As a small business, you need to be selective about the digital marketing strategies you prioritize, and you need to know which ones you might skip or phase out. Here are the main digital marketing strategies and considerations for each.
Conversion Based Website Design
A website designed to convert traffic into leads is central to digital marketing. Having not just a website, but an effective one, is essential to competing online.
Your website is the focal point of all your web marketing and the point of conversion for your campaigns. It’s the quarterback of your marketing. Not a place to skimp.
For a conversion-based website, make sure it’s:
- mobile responsive so it displays on all devices;
- updated and professional so it creates a positive first impression;
- simple and user friendly so visitors can easily complete their task;
- built around conversion goals so activity funnels towards them;
- free of unnecessary content and clutter that confuses visitors.
With its vital importance, you might think your website design would be one of the biggest items in your initial budget. However, with template, content management systems like the UXi® website platform, this isn’t the case. A high-performing, conversion-based design can be custom built in just a few weeks, and when you do some of the other essentials of marketing with Marketing 360®, you can get it for free.
Whatever you do, make sure your website is a stalwart of your marketing. It’s essential.
Paid advertising uses systems like Google Adwords, Bing Ads, and social media sponsored ads to place your content on search and social media platforms via a bidding/pay-per-click system.
For most business, paid advertising is essential – at the very least – in the early phases of marketing. It allows you to gain and control exposure early on, and will likely be the main way you create awareness at that time.
Through paid advertising, you can test campaigns and gain valuable data that let’s you develop your ideas to improve conversion rates. Apply that knowledge to other marketing efforts as you move forward.
After other channels start to produce, you can evaluate your paid advertising. If it’s delivering a return on investment, there is no reason not to continue. If it’s fractured and not delivering while other channels are improving, you may choose to cut it.
It’s rare today that any substantial marketing effort doesn’t use some paid advertising. It’s advantages with control, top of page ranking, and data gathering make it effective.
Search Engine Optimization
Organic search, aka SEO, is an important tactic for most digital business marketing.
It’s advantageous, of course, to get as much traffic as possible with SEO because you don’t pay for individual clicks. However, you must also remember that the content creation requirements to develop ranking can be considerable; it can months – or even years – to rank for competitive keywords.
For the local business, geo-targeted SEO is essential. You need to get set-up on Google My Business and optimize your local listings.
In some cases, where an offer is exceptionally niche and the competition for rankings is slim, you may not need to do much SEO work to rank.
For others, SEO crosses over into content marketing, where you use information and branding to engage visitors throughout the buying cycle.
SEO has a lot of long-term ROI, so it’s an effort most business invest in.
Ad retargeting uses browser cookies or lists to display ads to people who’ve already visited your website or follow you on social media.
Retargeting is basically a follow-through on your sales process. It mitigates the reality that most website visitors – no matter how good your website is – won’t convert on their first visit.
Ad retargeting works through pay-per-click platforms, but it’s generally not that expensive. Most businesses try campaigns then stick with those that work.
You could skip ad retargeting, but you’d be missing a fairly easy touch point with leads during the sales cycle.
It used to be that CRM (customer relationship management) software was only viable for enterprise size businesses.
But today, there are excellent, affordable CRM platforms available to the small business.
This software removes the need to use spreadsheets, ledgers, and sticky notes to track contacts and customer activity. It can integrate into your marketing software so all of your marketing, lead-generation, and customer activity is in one place.
The confusion a CRM can help your staff avoid and the time it can save is considerable. At Marketing 360®, you can use our CRM for free, so cost is not an issue.
The biggest question you need to ask is do you have enough contact and customer information to warrant CRM software. Also, is it to your advantage to be able to access this info in the cloud. If your business is very small, you might skip it.
However, because it’s easy to use and free, there’s little reason not to try it. If it helps your business, that can only be good.
Social Media Marketing
Of all the digital marketing channels we’ve discussed, social media marketing requires the most discernment.
For some businesses with an active target audience on social media, marketing there is indispensable. For others, the effort creates only a trickle of awareness and little trackable ROI.
Likewise, not all channels are created equal. Your business may do well connecting on Facebook, while Twitter provides nothing.
A question to ask is whether it’s worth it to hire someone to do social media marketing management for you, or can you just dabble with it yourself?
If you are creating retargeting lists, maintaining a major presence on a channel and getting a lot of business from it, then hiring a professional is worth it. If, on the other hand, you’re just creating basic awareness and trying to use it as a touch point for client retention, you may be able to manage it internally.
Social media channels are free to use, so at least a minor effort does no harm to any business. Like all marketing channels, the real test is in the return. Find what works best for you and prioritize it. And don’t be afraid to move away from a channel that doesn’t seem to help you connect with your target audience.