Digital Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses

Your competitors have digital marketing strategies to reach customers online. If you don’t have one in place, you’re falling behind, and it’s time to change that.

Check out some digital marketing strategies and implement them immediately so you can catch up to your competitors. With these approaches, you can overtake them and lead the pack.

1. Start With Local Search Marketing

First impressions mean everything when trying to drum up a new business, so you need to begin the marketing process by creating a killer website. The design itself is actually more important than the content. Most first impressions are based on the design, and you can expect some snap judgments based on how your website looks.

A Real World Example

Let’s say that there are two law firms sitting right next to each other. You walk into the first one and find it’s disorganized and the staff is rude. Then you walk into the second firm, and it’s clean, perfectly decorated, organized, and staffed with kind and helpful people. Based on that initial impression, you’ll go with the second law firm.

The same is true when it comes to web design. When you have a nicely designed site, you will build trust with people before they even walk through your firm’s front door.

Consider the User’s Point of View

When designing your website, you need to think about the user’s point of view. What will they want to see when they click on your website?

They want a website that is visually appealing and easy to navigate. If you can accomplish that, you will make a great first impression.

When it comes to navigation, avoid poor interface design and layouts that are too complex. Your website should use breadcrumbs, so people do not have to figure out how to get back to the starting point.

You also need to think about how you use color. The right colors evoke trust and make people want to call your firm.

Also, be mindful of how you use pop-ups. While pop-ups can be helpful from a marketing standpoint, they should never be intrusive.

2. Optimize Your Website

If your website isn’t optimized for people and search engines, visitors will get impatient and search engines will ignore you. That’s bad news on both fronts.

How do you accomplish this? Your website needs to load quickly (preferably in two seconds or less) or people will leave before they see what you have to offer. It should be easy to navigate and include breadcrumbs so people can go back to previous pages with ease. Also, don’t forget the call-to-action. Examples of a call-to-action include “Call Now,” “Place an Order,” and “Get Directions.”

You also need to optimize your website for mobile users. Google will push your site down in the rankings if it isn’t mobile-ready, so make sure it is.

3. Do Some Link Building

High-quality links that point to your site show Google and other search engines that your website is popular and an authority in the industry. If you get enough high-quality links, your site will move up in the search results.

Avoid spam links, as they will hurt your site. Instead, conduct a search for local blogs and business owners. Ask bloggers if you can write posts for them that link to your site and do a link exchange with local businesses.

Also, if you’re running a promotion, reach out to local news sites. They might put it up on their website for you, creating a very powerful link.

4. Don’t Forget About Keywords

People use keywords to find websites online, so you need to include the right keywords in your marketing campaign. Start with the Google AdWords Keyword Planner to get some keyword ideas. You can also use Google Trends to find out which keywords are hot right now.

Next, go to Google and type in keywords related to your industry. As you type, you’ll see some suggestions come up. Use those keywords as well.

Once you come up with a list of keywords, insert them naturally into your website. Don’t engage in keyword stuffing, though, since Google will penalize your site for that. Also, keyword stuffing hurts the user experience.

5. Gather Email Addresses

When you walk up to pay for items at a store, the cashier likely asks you for your email address. This tactic is employed to allow the company to engage in email marketing.

Have your employees ask for email addresses and compile a database. Then, email your customers to inform them about specials and promotions. You should also use email to solicit online reviews.

Don’t email every day or you might annoy your customers. Occasional emails are very powerful, though.

6. Keep an Eye on Your Reputation

You might think that big brands are the only ones that need to worry about reputation management, but that’s not the case. Brands of all sizes, including small businesses, need to monitor their reputations.

Keeping an eye on your reputation is actually pretty easy. Google Alerts allows you to set up alerts for your business. Google will email you every time an article mentions your company.

You also need to monitor your reputation on social media. Radiate360 is one of the many social media reputation management tools out there. You will find out what people post about your company on social media channels when you use one of these tools.

Look at all of the information you receive and respond accordingly. You’ll need to engage with customers and fix problems that arise.

7. Build Your Network

As a small business owner, it’s important that you build a network of other business owners and customers. LinkedIn is a professional social networking site and it will help you do just that. When you create a business page on the site, you can grow awareness for your brand and connect with others. Join groups and use the friend suggestion feature to connect with people.

8. Promote Events

You want as many people as possible to come to your events, so you need to promote them. Facebook is an excellent way to create and promote events. Create an event on the site and then promote it to your followers. Then, do the same on Eventbrite.

You’ll be surprised by the number of people who have yet to hear of your businesses who stumble upon your event. That’s an excellent way to expand your customer base.

9. Don’t Forget to Create a Social Strategy

Most businesses are on social media these days, and you don’t want to be left behind. Facebook is an excellent place to start. Post on the site at least two times a week to stay fresh in your customers’ minds.

Expand past Facebook to include other networks as well. The networks you should include depend on your business, but consider LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Word to the wise: don’t post the same messages across all channels. Post something new and fresh on each channel so that people don’t see repeat messages from you.

10. Run Facebook Ads

Do you want to reach a ton of people in a short period of time? If so, it’s time to use Facebook ads. You can use these ads to get more followers, send people to your website, and increase your brand awareness. With so many ad types, there is something for everyone.

It does take some know-how to dive into these ads. You need to create customized lists to reach your market and you also need to think about the messaging and budget. Consider going with a pro to get the best results.

11. Use Live Video

Live video is an effective marketing strategy which allows a company to connect with its customers. Creating a connection builds trust and makes people more likely to shop at your company.

Live video is the perfect strategy to engage with your customers. Use live video to show off products or services, talk about promotions or deals, and provide a behind-the-scenes look at your company. You can even use it to profile your employees.

Live videos have an excellent reach on Instagram and Facebook. Both sites send out notifications to your followers when you go live, and many will go to the network to see what you have to say.

12. Include Video on Your Google My Business Listing

Google announced an exciting change recently. Now, companies can add video to Google My Business listings. The video will appear right next to the photos and can be a great selling tool. Use the video to answer questions, provide information, and give people a reason to visit your business.

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