The digital presence of your business is one of the first things potential customers will notice. From fashion through to technology, if your online business etiquette and branding doesn’t represent your goals, values and services, you are losing customers. That’s why your business needs digital marketing strategies.
Think of a strategy as your digital marketing business plan: outlining your business goals, target customers, budgeting and action plans. Successful digital marketing campaigns require detail and thorough market research, something a small business owner probably doesn’t have time for. So what can you do?
Marketing Strategies for your Small Business
A marketing strategy is an achievable and focused plan of action used to help you reach a specific business goal. Within your strategy, you should be determining the different marketing tactics, tools and assets you plan to use in achieving that end goal.
For a small business, I imagine you want to funnel your potential customers through a website to purchase your products or services. Your goal should be more specific than that. For example, if you’re releasing a new product in a few months, you should be generating an audience who are waiting for that specific release. That means you need to find those people, target them, and keep them engaged with your brand.
A digital marketing campaign is an online marketing effort put forward by a company to drive engagement, conversions, traffic, or revenue. The campaign ties in with the overarching goals of the organisation and includes one or more digital channels in the efforts. A great digital marketing campaign can help a company build a strong online reputation, increase brand awareness and encourage traffic and sales conversions.
Digital Marketing for Small Business Owners
As intimidating as digital marketing is, once you understand the processes involved it becomes pretty passive. You just need to spend some time thinking about who your business is for and how you can appeal to that audience. Here’s how to get started with digital marketing as a beginner:
- Research Campaigns by Leading Competitors
- Understand your Target Audience
- Communicate with Potential Customers
- Get to Grips with Free Digital Marketing Tools
- Take Advantage of Word of Mouth
Move your Storefront Online
I don’t mean it literally. By moving your storefront online, I mean making your business accessible and present to those looking for you. Do you know how many times I’ve tried to search the menu of a local takeaway? Too many, I’ll tell you that. Point is: if I can’t even find your menu, I can’t order.
A business without website, in my opinion, is losing a lot of potential customers. I understand small businesses focus, well, on the business, but times are changing and people aren’t stumbling upon your store anymore. People are travelling with intent. You need people to travel with intent to you.
Now, your website doesn’t need to be complicated or even interfere with your business as you know it! Upload who you are, what you do, some products and testimonials, then have customers get in touch the traditional ways. There’s no need for fancy appointments or calendars, not even Emails!
One thing to consider when making your website is search engine optimisation (SEO), otherwise your website is a little pointless. SEO is what makes you come up at the top of the list when someone searches Google for your business.
Inexpensive Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses
Perhaps you have a budget ready to invest in your digital marketing strategies but don’t know where to start. Do you pay for advertisements, buy marketing tools or pay a digital marketing expert to take care of it all? It all depends on your skills and budget size, and I can’t tell you what to do. What I can do is break down some cheap marketing ideas for small businesses so you can make an informed decision.
Money really can buy anything and it’s more than true when it comes to online marketing. They are an obvious choice for someone with money to spend, as your products and services are promoted to the exact people who need them (otherwise known as your target audience).
Cheap Digital Marketing Tools
The definition of affordable marketing tools probably ranges depending on your business income and background. My breakdown considers platforms which I recommend for beginners in digital marketing, looking at price, simplicity and results. If you’re looking for in-depth SEO software, this is not the place. This is for small business owners who want to focus on their trade without falling behind the times.
Think with Google – Free
A product of Google, this tool helps you to see exactly what your target audience is searching for online. This is perfect for market research and content creation ideas, to help draw potential customers in.
UberSuggest – £29 GBP/Month
As much as you can use UberSuggest for free, your SEO research is super limited. Luckily, compared to other SEO research solutions, UberSuggest costs £29 a month compared with SEMRush and Moz’s $99 a month pricing. For a beginner in search engine optimisation, a cheap and easy-to-use alternative is best.
MailChimp – Free up-to 2000 Subscribers
Given this is for your small business, I imagine 2000 email subscribers would be the dream! It also means you can use MailChimp to manage your email marketing for free. You create an email list of subscribers to keep them engaged with your business, whether that’s purchasing new products or for generating traffic.
Canva – Free with Paid Options
A popular tool used by marketers is Canva, a free online, template-based graphics service. Canva is brilliant for creating a recognisable brand and easing the development process for visual marketing. Even with the free version, you can invest in third-party templates (such as my simple instagram templates) to keep a strict budget.
HootSuite – £25 GBP/Month
Between maintaining your business, optimising your online presence and keeping up with an email list, now you’ve got to promote your business across social media. That’s posting quality content to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter almost everyday to keep an engaged audience! Who has the time for that? HootSuite offers unlimited social media scheduling for £25 – that means you can schedule all social media posts for a month in one go!
Tailwind – Free with Paid Options
If you’re in the business of offering online services or products, fashion, beauty or food, then you should already be using Pinterest to generate traffic to your website and/or social media. Tailwind is a service which allows you to join tribes (groups of similar accounts) to share content and expand each others reach.