Small businesses these days have to maintain an online presence to remain competitive in the marketplace. Digital marketing has become the norm in every sector, and to succeed, small businesses must invest in upgrading their online marketing efforts.
Unfortunately, most small businesses think online marketing is all about posting a few photos on social media and leaving it at that. The truth is digital marketing is far more involved these days, and it takes work to succeed at it.
Here are 4 digital marketing channels and tasks you must master to make an impact on your customers and ensure a steady stream of new clients through your doors.
1. Email marketing
Emails might seem old-fashioned these days, but they remain one of the best ways of getting in touch with your desired clients and customers. The trick is to personalize them and avoid sending anything that looks like spam. Email marketing is typically executed via newsletters.
There are many email newsletter service providers out there and you can choose the best-looking templates for your business. If you’re sending emails to consumers directly (that is, people without a business email), you must watch out for Gmail’s filtering system.
Gmail typically filters anything that resembles a newsletter away from the user’s primary inbox. This means new prospects won’t know you exist unless they add your email to their address book. One way of getting around this challenge is to send plain text emails and avoid fancy templates.
You can send templated emails to existing customers since they’ll likely have added you to their address book. Pay special attention to your email signatures as well. Use an online tool to generate an email signature that catches your recipient’s eyes.
You can include documents, special content, and links to your social media profiles in your signature and drive more traffic to your store. If your business is entirely online, then including your lead magnets in your signature is a no-brainer.
In short, pay attention to your email marketing campaigns and always respect your users’ privacy. They’ll reward you with more sales and profits. Best of all, email marketing is close to free.
2. PPC ads
PPC stands for Pay-Per-Click and refers to paid ads you see on social media. Facebook and Google are the biggest PPC ad networks out there, given their massive user bases. With PPC ads, you’ll have to conduct research around what your audience likes to search online and serve them ads that appeal to their interests.
Facebook’s Ads Manager platform helps you define your audience size and target them with your ads. Note that your ad copy and images have to pass Facebook’s criteria to be published. Facebook’s algorithm targets people based on their interests and gives you a wealth of data to manage your campaigns.
Google’s system offers more freedom in choosing the audiences you’d like to target. The company’s keyword tool helps you isolate keywords that people are searching for and bid for ad positions in the search results. Google’s position algorithm is complex and takes a range of factors into account.
At the end of the day, you pay only for the clicks your ad generated. Thus, PPC advertising is more efficient than advertising in physical media where you have fixed costs. However, the competition is greater in PPC. Either way, PPC is a great way of getting your product in front of the right audiences, and testing different versions of your ad is the key.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and is one of the most powerful ways of directing traffic to your website. The premise of SE is very simple. Be as helpful as possible and offer value to your audience. Google will help them find you.
The problem with SEO is that it takes time, and you need a lot of patience. If you’re going up against established competitors, then fitting attention via SEO is going to be challenging. This is why using PPC ads to push your products at first helps.
SEO used to be fairly straightforward and open to loopholes. For instance, businesses would stuff keywords into their content and expect traffic to come flooding through. However, Google’s algorithm has become smarter over the years, and every update has removed the efficacy of these black-hat methods.
Instead, think of what your users want and how well your product serves their needs. In this sense, SEO is a meritocracy. The best content always wins. Create relationships in your niche online and post your content on related websites. When these websites link back to you (called backlinks) your authority with Google increases, and you’ll find traffic increasing.
SEO requires a lot of patience, but it’s worth it. The biggest reason is that it’s completely free. A user searches for a topic and lands on your page. There’s no payment involved in this process and the traffic you receive is fully organic. Unlike paid ads where you pay per visit, SEO leads to free traffic.
Thus, invest in SEO at all times and be patient. Once it pays off, you’ll find the ROI from your marketing budget will increase immensely.
4. Website copy
Website copy is not directly related to marketing, but it is a sales outlet. Your website hosts your products and services, and it helps customers form a first impression of your business. A clumsily designed website with uninformative copy is going to turn people away.
If you have a monopoly in your niche, your website is probably not that important. However, given the way consumers shop these days, a single competitor with a great website can draw business away from you.
Copy refers to the words your website contains. Copy is essential when designing a website since your words help remove any objections and convince the visitor to buy your product. For instance, if you’re selling a highly technical product, you must anticipate all objections and provide the most helpful product description to remove any objections before purchase.
Pay attention to the quality of your website’s copy, and you’ll automatically begin attracting more ales from your visitors.
Challenging, but rewarding
Online marketing for small businesses is challenging. However, there are many rewards on the offer. From better conversions to higher sales, investing in digital marketing is worth every penny for small businesses.