We won’t reel off the statistics—at least not yet!—but in a world of smartphones, social media, and search engine optimization, the future is clear: Digital marketing is a win for businesses of any size.
But digital marketing doesn’t offer a one-size-fits-all solution, especially for small businesses.
If you’re a small business owner looking to improve your online and offline local presence, or are operating within a limited budget, here are five essentials to incorporate into your digital marketing plan.
1. An engaging, responsive website
You should have one thing if nothing else: a well designed and well-written website. For small
businesses (for any business), this is a necessity, the primary tool in your “digital marketing toolbox.”
Compelling, concise content is important, but as increasingly more consumers turn to mobile to conduct local searches, you need an engaging site that’s also optimized for use on all devices—smartphone, tablet, and desktop. Make sure pertinent information (address, contact number, directions, etc.) is easily accessible, and pay attention to site load speed! Nearly 75% of consumers noted that they are willing to wait only 5 seconds for a site to load, while 60% expect it to load in 3 seconds or less (Source: Compuware.com).
WordPress remains a great tool for small businesses, and WPTouch is its mobile-friendly counterpart. Once your site is up and running, you’ll want to measure engagement and the success of your marketing efforts. Google Analytics is a free way to view traffic volume, track users’ movement, and understand their motives and behavior.
2. A social media plan
Believe it or not, users spend approximately 3 hours on social media each day. That means your business has ample opportunity to reach brands and consumers across an array of channels. You just need to engage effectively and efficiently.
Many business owners rely on social media management platforms like Hootsuite to monitor social media engagement and track performance, and apps like Buffer to recommend, schedule, and share relevant articles and stories. For businesses operating on a tighter budget or a tighter timeline, Hootsuite offers some great tips in its Daily 18-Minute Social Media Plan for Small Businesses.
At buyCalls, we know there’s lasting power in helpful, concise content that engages with the consumer. We also know that, for instance, 80% of visitors to a site will opt to watch a video first, and that brands using infographics grow in traffic an average of 12% more than those that don’t.
Ultimately, what makes sense for one business doesn’t always make sense for the next. There are a multitude of ways to incorporate video marketing, infographics, and great content into your business, but first you must determine which will serve you best.
4. Email marketing
Despite rumors to the contrary, email marketing is still an effective tool for small businesses. In fact, according to Salesforce, it’s significantly impacting ROI for businesses using it regularly.
Marketing Cloud reports:
- 73% of marketers agree that email marketing is core to their business
- 60% of marketers claim that email is a critical enabler of products and services, versus 42% of marketers in 2014
- For 69.7% of US internet users, email is the preferred method of communicating with businesses (eMarketer)
If you’re looking to incorporate email marketing, Mail Chimp is your best standalone option. A web-based email marketing service designed to help you create newsletters, etc., it connects with your social media pages, tracks your results, and ensures your opt-in lists are verified.
5. Compelling content fueled by an understanding of SEO
Much of what we’ve covered here is a matter of distribution. When it comes to engaging consumers, there’s no beating great content.
Understanding customer knowledge gaps, it offers solutions to problems and answers to questions. It reads like it’s written by a human, not a machine—but it’s powered by a knowledge of SEO.
It’s specific, concise, funny. It relies on fact and credible sources of information. It’s interesting and shareable, and when it fits, visual.
It’s a lot of things. And as with all other digital marketing tactics, it varies business to business. Great content for my business may not serve your business in the same way.
What is your story? Who are you serving? What are your goals? When it comes to digital marketing planning, never forget to answer Why? before moving onto How? and then What?
Are you a small business trying to map out a digital marketing plan? Let us know where you’re at! We’d love to talk.