How digital marketing can help small businesses to grow
For small businesses, it can be daunting to know how to grow your business on a limited budget. That’s where digital marketing comes in.
When businesses are starting out, they can often overlook the benefits of digital marketing platforms as they put all their efforts into the delivery of their products and services. This is understandable in the short term, however, thinking about the long term, it pays to invest in digital marketing platforms as soon as you can so you can build up your presence online.
Digital marketing covers a wide range of channels and platforms that are accessed online. Sometimes called online marketing, digital marketing typically refers to marketing campaigns that are delivered on computers, smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices.
Digital marketing can take many forms including video, display advertising, search engine marketing, social media, email, and more. Digital marketing is a branch of marketing that is separate from “traditional” marketing which usually includes print, billboards, direct mail, radio, and television.
Why is digital marketing important for small businesses?
Unlike traditional marketing platforms, digital marketing is often much more cost-effective and more measurable. For small businesses, this means that you can extend the overall reach of your business for less.
Digital marketing channels are extremely accessible. According to Statista, there are over 5 billion internet users worldwide in 2022 with 4.65 billion social media users. For small businesses, that is a lot of potential customers to market to online.
Another huge advantage of digital marketing versus traditional marketing channels is targeting. A magazine ad, a billboard or a TV ad can be seen by anyone who picks up the magazine, drives past the billboard or watches the TV. They may not be in your target demographic and may have no interest in what you are selling.
Digital marketing, on the other hand, presents the opportunity to target your marketing activity using some very detailed demographic data as well as interest-based advertising. This means that your digital marketing content is much more likely to be seen by people interested in your products or services, making digital marketing much more effective and cost-efficient.
Best types of digital marketing for small businesses
With so many channels and platforms to choose from, it can be difficult for small businesses to know where to invest their time and money. Here are some of the best digital marketing platforms for small businesses:
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
For any business, large or small, a website is an essential part of your digital marketing efforts and should be the main focus of your efforts online. Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the process of optimising the content on your website for the keywords that people are searching for in search engines like Google or Bing.
By optimising your content for those keywords, you have a better chance of ranking on the first page of the search results for those keywords, helping to drive valuable (and free) organic traffic to your website.
SEO includes two key aspects: technical and content. It is important that your website is built in the right way from a technical perspective. This means it should be fast to load, should be accessible on all devices and should make it easy for users to navigate to the information they are looking for. It should also be easy for search engines to crawl and index the content on your site.
When it comes to content, you should optimise your copy and supporting content including videos and images for the keywords that people are searching for. Optimising copy like page titles, headings and body copy will help Google to understand more about your business and the products and services you offer.
Heavily linked to the practice of SEO is content marketing. Content marketing has evolved into its own discipline due to the importance of content as part of your overall SEO strategy.
Content marketing encompasses a wide range of tactics and can include the following:
- Blog posts
Content marketing is used not only to help you to optimise your website for the keywords you have identified but also to educate, entertain or inform the visitors to your website.
There is now an expectation that a website will provide entertaining and helpful content experiences and it is important to factor this into your digital marketing strategy.
Leading sports betting brand Betway recognised the importance of content marketing. Whilst the primary goal of the website is to encourage visitors to place bets on sporting events, they recognised that they needed to add value to those customers by providing high-quality content that would help them to make more informed decisions. They have a comprehensive content strategy that includes interviews with leading athletes and betting tips.
Content like this is adding value to the customer experience and is something small businesses should be taking advantage of.
Social Media Marketing
The final platform small businesses should invest in is social media. Social media presents a great opportunity to reach out and communicate directly with your target audience and customers and this is becoming an important part of any digital marketing strategy.
It is important to be selective when it comes to your social media activity. Too many businesses try and be present across all social media platforms, however, if you don’t have the time to manage them all effectively, then this can do more harm than good.
It is important to identify the platforms where your target audience is most likely to be active – whether this is Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Twitter or LinkedIn for example.
It is important to publish high-quality content on your social media platforms, as well as post at the right time. You also need to be responsive across all platforms, getting back to comments and direct messages in a timely manner as this is an expectation and an important part of your customer service experience – another reason not to spread yourself too thin.
With more people than ever working from home, it’s important to manage and monitor your online presence across all social media platforms as well as set expectations when it comes to responding to customers.
Digital marketing is an essential part of growing your business and this is particularly true for small businesses. Invest in the right platforms and you will not only see your business grow, but you will also improve your overall customer experience and foster a loyal customer base.