Digital Marketing Marketing & Sales

Digital Marketing 101 for Small Business Owners

Written by Katrina O'Connell

Digital marketing is among the most important tools for small businesses, providing an easy and affordable way to tap into virtually any target market. Unlike traditional advertising media, such as: newspapers, radio spots, and television ads, online marketing can be accomplished on virtually any budget without compromising results. With an estimated 70% to 80% of customers researching companies online before making purchase decisions, the brand story you present the world matters more than ever.

Here’s what you need to incorporate into your small business marketing methods.

Build Up Your Social Media Profiles

Social media isn’t just for posting pictures of dogs and brunch. With 68% of adults active on Facebook, 73% on YouTube, and 35% on Instagram, there’s a large market available to target your marketing messages. And social doesn’t stop at Facebook, either; Snapchat, Twitter, and Pinterest, for example, have mass appeal in certain demographics. All of these platforms have different purposes and markets, so understanding how to position yourself on all of them maximises the results you can achieve.

For those with larger budgets, some forms of targeted advertising can be a benefit, too. With the ability to hone in on demographics ranging from age and gender to liked pages and geographic area, you can increase your odds of putting ads in front of the right eyes.

Even if you don’t plan on investing in targeted advertising opportunities, building out robust profiles on all major sites is a benefit. Add profile pictures, comprehensive About Us descriptions, and contact information so that customers browsing the web can find you easily. And don’t just create a profile and let it sit – social media is, of course, about being social, so find time in your day to post images and content, respond to queries, and interact with fans and followers. Social media can help tell a story and humanise your brand so the presence you display makes a difference.

Maintain a Company Website

A website is a critical part of your online strategy, and if you don’t have one now, creating one should be priority number one. While only 64% of small businesses currently have a website, this number is only growing, and you need to be among them if you want to resonate with customers. Some small businesses believe that their robust social media presence is good enough, but this isn’t true – you need an user experience and an exceptional web design that offers benefits social media can’t touch. A good website builds trust, establishes credibility, and provides large amounts of information, and those advantages often can’t be rivalled by a generic Facebook page.

Some small businesses cite cost as a reason for shying away from a site, but a company page doesn’t have to be costly. In fact, you can often spent less than you may expect to get a page up and running.

If you choose to move forward with a page, keep these best practices in mind:

  • Use a modern design that provides a good user experience. Websites that look like they’re stuck in the early 2000s won’t impress a savvy consumer.
  • Focus on a responsive design. You want a website that works seamlessly on both desktop and mobile platforms, particularly now that Google ranks sites differently based on mobile optimisation.
  • Provide relevant, topical, and original content on every page.
  • Offer the information customers tend to prioritise, including hours of operation, contact details, and a clear description of what your company does or sells.

Take Advantage of SEO

SEO is one of the original digital marketing avenues, and for good reason. The basic tenets of SEO provide a strong way to advance your business and improve your visibility in search engine results pages.

Some small business owners believe that investing effort into SEO is a waste of time in today’s marketing era, but this isn’t the case. Most users rely on search engines to find local businesses, so without a strong strategy, you’ll lose ground to those who do. If you think showing up anywhere in the SERPs is okay, you’re wrong on that front, too – almost 65% of users click top 5 and almost 95% of web traffic goes to websites on the first results page.

To make the most of SEO:

  • Focus on keywords most relevant to your business in searches and use them organically throughout your content
  • Embellish product descriptions with colourful and expressive language
  • If applicable, consider starting a blog to increase your content on the web, share relevant business details, and establish yourself as an authority
  • Keep information up to date and consistent
  • Emphasise local search outlets, like Google My Business, to maximise your local reach,

A comprehensive marketing strategy can be an effective way to gain a step up on your competition. If you put in the time and energy necessary to rise above the norms, your online presence can grow your business, increase leads, and boost conversions without a steep investment.

“The opinions expressed by BizWitty Contributors are their own, not those of BizCover and should not be relied upon in place of appropriate professional advice. Please read our full disclaimer."

About the author

Katrina O'Connell

Katrina O'Connell is the Managing Director of kmo, a Brisbane based web design agency. Katrina's areas of expertise, which she also enjoys writing about, are digital marketing and user experience.

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