Regardless of the nature, scope, and current reach of your small business, you need a digital marketing strategy. It is what will distinguish your business from others, and allow you to capture more opportunities as people search for similar products and services on the web. What’s worse, if you don’t have a digital marketing strategy in place, you will be left eating the dust of your competitors who do.
Below are some practical tips for any small company like yours about to explore digital marketing strategies for the first time in order to grow their business.
1) Have a website
Whether informational or transactional, this can’t be emphasized enough – a website is a must! A comprehensive digital marketing strategy will not push through without a website of your own. At the very least, it should include information about your business, products, services, location, operating hours, and contact. Another point to consider is optimizing the website’s metadata from the title tag down to the descriptive alt text for images. Use keywords related to your business in these tags.
2) Make it mobile-friendly
We are in a mobile-first era. Expectedly, your website must be mobile-friendly. People are always on the move, and now they are even being assisted by mobile virtual aides such as Siri and Cortana. Hence, they want services to be available when they search for them on their mobile devices. In fact, even before a person lands at your doorstep, the chances are high he has already searched for your company online.
3) Have clear calls to action
Regardless of how you want your prospects to end up on your website, your goal is to guide their journey. Make the transition as smooth as possible by making it clear what you want them to do each step of the way. Should they:
- book an appointment?
- call a hotline?
- fill out a form for a free estimate?
- download an ebook?
Decide what you want people to do on each page of your website, and tell them!
4) Provide various contact methods
Make communicating with you as easy as possible. Give your prospects options such as live chat, phone number, social accounts, email, and the combination of these. Make sure that you respond to and accommodate each inquiry within a few hours — you are probably not the only company they are contacting and you want to reach them back first.
5) Include a blog
If there’s one winning feature of a website, that would be a blog. It’s a place where you can control what you publish and your messaging. Blogs are useful not just for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes, but also for demonstrating your knowledge and expertise about the subject that matters to you and your audience most. A blog is thus great for positioning you as an authority. People like to buy from knowledgeable authorities who know their stuff.
6) Publish content regularly
A blog is useless if it isn’t publishing unique, informative, and share-worthy content on a regular basis. Aim for at least two posts per week (hire an outside writer if you need help). Regular publication helps prove relevance. Enable social sharing buttons so readers who find your content useful can share it to others. This drives more traffic to your website for free.
7) Use geo-targeted keywords
For small businesses operating physically, virtually or both, the use of keywords that target the area you serve is advantageous. Include keywords with city or neighborhood name. Put the zip code on the website and social profiles, too. The use of such will allow the local customers to find you when they search for a particular product or service in your place.
8) Post on social sites
Treat social profiles as your closest ally. They are not only great tools to deliver messaging to your target audience, but you can also use these sites to engage in conversations not possible through other means. To win with social media, you need to post regularly. Make your posts entertaining, interesting, and valuable to your audience. Resonate with their needs and interests. Small business owners should at least have a LinkedIn profile at bare minimum.
9) Diversify the posts
To keep the social posts engaging, publish multimedia posts. Include images, videos, GIFs, etc. However, be mindful of your brand values and overall search goals. Make sure that the post will not ruin your online reputation by being too off-brand, such as by using inappropriate humor or getting overly political.
10) Curate content
Share relevant content from other sources on the web which your audience might find interesting. This is an excellent way to keep your social media feeds active without having to come up with a lot of content yourself. Another benefit to this strategy is that you might attract the attention of the person who’s content you have shared, and if they are popular, they might send some traffic your way.
11) Optimize for local listings
Take advantage of Google, Yelp, and other sites which feature listings from local businesses. Make sure that your information includes your brand name, products, services, and the most important keywords for your business. Thus, when a user searches Yelp, for instance, your entry will be displayed in Apple Maps. In Google, a local page shows up in local searches and in Maps, which is a great way for local people to find your business.
12) Keep your information updated
Directories are only as valuable as they are accurate and provide up-to-date contact information. Make sure that you keep track of every directory where your business is listed, and keep the information consistent throughout all your profiles. Update when you change location, hours, phone numbers, etc.
13) Monitor mentions
Good and bad conversations can be created around your brand name, products, and services. Thus, set up alerts to receive notifications whenever a person mentions you in a post, message, or comment. You can do this using Google Alerts or other third-party monitoring tools such as Mention.
14) Monitor online reviews
There is nothing more damning to your credibility that took you years to build than a negative or bad review. Search for your brand name from time to time to know what people are saying or discussing about you and your products and services. A simple Google search alone will reveal discussions that you need to act on. Respond to negative reviews appropriately. Deal with them privately if you can, or post a public rebuttal (without emotion or revenge in mind) to explain the situation and clear your name.
15) Promote positive reviews
After receiving a positive feedback, share it on your website, blog, and social pages. Whenever someone searches for your brand name, they’ll be able to know what others are saying about you. Likewise, ask your customers to share the positive review. The more people who get to see it, the better. Positive reviews actually show in Google results pages.
Your target audience is on the interwebs. The points above are the perfect ways to kick-start your own online marketing strategy. To not implement a strategy and simply wing it will have negative consequences. Remember that your loss is a rival’s gain. Don’t let it happen to your business. Be a smart digital marketer!
Abbeygail is a freelance writer that writes for Optimind Digital, a digital marketing agency based in Manila that provides digital marketing services utilizing the web, social media, search and mobile. She also writes articles with different topics like SEO, mobile application, travel, food and wedding.