Marketing for a small business is difficult, especially in the face of everchanging digital trends. Running a small business requires wearing multiple hats, from finance to operations, and marketing tends to be one of the core components that is overlooked.
However, small businesses have the most to gain from digital marketing, if implemented correctly. Digital marketing provides a unique route to market enabling you to communicate with your customers directly, and build a long-term, loyal demographic. This factor, combined with the exposure gained to new customers, is what makes digital marketing such a powerful tool for small businesses.
The bigger challenges tend to be, “So, where do I start?” And while much of that will rely on what you want to achieve with your business, here are four digital marketing activities that are crucial for any small business:
1) Social media
First and foremost, it is integral to have a social media presence for your small business. While some choose to join multiple platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, others choose to focus on one platform. Social media strategy tends to be complex, but there are some questions that can help you define your goals and build a clear plan towards success:
- How much time do you have to dedicate to social media? One platform or multiple?
- Is your goal to gain exposure to new audiences, or build a better relationship with current customers?
- How much your marketing budget can you allocate towards social media?
- Is your brand more centered around visuals (i.e. product photos) or narratives (i.e. customer testimonials) — this can help you decide which platform is better suited.
These are only a few questions to get you started in constructing a strategy. Having goals in place will help you build a more focused plan that cuts straight to the important matter, and you can adjust accordingly. Having benchmarks in place and dedicated performance indicators will also help you define success in this area.
Blogging allows for a general marketing approach and gives you a dedicated space to tout how great your brand is. Blogs can serve as general website content to give customers more information or as a lead generation tool for prospects. You do not need to post often, but it is important to post consistently.
Defining a narrative focus is important since that will help you plan your content accordingly. Do you want the blog to serve as an informational piece? If so, your content should revolve around providing readers with advice and tips. If it serves more for promotional purposes, your content can be about your products and your unique selling points.
3) Email marketing
This the most important tool for direct customer engagement, and should be a pillar of your digital marketing strategy. Email marketing allows you to connect with new and existing customers, prospects, and promote your business in a personalized way. Email marketing has many dimensions, from automation to segmentation, but in the beginning, start small.
Start with your current customer base, and think about what kind of content will interest them to develop content. Your blogs and email marketing can work in tandem, and provide a blend of information and promotional content. If you have no email data at all, think about ways you can build that. Website opt-ins, discount coupons for joining lists are just some options you can use to build this network.
4) Web presence
The fourth element tying all of these different activities together is an active web presence. This serves as your content hub, and where customers should come to for information, questions, and placing orders.
Think of your web presence as a new form of business cards, and where all customer engagement should be directed to. Whether customers learn about your brand via social media or receive an email, it should ideally lead them to a website where they can learn more and directly engage with your business.
Though adopting a digital marketing strategy might seem daunting, it does not have to be. Knowing which activities to implement is the first step, and the rest will come together as you go forward. And if you feel overwhelmed, you can always start with one activity and take it from there. To learn more about how digital marketing can make your small business attain new levels of success, and help you attain better revenue streams, please contact us today.