If you’re wondering how to market your small business in the age of digital marketing, you’re probably aware of many of the opportunities available. You probably are aware of social media marketing. You probably also have a website, but you might not be clear on how best to market it. You might also be aware of search engine marketing (SEM) and search engine optimization (SEO), but might not know how to do these forms of marketing yourself.
Below we lay out some of the most impactful ways small businesses are marketing themselves right now.
Digital Marketing Fundamentals
First, if you’re not aware of the full scope of digital marketing, you might want to check out this handy-dandy article we wrote on this very topic:
A Mobile-Responsive, SEO-Friendly Website
The first must-have for marketing a small business is a website that works well on any size screen and that is SEO-friendly. 50% of consumers who conduct a local search on a smartphone visit a store within a day. This means your website needs to be easy to find in search engines, needs to be set up correctly in Google My Business, and needs to work well on mobile devices.
An A+ Social Media Marketing Game
Social media is an oft-misunderstood element of a small business marketing strategy. You may find yourself posting all the time and getting no response. Or you may be getting lots of responses and aren’t sure how to proceed to the next step of connecting with leads. At minimum, your social media strategy should include regular updates that are relevant to your customers, coupons and specials targeted at specific types of consumers, and a plan for following up personally with every person who likes or interacts with your social media profiles.
You should be on Facebook for sure and possibly also on LinkedIn and Twitter depending on your service area and the types of people you’re trying to reach. You should also be boosting your posts on Facebook that get the most interactions in order to expand your circle of influence.
If that sounds like a lot of work, there are definitely tools out there to help you. We like Hootsuite.
Search Engine Marketing
Finally, depending on the type of business you own, you might also want to run some search-based ads. These are ads that pop up next to search results for keywords.
“But wait: what about that SEO stuff?” You may be asking. The truth is, SEO doesn’t always work if there’s a lot of competition for the keywords you’re trying to rank for. It also takes anywhere from 1-3 months for you to appear in search results if you’re trying to rank for keywords that are common in your area.
Like boosting posts on Facebook, search engine marketing often just helps you reach a broader audience than you might otherwise. There are a few different options out there, but Google AdWords (NOT AdWords Express) is the gold standard and gives you the best bang for your buck.
How to Market Your Small Business Right Now: Make a Plan, Try It Out, Revise, Repeat
It’s up to you what tactics you employ to market your small business. If you have a larger budget, you might even want to try traditional advertising, but if you decide to go that route, you might also want to check out our article comparing the two:
The most important thing you can do when marketing your business is to create a plan and track your progress. All of the solutions we’ve recommended come with metrics like likes, engagement rates, numbers of new website visitors, etc. Whatever route you decide to choose, you need to track how effective it is for your business and revise accordingly.