How to Implement a Digital Marketing Strategy Into your Small Business
Updated: Feb 10
We are halfway through 2019 and the digital age is in full swing. In our market today, companies like Amazon and eBay have started stealing away a substantial number of customers from their competition through online shopping. They have started making brick and mortar stores question how they do business and how they will remain competitive. Many people are recognizing the convenience and price benefits of shopping online. They are skipping the lines and stocking digital shopping carts from the comfort of their homes. While there is still great value in the type of customer service found in-store, pairing your small business with a digital marketing strategy may help to prevent loss of potential business as this type of shopping experience becomes increasingly popular.
Create an Awesome Website
The first step to creating a digital marketing strategy is to create an engaging website. Your website is the most important source of information for your customers. It needs to capture the main message or theme that you are trying to convey. To create a website, you must first purchase a domain URL on a site like GoDaddy or HostGator which can cost as little as $1 a month. You will then have the option to design your site from scratch or choose a web hosting site. Unless you are a coding expert, I recommend that you use a hosting site like Shopify, WordPress, Drupal, or Squarespace. The right site will enable you to customize and add apps that will give you an almost unlimited number of options for website design and e-commerce.
Find Your Audience
The next critical step in implementing a digital marketing strategy is to find your audience. It is important to identify who is interested in your product or service and who is most likely to buy. Having a good grasp on who those people are will save you precious time and help you create the best product to fit their needs. We all have access today to an incredible tool for finding your audience and it is called social media. Social media shows you who is following you, what they are liking and what they aren’t, how they respond to your content, and how often they are visiting your website. Some of the best social media platforms to use for business are Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter. Get started on one or more of these sites and pay attention to the platform analytics as you start posting out content. Always remember that these are social sites and not solely designed for business, so be mindful of what you are posting and make sure that it provides value to your followers.
Develop Your Email Marketing Campaigns
Email marketing is second only to your website as one of the best ways to generate new online business for your company. Email is a very accepted form of sharing content with consumers and it helps to drive traffic to your site. Having customers subscribe to a weekly or monthly email newsletter will allow them to stay up to date on what is happening in your business. Include content like promotional deals, webinars, how-to articles, and industry tips. Make sure that the materials are consistent with the mission and vision of your company and brand. Identifying what you stand for early on will allow you to connect with an audience and retain their attention.
SEO Like A Pro
With so many companies implementing digital marketing strategies, search engine optimization (SEO) has become a bit of a buzzword among small businesses today. To appreciate SEO, you have to understand that for every search engine that you use – whether it be Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. – there are algorithms that dictate what type of content will appear on the first page of any given search. If your website generates a great deal of traffic or reviews, then it may appear higher in the search results than a website that doesn’t. There are many ways to optimize your search engine results that are simple and will make a big difference for your business. Linking your website to social media, creating blog content, posting photos, using keywords, and tagging are just some of the ways to improve your SEO. Search engines want to make sure they are providing the best results for their users. By creating a robust website with great content and user feedback you are showing companies like Google that you provide value for their customers.
Make it Personal, Make it Authentic
One of the biggest mistakes a small business can make in a digital marketing strategy is to pretend to be larger or shinier than they actually are. Consumers are looking to support companies that they can identify with and feel confident supporting. Make sure to be honest when telling your story because that is what makes your company unique. If you try to present an image that is not reality, people will eventually perceive this and will be more likely to unfollow or unsubscribe. Try to create a digital marketing strategy that captures your passion for what you do and how you started doing it in the first place. Then share your story with your customers and invite them to join you on your journey.
Natalie Smith is a Tampa native and a marketing professional with a passion for nutrition, the written word, traveling, athletics and the ocean. She studied Marketing at the University of South Florida and enjoys boating and playing soccer in her spare time.