy
Digital marketing could be your best ally to steer you towards your business goals and we’d love to be a part of your brand’s growth. Hi Digital are a boutique digital marketing agency dedicated to growing small businesses with effective digital strategies. We’d love to help you reach your business goals and be a part of your brand’s growth. Please email us info@hidigital.co.uk or please get in touch with using the form below to book a free consultation with us.

Alternatively, find out more about what we do or discover free digital marketing tips on our blog.

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