Small Business Digital Marketing

Chapter 01: Digital Marketing for Small Business

How Can Digital Marketing Help My Small Business?

Gone are the days of relying solely on print ads, coupon mailers, or billboards to reach new customers. Today, the new marketing frontier is almost entirely digital.

Consumers spend more time than ever Googling answers, playing on their smartphones, and posting on social media. This presents the perfect opportunity for small businesses to invest in digital marketing, allowing you to reach your target audience where they already are.

Digital marketing allows you to:

  • Target your ideal audience for less money than traditional marketing methods.
  • Reach a global audience, at scale.
  • Track responses and measure the success of your marketing efforts.
  • Quickly and easily adjust your strategy and tactics.

In this post, we’ll explore five different digital marketing strategies, how much you should spend on digital marketing, and more. Let’s dive in.

What Are Digital Marketing Strategies I Should Focus On?

It may be tempting to invest in the newest digital trend or copy your competitors’ campaigns, but your digital marketing strategy will only succeed if it is customized to your business, your goals, and your target audience.

While we can’t recommend the strategies you should focus on, here are five of the most common digital marketing activities to spark your creativity:

  • Email marketing: Once you’ve invested in email software, it’s free and easy to communicate directly with your customers whenever you want. Unlike other marketing activities which are optimized to reach as many people possible with the same, broad message, personalizing and segmenting your email campaigns allow you to communicate on a one-to-one basis. Email marketing is also flexible, allowing you to send welcome emails to build relationships with new customers, automated nurture emails to remove manual, repetitive work, or promotional emails to announce limited-time offers.
  • Content marketing: Content marketing is not traditional advertising, which interrupts your audience to persuade them to make a purchase. Instead, content marketing focuses on creating educational, valuable content that will resonate with and help your target audience. Types of content marketing include video, how-to posts, infographics, thought leadership articles, original research, interviews, and more. The second important piece of content marketing is how you’ll distribute that content, either through your blog, website, social media, paid advertising, or email marketing.
  • SEO: Search engine optimization, also known as SEO, goes hand-in-hand with content marketing. Investing in SEO allows your target audience to organically find your website when searching for important keywords on search engines, primarily Google. To get started with SEO, you must first conduct keyword research to identify the words and phrases for which you should be optimizing (Google keyword planner is a great resource). Once you have a list of keywords, you can start to create in-depth, meaningful content about those topics and perform on-page optimization, like updating title tags.
  • Paid advertising:Investing advertising money with Facebook, Twitter, or Google can help you expand your reach and connect with the right types of people. There are three primary types of paid advertising: user acquisition ads, engagement ads, and retargeting ads. User acquisition ads are focused on just that — acquiring new users. One of the most popular user acquisition strategies is to invest in Google Adwords, which allow you to display text-based ads when users type in a certain keyword. Engagement ads focus on driving engagement with the content you promote and are most often used on social media (think: promoting a new blog post to your Facebook page). And lastly, retargeting ads target customers based on their previous actions and behavior. For example, you could retarget everyone who viewed a certain page on your website or everyone who signed up for a free trial, but didn’t convert.
  • Organic social media: Creating an online presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat allows you to continue the conversation with your current and potential customers, deepening that relationship and building trust. Social media also offers another distribution channel for your content marketing as well as a reliable way to gather customer feedback and respond to customer support inquiries. Before you choose to invest in social media, make sure to do your research and choose the one or two platforms that will make the most sense to your business. If you know your customers don’t spend time on Snapchat, for example, it’s not worth building your presence there.

How do I Market My Small Business Online?

It’s not enough to simply pick a digital marketing strategy and run with it. Before you implement any new campaign, you need to spend time researching and understanding your customers.

Here are three ways to start:

  1. Find your target audience online: Identify who your target audience is and where they spend time online. Don’t know where to start? Look at your competitors’ digital marketing strategies — where are they engaging their customers? Have they left any gaps that your brand could fill?
  2. Deliver personalized messaging: Once you identify who your target audience is, think about what you have to say to them. Or, more accurately, what your customers need to know and how you can help them. Do you need to educate them on your product or service? What about offering industry best practices? Don’t be afraid to test your messaging in this stage. If you start small and test your content with a small group of people, you can apply your learnings as you start to scale to other digital channels.
  3. Entice them to take action: Your digital marketing strategy will be for nothing if you don’t have strong calls to action. These calls to action should tie back to the goals you set in the planning stage. For example, if your goal is to increase downloads of digital content, your call to action would be, “Download now” or “Get XYZ for free.”

What Should My Budget Be for Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing spend has consistently increased by double-digit increments each year, with the average budget hovering around $75,000 in 2017 or 35 percent of overall marketing costs.

Calculating a digital marketing budget will look different for each company and is based on a variety of unique factors, like revenue, goals, and resources.

Here are three ways to determine your digital marketing budget:

  1. Look at customer lifetime value: Your customer lifetime value (CLV) represents the total net profit your company will make from any given customer. Identifying this number can help you determine how much money you should spend on acquiring new customers or encouraging repeat business through marketing activities. For example, let’s say your CLV is $150. This means that you would want to spend less than $150 to acquire new customers in order to stay profitable. The easiest way to calculate CLV is to divide your total revenue by the total number of customers.
  2. Consider your goals: What do you want to achieve through digital marketing? Depending on how aggressive your goals are, you may need to increase your budget. For example, increasing engagement on social media is cheaper than acquiring new customers. Compare your goals with the available marketing channels to calculate cost.
  3. Refer to industry benchmarks: Find out how much other companies in your industry are spending. You can research digital marketing reports online to get some benchmark data, talk to digital marketing agencies to get some context, or attend networking events to connect with other marketing professionals in your industry.

Final Thoughts

Digital marketing allows you to get closer to your customers than ever before. You can start a conversation on social media with a simple @ sign, send a survey via email to ask them questions, or track how they behave on your website. All these learnings will help you optimize your digital marketing campaigns and ultimately create a better, more personalized experience for your customers.