Are you a small business owner looking to get ahead in today’s digital world? Building a solid digital marketing strategy can be a game-changer for small businesses, helping you reach a wider audience, generate leads, and drive sales.
In this valuable article, we’ll walk you through the steps to creating a successful digital marketing strategy, from identifying your target audience and setting goals, to choosing the right channels and measuring your results. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to take your small business to the next level!
What is Digital Marketing?
Digital marketing is the use of digital channels and technologies to promote and sell products or services. It includes a wide range of tactics, such as social media marketing, email marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, and more.
Digital marketing is important for small businesses because it allows them to reach a larger audience and compete with larger companies. It also provides a more cost-effective and measurable way to advertise and reach customers compared to traditional marketing methods.
There are many different digital marketing channels and tactics that small businesses can utilize, including:
Social media marketing: Using social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, to promote products and engage with customers.
Email marketing: Sending marketing messages to a list of email subscribers in order to promote products or services.
SEO: Optimizing a website for relevant keywords in order to improve its visibility in search engine results.
PPC advertising: Placing ads on search engine results pages or other websites and paying only when someone clicks on the ad.
Content marketing: Creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience.
Influencer marketing: Partnering with influencers, or individuals with a large following on social media, to promote products or services.
Small businesses can choose to focus on one or a few of these tactics, or use a combination of them to create a comprehensive digital marketing strategy.
Steps to Building Digital Marketing Strategy for a Small Business
Below is a quick highlight of the steps involved in utilising digital marketing for a small businesses:
Determine your target audience: Determining your target audience is an important step in any digital marketing strategy. Your target audience is the group of people you want to reach and engage with through your marketing efforts. Identifying your target audience can help you tailor your marketing messages and tactics to better meet their needs and interests.
To research and identify your target audience, you can consider the following factors:
Demographics: This includes characteristics such as age, gender, location, income level, education level, and more.
Behaviours: This includes things like purchasing habits, online activities, and interests.
Needs: Consider the specific needs and problems that your products or services can solve for your target audience.
There are a variety of tools and resources available to help you research and identify your target audience. These can include:
Google Analytics: This free tool provides information about the visitors to your website, such as their location, age, gender, and interests.
Social media insights: Most social media platforms provide insights about your followers, including demographics and interests.
Customer surveys: Asking your current customers about their demographics and needs can provide valuable information about your target audience.
Market research reports: There are many market research companies that offer reports on specific industries or target audiences.
By understanding your target audience, you can create marketing messages and tactics that are more relevant and effective. This can help you attract and retain customers, and ultimately grow your business.
Set goals and objectives: it is important to identify your business goals and then set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) objectives.
Your business goals are the broad, long-term outcomes you hope to achieve through your digital marketing efforts. These might include increasing brand awareness, generating leads, improving customer retention, or increasing sales.
To achieve these goals, you need to set specific, measurable objectives. These should be specific, meaning they are clear and specific enough that you can track your progress. They should also be measurable, meaning you can track your progress using metrics such as website traffic, conversions, or sales.
Your objectives should also be achievable, meaning they are realistic given your resources and capabilities. They should be relevant, meaning they are aligned with your business goals and target audience. And finally, they should be time-bound, meaning you set a deadline for achieving them.
By setting SMART objectives, you can create a roadmap for your digital marketing efforts and track your progress over time. This will help you measure the effectiveness of your digital marketing efforts and make any necessary adjustments to improve your results.
Choose the right channels for your business: Consider which digital marketing channels will be most effective for reaching your target audience and achieving your business goals. Some common channels for small businesses include:
Social media marketing: This involves using social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to connect with your target audience and promote your products or services.
Email marketing: This involves sending newsletters or promotional emails to a list of subscribers who have opted in to receive emails from your business.
Content marketing: This involves creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience.
Search engine optimization (SEO): This involves optimizing your website and online content to improve your search engine rankings and increase organic traffic to your website.
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising: This involves placing paid ads on search engines or other websites and paying a fee each time someone clicks on your ad.
It is important to carefully consider which channels will be most effective for your business, as well as how much time and resources you are able to devote to each channel. You may want to experiment with a few different channels to see which ones provide the best return on investment for your business.
Create a content marketing strategy: Now that you know who your audience are, your goals and objectives are clearly defined and you have chosen the right channel, it’s time to create a content marketing strategy. Your brand voice and messaging should be consistent with your overall brand identity and the image you want to portray to your audience. This includes your tone, style, and language, as well as the values and message you want to convey.
Once you have defined your brand voice and messaging, you can create a content calendar to plan and schedule your content. This might include blog posts, social media posts, email newsletters, and other types of content. By planning and scheduling your content in advance, you can ensure that you are consistently publishing high-quality content that resonates with your audience.
Measure and analyse your results: it is important to track the performance of your digital marketing efforts and evaluate their effectiveness. This will help you understand what is working well and what areas may need improvement.
There are a variety of tools available to help you measure and analyse your results, such as Google Analytics. Google Analytics is a free web analytics service that provides insights into the traffic and behaviour of your website visitors. It can help you track key metrics such as website traffic, conversion rates, and the sources of your traffic.
To use Google Analytics effectively, you will need to set up tracking on your website and define goals that you want to track, such as form submissions or e-commerce transactions. You can then use the data provided by Google Analytics to evaluate the performance of your digital marketing efforts and make any necessary adjustments to improve your results.
In addition to tracking specific metrics, it is also important to regularly review and analyse the overall effectiveness of your digital marketing efforts. This might involve conducting customer surveys, analysing customer feedback, or comparing your results to industry benchmarks. By regularly reviewing and analysing your results, you can make informed decisions about how to adjust your digital marketing strategy to achieve better results.
Tips to building a successful digital marketing strategy
Here are additional useful tips to building a successful digital marketing strategy in the long run.
Develop a website: Developing a website is an important step for any small business looking to establish an online presence and reach a wider audience. A website can serve as a central hub for your business, providing information about your products or services, contact details, and other important information.
There are several benefits to having a website for a small business, including:
Increased visibility: A website can help you reach a wider audience, especially if you optimize it for search engines.
Professional image: A well-designed website can give your business a professional image and establish credibility with potential customers.
Ease of access: A website allows customers to access information about your business at any time, from any location.
Enhanced customer experience: A website can provide a more convenient and efficient way for customers to interact with your business, such as by making online purchases or booking appointments.
When creating an effective website for your small business, there are a few key considerations to keep in mind:
Clearly define your target audience: Understanding who you are trying to reach with your website will help you design and structure your content in a way that resonates with them.
Keep it simple and easy to navigate: A cluttered or confusing website can be frustrating for users, so aim for a clean and straightforward design.
Include important information: Make sure to include contact details, business hours, and any other relevant information that potential customers might be looking for.
Optimize for mobile: With more and more people accessing the web on their smartphones, it’s important to ensure that your website is mobile-friendly.
There are several options for developing and hosting a website for your small business. You can build your own website using a website builder tool or a content management system (CMS) such as WordPress, or you can hire a web developer to build a custom website for you. You will also need to choose a hosting provider to host your website on a server. There are various hosting options available, ranging from shared hosting to dedicated servers, so be sure to research and choose the one that best meets the needs of your business.
Utilise social media: Utilising social media is not an option for any small business looking to develop a robust marketing approach, it is a must. Social media can be a powerful tool for small businesses looking to reach a wider audience and connect with customers. There are many popular social media platforms to choose from, each with its own unique features and audience demographics. Some of the most popular platforms include:
Facebook: One of the largest and most popular social media platforms, with a diverse user base. It is well-suited for businesses of all sizes and can be used for a variety of purposes, such as promoting products or services, engaging with customers, and sharing company updates.
Instagram: A visually-oriented platform that is popular with younger audiences. It is well-suited for businesses in the fashion, beauty, and lifestyle industries.
Twitter: A microblogging platform that allows users to share short updates and interact with others through the use of hashtags. It is popular with businesses looking to share updates and engage with customers in real-time.
LinkedIn: A professional networking platform that is popular with businesses and job seekers. It is well-suited for B2B marketing and can be used to share company updates, job openings, and thought leadership content.
When using social media for marketing, it’s important to follow best practices to ensure the best results. Some tips for successful social media marketing include:
Identify your goals: Clearly define what you want to achieve with your social media marketing efforts, such as increasing brand awareness or driving sales.
Understand your audience: Research your target audience and understand their preferences and behaviours on social media. This will help you create content that resonates with them.
Be consistent: Use the same branding and tone across all of your social media channels to establish a cohesive brand image.
Engage with your audience: Respond to comments and messages in a timely and helpful manner, and encourage followers to interact with your content by asking questions or running polls.
Create and share engaging content: Use a variety of content formats, such as images, videos, and written posts, to keep your audience engaged. Share relevant and valuable content that aligns with your business goals and resonates with your audience.
By following these best practices and tips, you can effectively use social media to connect with your audience and achieve your marketing goals.
Implement email marketing: Email marketing is a powerful tool for small businesses looking to reach and engage with their audience. It involves sending newsletters or promotional emails to a list of subscribers who have opted in to receive emails from your business.
There are several benefits to implementing email marketing for a small business, including:
Cost-effective: Email marketing is generally less expensive than other forms of marketing, such as print or television advertising.
Targeted: You can segment your email list and send targeted campaigns to specific groups of subscribers based on their interests and behaviors.
Measurable: Email marketing platforms provide detailed analytics, allowing you to track the performance of your campaigns and see which strategies are working best.
High ROI: Email marketing can have a high return on investment, with some studies showing that it can generate an average ROI of 122%.
To create and send effective email campaigns, there are a few key considerations to keep in mind:
Define your target audience: Understand who you are trying to reach with your emails and create content that resonates with them.
Create compelling subject lines: The subject line is the first thing your subscribers will see, so make sure it’s catchy and attention-grabbing.
Use engaging and visually appealing templates: Use templates that are visually appealing and easy to read, and make sure to include calls to action to encourage subscribers to take action.
Segment your list: Divide your email list into segments based on factors such as interests, location, or purchase history, and send targeted campaigns to each segment.
Test and optimize: Use A/B testing to try out different subject lines, headlines, and calls to action, and use the results to optimize your campaigns.
There are many email marketing tools and resources available to help small businesses with their email marketing efforts. Some popular options include Mailchimp, Constant Contact, and AWeber. These platforms provide templates, analytics, and other features to help you create and send effective email campaigns.
Invest in search engine optimization (SEO): Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a website in search engine results pages (SERPs). It involves making various changes to your website and online content to make it more attractive to search engines, such as Google, and improve its ranking in the SERPs.
SEO is important for small businesses because it can help increase the visibility and credibility of your website, leading to more traffic and potential customers. When people search for keywords related to your business, you want your website to appear as high as possible in the SERPs, as this can increase the likelihood of people clicking through to your site.
To optimize your website for search engines, there are a few key considerations to keep in mind:
Research and use relevant keywords: Identify keywords that are relevant to your business and incorporate them into your website content and meta tags.
Create high-quality, unique content: Google values websites that provide valuable and unique content, so make sure to regularly publish high-quality content on your website.
Improve website speed and usability: A slow-loading website or a website that is difficult to navigate can negatively impact your search rankings. Make sure to optimize your website for speed and usability to improve your search rankings.
Utilize header tags and alt tags: Use header tags (H1, H2, etc.) to organize and structure your content, and use alt tags to describe images for search engines.
Obtain quality backlinks: Backlinks from other websites can help improve your search rankings, so try to obtain backlinks from high-quality, relevant websites.
There are many tools and resources available to help small businesses with their SEO efforts. Some popular options include Google Search Console, SEMrush, and Ahrefs. These tools provide data and insights to help you understand how your website is performing in the SERPs and identify areas for improvement.
Consider pay-per-click (PPC) advertising: Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is a form of digital advertising in which advertisers pay a fee each time someone clicks on one of their ads. It is typically used on search engines and other websites, and it allows businesses to target specific keywords and reach a wider audience.
There are several benefits to using PPC advertising for small businesses, including:
Targeted: PPC advertising allows you to target specific keywords and demographics, which can help you reach a highly targeted audience.
Measurable: PPC platforms provide detailed analytics, allowing you to track the performance of your campaigns and see which strategies are working best.
Fast results: PPC campaigns can provide quick results, as your ads can start appearing in the SERPs almost immediately.
Flexible budget: You can set a budget for your PPC campaigns and adjust it as needed, making it a cost-effective option for small businesses.
To create and manage a successful PPC campaign, there are a few key considerations to keep in mind:
Identify your target audience: Clearly define who you are trying to reach with your PPC campaigns and choose keywords and demographics that align with your target audience.
Use compelling ad copy: Make sure your ad copy is clear, concise, and compelling, and include a strong call to action to encourage clicks.
Use negative keywords: Negative keywords help prevent your ads from appearing for irrelevant searches, which can help improve the relevance and effectiveness of your campaigns.
Monitor and optimize: Regularly monitor and analyse the performance of your PPC campaigns and make adjustments as needed to improve your results.
The most popular PPC platform we recommend is Google Ads. Google Ads provide tools and resources to help you create and manage your PPC campaigns, as well as detailed analytics to track your performance.
Congratulations on making it to the end of this valuable article on how to use digital marketing as a small business! By now, you should have a better understanding of the importance of digital marketing and the steps involved in creating a successful strategy.
Whether you’re just starting out or looking to take your digital marketing efforts to the next level, the tips and techniques outlined in this article can help you reach your business goals and achieve success. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try new things – the world of digital marketing is constantly evolving, and the more you learn and adapt, the better your chances of success. So get out there and start implementing your digital marketing strategy today – your small business will thank you for it!
Read our article on “Simple Steps to Creating a Marketing Plan” and “Content Marketing Strategy for Small Businesses.”
Need a digital marketing strategy for your business or you need help with developing content for your website, blog or social media handles? Our consultants are well trained and ready to help you ease your content marketing worries so you can concentrate on building your business. Contact us and we will schedule a free consultation with you to discuss the most ideal approach for your marketing objectives.
Ajayi Olalekan is a Professional SEO writer & editor with 8+ years of print journalism and writing experience across different platforms — blogs, website, eBooks and social media. His writing experience also cuts across industries like IT, fashion, education management, real estate, consulting and entertainment.