Small business owners need every advantage they can get to remain competitive. Here are 5 essential digital marketing strategies for small business owners to keep ahead of the competition and win more customers.
A responsive, mobile-friendly website
The first of our 5 essential digital strategies is a responsive, mobile-friendly website. This means that it’s coded in the industry standards of HTML5 and CSS. For most websites, it will also mean using WordPress for content management.
Today, you can find beautiful mobile-responsive WordPress themes for under $50 that will keep your site looking fresh for years to come.
A great small business website doesn’t have to be complicated. 4 or 5 pages should cover most needs:
- A homepage that tells visitors who you are, what you do, and where you’re located
- An “About” page that introduces you and your employees, to give your business a human touch
- A Contact page with your business address, service area, hours, phone number, and a contact form
- A menu of goods or services, with pricing if it’s appropriate
- A blog, for publishing weekly articles for your customers and colleagues
That’s really all there is to getting started. Now you’re ready for…
Content marketing is a massively useful digital marketing strategy for small business owners.
In short, content marketing is creating written, visual, or audio material and publishing it on your website.
Content marketing helps to establish your business as an authoritative, reliable source and service provider.
Remember the blog on your website? That’s where you should start publishing your content. Write 500 words on a topic, give it a clear title, add a piece of art, and you’re good to go. Weekly blogging will help customers understand who you are and what you do, and it will also help search engines like Google include your website in relevant search queries.
Which leads us to…
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization is the science and art of helping customers find your website when they have a problem you can solve.
Great SEO is how customers find your website at the top of a search engine results page, and why they click on your site instead of your competitor’s.
Great SEO combines technical work, like coding your website so that it loads quickly and creative work, like plenty of fresh, unique, original content.
So, yes, great SEO is tied to a responsive, mobile-friendly website and your content marketing.
If you’re new to SEO, the place to start is with a comprehensive SEO audit. Then you can assess your strengths and weaknesses and put your resources where they’ll do the most good.
Social media marketing
Social media has quickly become an essential digital marketing tool for small businesses because it levels the playing field between competing businesses, and it connects you directly to your customers.
But with dozens of social media networks out there, how do you choose the right ones for your business?
Easy: go where your customers are.
Everyone is on Facebook, so Facebook should be your first choice. It will take about 10 minutes to set up your business page and invite people to Like it. And then you can schedule posts in advance, so your Facebook for Business page is always fresh.
Next, the choices.
Are you selling products on Main Street? Pinterest and Instagram are where you want to be.
Are you working in the service sector, or B2B? LinkedIn and Twitter are better bets for you.
And now, the real question: how often do you need to be active on social media?
There’s nothing sadder than a dead social media account. It confuses customers (“Are they still in business?”) and it signals to your competitors that your marketing isn’t doing what it should.
Fortunately, there are tools that you can use to schedule your updates and manage your community with a minimal investment. In fact, we work with clients who keep an active presence all day long but only spend 3 hours a week on their social media marketing!
Even if you only have ten minutes a day you can stay active and current on Facebook and one other social network.
But what if you don’t have any time at all this week? You can use one of the most underrated digital marketing strategies around:
On-demand webinars and videos
On-demand webinars and videos are like the self-serve of digital marketing. After you create and publish the content, you’re finished.
Your customers will discover the webinar or video and you don’t have to do anything more than reply to their emails. It’s another great “set it and forget it” tool for time-crunched small business owners.
So how do you get started?
Software like Adobe Connect or WebEx can record your online presentations for later playback, but all you really need is a webcam and a slideshow program like PowerPoint or Canva.
Simply create your presentation, record it, and upload it to your website. You can even kill two birds with one stone by making on-demand content your weekly blog post.
Not only will on-demand webinars and videos supplement your content marketing, they can help establish you as an authority in your market. This, in turn, will help your SEO, as more websites link to your on-demand content!
5 essential digital marketing strategies for small business owners
There you have it: 5 essential digital marketing strategies for small business owners. Some, like your website and your on-demand content, are “set it and forget it” tools that you create once. Others, like content marketing and social media, require active updates on a weekly or daily basis.
Even if it seems like you just don’t have the time to keep up with a weekly blog and daily Facebooking, give it a shot for 3 months.
Three months of consistent content and social media marketing will give you enough data to evaluate your digital marketing. And there’s a good chance that you’ll pick up a new customer along the way.
Are you ready to get started?