Digital Marketing has become an overwhelming array of software, processes, strategies, and channels to navigate through as a small business owner. Decades ago businesses told their stories through TV commercials and radio ads. No more! People are connected to the world and one another via their smartphone. It is important to truly understand your potential customer’s digital habits, so you can nudge them effectively in all the right channels.
Not only is digital marketing overwhelming, it is time consuming and difficult to be effective. For the successful small owner this can very troublesome. Small business owners are problem solvers by nature. Unfortunately, with digital marketing you can “solve” a problem, but accomplish nothing. There are too many choices out there to lure small business owners into their time vacuums.
Small business owners are typically not equipped with the 6-10 different skill sets needed to successfully navigate a digital marketing strategy, which ultimately leads to failure. For example, someone who specializes in SEO is very rarely also the same person who can create engaging content with their camera. Or the savvy web developer is rarely the person who is also crafting the catchy copy for the PPC ads.
Let’s break down some of the key areas of any successful Digital Marketing Strategy, so that as a small business owner, you have some knowledge of critical terms.
First and foremost, every business needs an engaging website in today’s world. Think of your website like your virtual sales booth. It needs to convey the same feeling/energy that someone would feel when they walked into your store or had a phone call with the founder. Websites need to be easy to operate for the user and have a clear purpose.
Websites also need to function as a digital place of business. How are you able to transfer value via your website? Are you offering virtual classes? Are you offering boutique entertainment pieces for dinner parties?
Having a great website is fantastic, however ensuring it is able to found is the next step. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. This refers to techniques used to increase the ease with which Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. can index, and subsequently find your website and recommend in searches.
With each passing year Google evolves their process for indexing and ranking their websites. Recently, the addition of longer search phrases via text-to-talk has forced Google to grow once again. Increasingly, Google is looking for high-quality content that is natural and useful to its’ readers. Beyond that, Google looks at whether or not your website has been back-linked by other quality websites, or whether you have reviews, etc. before ranking your website.
SEO can also refer to your “on-page” optimization. For example, do you have engaging meta descriptions? Do all of your pages have H1 headings? To me, this is all about proper format, and knowing the rules that the search engines play by. You may also consider, what is the purpose of each page? Each page should ideally target a different type of client or customer.
Content marketing has become such a massive part of major companies’ marketing strategies for good reason. It brings customers into your sales funnel, without being overly “aggressive” or “salesy”. Many folks often refer to this as “in-bound marketing”, but content marketing refers to the blogs, infographics, social media, podcasts, native articles, etc. that a company uses to add value or build authority with their client(s). Hubspot is a fantastic example of a company that has been built on fantastic content marketing.
Social media continues to become increasingly diverse and nuanced time marches forward. Each channel has its own pros and cons, audience set, unique use cases, etc. It can be daunting just to decide which channel(s) to market your product. Facebook and Instagram, while owned by same company, have much different audiences and use cases. A successful strategy on one channel is not a automatic slam dunk on the other.
Social media has evolved beyond just posting cute photos to your channels. Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat all have native shops within their ecosystems that allow brands to capture, nurture, and convert a client without ever leaving their favorite social media channels. Check out some the work we did here on campaigns such as these.
One of the mainstays of digital marketing for several decades now, is email marketing. Email marketing tools like Mailchimp or SendGrid are great for creating visually appealing emails and sending them out to large lists of potential customers. This can be a great way to open a personal dialogue with each one of your customers. Effective companies use the data they have on their customers to personalize their email messages as much as possible. The name of the game in email marketing is “open-rate”, or how many people out of 100 can you get to open your email?
The nice thing about email marketing? It’s affordable and it is not subject to a social media channel’s latest algorithm update!