Digital marketing is a powerful way for small businesses to reach a wider audience and generate more revenue. The impact of digital marketing on small businesses is so strong, in fact, 95% of small businesses want to ramp up their digital marketing campaigns. To make the most of a digital marketing campaign, small businesses must understand what digital marketing is, how to choose the right channels, and how to use those channels for business promotion.
Importance of Digital Marketing for Small Businesses
Digital marketing is more than 'internet promotion'. This might sound strange, but offline marketing now impacts digital marketing, so it’s a combination of offline (television, billboard, and mobile ads) and online channels (websites, social media, and websites) to reach a broad audience and deliver the right message to the right people. Digital marketing is important for small businesses for the following reasons:
- Every business has an opportunity to succeed: Digital marketing works for businesses of all sizes, so small businesses can compete alongside big businesses.
- It’s affordable: Because so many channels are available through digital marketing, small businesses can choose those that meet their budgetary constraints.
- Boosts conversion rates: Digital marketing drives high traffic volume from a targeted audience, resulting in higher conversions.
- Generates revenue: With more conversions comes more revenue. Small businesses that implement a digital marketing strategy can reach a wider audience, deliver quality content, and close more sales.
- Provides trackable metrics: Using more channels provides more data to help shape future campaigns.
A well-strategised digital marketing campaign can be highly advantageous for small businesses and give them the edge they need to stand apart from the competition.
How to Choose the Right Digital Marketing Channels
Although digital marketing offers numerous channels to promote your business, not all channels are a good fit for your needs. Every channel has its strengths and weaknesses, and while one channel might work for some businesses, it might not work for you. Follow these steps to determine the best digital marketing channels for your small business.
Step 1: Assess Your Priorities
Before you can plan a marketing campaign strategy, you must first consider your objectives. After all, businesses that set goals are 376% more likely to succeed than those that don’t. What are your priorities? Do you want to boost sales? Establish yourself as an industry expert? Raise brand awareness? Once you know what goals you’re trying to reach, you can analyze the various digital marketing channels to choose the ones that will effectively help you achieve your objectives.
Step 2: Know Your Audience
Once you know what your needs are, you should learn the needs of your audience. For a marketing campaign to be successful, you have to deliver the right message to the right people through the channels they use. Learn where your audience spends their time online. Find out what kind of content attracts them and resonates. Discover how they prefer to receive content and who they follow online. All of this insight can help you choose the digital marketing channels that will be most effective for the people you want to reach.
Step 3: Set Your Budget
Before you can map out a solid plan and choose your digital marketing channels, you need to know how much money you can spend. Different channels are available at different price points. Social media marketing is essentially free if you do it yourself, but paid ads or purchasing a content marketing strategy can be more costly. Businesses typically allot 10% of company revenue for marketing. Set your budget, then find out what each digital marketing channel costs. Prioritize your efforts and choose which channels to use now and which to try in the future.
Some digital marketing strategies for businesses on a budget include:
- Social media marketing: Accounts and posts are free. If you want to boost a post for a nominal fee, you can set specific parameters to ensure you stay under budget.
- Blog posts (SEO): It costs virtually nothing to post a high-quality article on a regular basis. You could pay experts to post on your blog to build more authority for your brand, but it isn’t a necessity.
- Page content (products, categories or services - SEO): Again, it costs virtually nothing to ensure your pages have descriptive content.
- Email marketing: Unless you’re using a paid service, email marketing only costs you the time of creating the email and sending it to your contact base.
As you weigh your options, remember to consider ROI and your channels' impact on your long-term marketing success. Using only a free channel may not yield as positive results as a daily blog or actual SEO. In many cases, the more you put into your marketing campaign, the more quickly you’ll see results. Starting small and working your way up could take longer and may not be worth the savings.
Step 4: Learn from Your Competitors
Research your competition and notice what channels they’re utilising. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. If they’re successful, consider following a similar format. If not, find missed opportunities for channels that could yield better results. Paying attention to what others are doing can help flatten the learning curve and give you a head start as you plan your own digital marketing strategy.
How to Promote Your Brand on Digital Channels
Digital marketing provides several effective avenues to promote your brand and deliver valuable information to your audience. Each channel requires its own unique approach for optimal results. Using the insight you gathered from choosing the right channels, here are ways to promote your brand on three of the most frequently-used digital channels.
1. Content Marketing
The best way to build brand awareness and solidify your online presence is through content marketing. Creating custom content that meets the needs of your audience and provides value helps to establish your brand as an authority, drive traffic to your site, and attract leads. Content marketing is ideal for brands interested in:
- Generating leads
- Boosting ROI
- Establishing authority
- Educating your audience
- Telling a story
- Driving traffic
To promote your brand with content marketing, you could create any of the following:
- Infographics: Provide detailed information in an easy-to-digest, eye-catching graphic.
- Blog articles: Deliver expert content that gives readers value.
- Whitepapers: Educate your audience about a topic in your field with an expert explanation.
- Research results: Sharing data from the research you’ve completed establishes you as a thought leader in your industry.
- Downloads/Ebooks: Your audience will see this as a value add and is another way to get them to engage with and convert on your site.
Content marketing helps connect with your audience on a deeper level and provides more material for search engines to scan and apply for SEO rankings.
2. Email Marketing
Nearly everyone uses email at least once a day (mostly more). Email marketing is a useful channel for earning trust among readers with whom you can build deep relationships. Not only is it affordable, but you can also create custom content for highly targeted audiences to achieve maximum results. Email performance is easy to measure, and it enables brands to maintain contact with customers at every stage of their journey.
Using audience research, you can build an email campaign that meets the needs and expectations of your readers. Messages can depict the right tone, use the right language, and include the right multimedia pieces to elicit a positive response. Email marketing is great for companies that want to:
- Generate leads
- Build ROI
- Develop meaningful relationships with your audience
- Raise brand awareness
- Funnel sales
Email marketing is simple, affordable, and is a channel with which people are already familiar.
3. Social Media Marketing
Since 4.48 billion people use social media, it’s a channel full of marketing potential. Social media marketing allows brands to reach a wider audience yet apply precise targeting to hone in on a niche market. This allows businesses to deliver meaningful content to the right audience at the right time. Social networks are all about connecting with people. Comments and chat forums help brands form personal relationships with readers. Social media marketing affords a more casual approach, so companies can appear more relatable.
Social media is also an effective way to gain more insight into your audience. Not only do these networks provide demographic data for targeting. You can also monitor comments and chat threads to learn about potential pain points and frustrations. Use all of this information to create a targeted ad for a large audience that helps earn quality leads.
Social marketing is helpful for companies looking to:
- Build relationships
- Raise brand awareness
- Funnel sales
- Target your audience
Promote your business through social media marketing by engaging with the following platforms:
- Facebook: Create quality posts that deliver valuable information and invite readers to share or engage with comments.
- Instagram: Post eye-catching photos that generate conversations and get people interacting with your brand and each other.
- LinkedIn: Businesses can create short posts or longer articles that educate other professionals.
- YouTube: Create frequent video posts that give demonstrations or provide in-depth information about specific topics in your industry.
- TikTok: Create hashtag challenges to connect audience members and generate interaction and brand awareness.
Like anything else, each social media platform caters to and attracts a specific audience. Only use the channels that make sense for your particular target market.
Digital marketing is appealing because it works for businesses of all sizes. Understanding its importance and learning how to choose the right channels is essential to creating a successful digital marketing campaign. Only then can you understand how to promote on these channels for ultimate success. Digital marketing for small businesses can be essential to setting brands apart from the competition and converting prospects into customers.