Digital Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses

Wednesday, 13 March 2013    Business Growth

It is easy to get lost in seemingly endless number of options to market and promote your small business. Perhaps you have heard about Twitter for ages, but you haven't so much as tried to sign up for an account, not knowing it's true worth? You don't know if traditional marketing tactics will work for you, but you don't know too much about other avenues either. Luckily I am here to shed some light on your options.

Social Media

The landscape is widespread: Twitter, Instagram, smartphones with mobile Apps, Facebook, and so on. How do you know what to use to ramp up your company's marketing presence?

First, define your goals. What are you trying to get out of social media? Are you trying to generate leads, share content, or create new relationships?

Second, choose a platform that fits. If your business is culinary, design, or beauty-based, you could benefit greatly from using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and even Tumblr. Businesses that do not rely on up-to-the-minute trends, creative photos and images (most manufacturers, for example) would not benefit as much from Instagram or Pinterest.

Third, ask yourself if you are going to create a position based around social media, or if you are going to do the posting yourself. Think about the time it takes to form relationships and build a following. If your business is doing well, most likely you will need to hire an expert who can dedicate his or her day to many networking opportunities that revolve around social media. Develop an editorial calendar to plan when posts go up, or manage your social media content stream through a platform such a Hootsuite

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and PPC (Pay Per Click)

Put simply, Google AdWords is a way of advertising on the internet to get people to come and look at what you you are trying to sell or even to promote the information you have on your website. It is a form of pay per click (PPC) advertising. A lot of people use Google AdWords campaigns of a wider marketing strategy.

The basics are that you set up an Ad with Google and you pay whenever anyone clicks on that Ad. The amount you pay depends on how much you have bid for each keyword that you nominate as relevant to your Ad. You only pay when your Ad is clicked on, either shown in the Google search engine or as contextual Ads within websites that have subscribed to Google AdSense. Simply, the more you pay them for a particular keyword/ phrase, the higher up in the listing your Ad gets every time someone searches. Of course there is more to it than that but here we are trying to get into the basics and the key facts about Google AdWords.

Keywords

Keywords really are the crux of the whole matter. A keyword is basically the word or phrase that you want someone to type into the search engine for your Ad to appear. More popular words or phrases will involve a much larger cost for you to get near the top of the search results. So you need to decide how much you are willing to spend on your marketing campaign to get near the top. If you are on a tight budget then you need to come up with some less common words or phrases (but obvious ones people will know to search for) that you will not need to pay so much for to appear near the top of the search results.

Email Marketing

Do not underestimate the power of email. From viral email campaigns to weekly eBlasts, many emails are opened consistently due to factors such as subject line, quality, and deployment time. Customers come to look forward to worthwhile content that makes its way to their inbox. Do your research, give the audience what they want, and see profits rise. Email marketing campaigns offer low cost targeted marketing. There are many companies in the marketplace who specialise in Email Marketing Services but the most popular is Mail Chimp.

Content Marketing

Without content marketing, a website can easily get lost in the shuffle. Many would say that you don't need a social media strategy or an SEO strategy as much as you need a content strategy.

Although content marketing includes quality-written Web content and social media maintenance, it also includes blogs, eBooks, webinars, white papers, and a variety of other outlets. The key is to engage with your core customers on a level that they will relate to, a level that promotes action from their end.

When it comes down to it, it's pretty simple: Know your audience, establish a plan, and test, test, test, to see what works for your small business.

What marketing tactics have been most useful to you and your small business?

By Naomi Collins, Butlers Accountants, Marketing Manager. Email Naomi for any Small Business Marketing Questions on naomic@butlersca.com.au