I know what you’re thinking – you have a small business that you’re trying to get off the ground but have absolutely no idea what to do and how to do it. Or maybe you have an already established business but you’re just not seeing the return on your investment that you expected?
It’s no secret that when it comes to marketing your products or services, these days it’s all about the internet and the online community. Although word of mouth is still important, getting your business recognised by a relevant audience involves a carefully thought out online marketing strategy.
Before we delve into the areas you should focus on first, you need to understand that a successful, organic (free) online business campaign won’t see your bank balance skyrocket overnight. Paid advertising may see you reap financial gains quicker, however this will cost you up front. This article will concentrate on organic digital marketing.
It’s a common misconception that once you create a website for your business, you will start to see an increase in paying customers straight away. Unfortunately, many small businesses have found out that it is just not that simple, costing them valuable time and money in the long run. Remember – most people don’t get rich quick!
So, with a bit of expert knowledge to guide you in the right direction, some hard work, patience and determination, you too can achieve anything you set your mind to, without paying a fortune up front.
Firstly, let’s get to the absolute basics.
Where Should I Start?
Before you do anything else, you will need to take a good look at your website, as this is where your potential customers will probably end up, where you want them to stay, buy something, and keep coming back for more!
Whether you’ve created your own WordPress site, or you have enlisted the help of a professional website developer, the following are crucial to your online marketing strategy, and ultimately, your businesses success.
1. Your website should be optimised for conversion
This is where a lot of people get it wrong from the beginning. Sure, having an attractive site is important, but it won’t get you sales if you haven’t considered everything else.
Your site should be doing several things to keep a potential customer on your pages (lower bounce rate), making it easy for them to find what they need and guide them to purchase. You should think about what works for you when you visit someone else’s website and put yourself in your customers shoes. Here’s why:
Your potential customers won’t hang around for your website to load, they’ll most likely go to the next site listed on Google, and that could be your competitor. Stats show that they’ll do this in as little as a couple of seconds! So, you want to be able to answer YES to each of the following:
- Is my website hosting subscription the best one for my website AND business needs?
- Have I compressed and resized the images on my site and is my code clean?
- Does my site load on desktop AND mobile platforms in 3 seconds or under?
Do you know how long your website takes to load?
There are numerous tools available for you to test your websites speed and performance. Your results will vary depending on the time of day and how much traffic you currently have on your website and/or shared host, but you can simply average these out to get an estimate.
Enter your website URL and be sure to select the closest location:
You will need to create a free account to get access to the additional options such as location.
Your results will vary depending on the time of day and how much traffic you currently have on your website and/or shared host, but you can simply average this out to get an estimate.
If you would like more in-depth info on your website load time, see our blog: How do I make my website load faster?
Of all the different sized screens, your smartphone is currently the most popular way people are accessing online content. Remember, people are becoming increasingly impatient and they want a seamless user experience at their fingertips.
If your site is not mobile responsive, or can’t be navigated on a smaller screen easily, your potential customers will move on to a site that can. Tips include:
- Test your individual pages using Google’s Mobile-Friendly test tool: https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly
- Make sure you are using a mobile responsive website theme and mobile-friendly plug-ins. (WordPress has heaps of these)
- Structure your site layout keeping ease of use in mind. Think of text and image size and redesign any pop-ups you may have.
Design by itself doesn’t sell your products or services. It’s one thing to have an attractive site that initially draws visitors to your site but keeping them there is something else entirely.
Have you ever seen a great ad or post that made you want to click on it and learn more, only to be met with lines of irrelevant and/or boring content? All of a sudden, that post is long forgotten, along with your business.
Good content is what sets your website apart from the masses and delivers the right message into the hearts and minds of your customers. The success of your website is determined primarily by its content.
Ultimately, content wins the buying power of your customers. All other components of your website (design, visuals, videos, etc.) provide a secondary support role. If you have effective taglines, great design will only enhance their effectiveness.
The key to a successful website is having clear, relevant and keyword-rich content that delivers the right message with power and conviction. The content on your website should target your audience, engage them and persuade them to take action.
For more detailed information, see our Conversation Rate Optimisation (CRO] blog here.
2. Local Search Engine Optimisation (Local SEO)
In case you’re wondering, Local SEO differs from organic SEO as it has a geographical component which organic SEO does not necessarily have. It’s the practice of building signals of relevance around a specific location; a brick-and-mortar business.
Organic SEO is a marketing practice that pretty much just revolves around your website.
Local SEO is the best way to promote your small business to a finely targeted audience and generate more revenue from it. To gather information for local search, search engines rely on signals such as local content, social profile pages, links, and citations to provide the most relevant local results to the user.
You might have performed Google search and seen results that populate at the top of the search results page including the map, address, star ratings, and phone number. This is Local SEO.
Depending on the industry, it has the potential to become the very first result on a Google search results page and can have a positive impact on driving new leads to your small business.
Local SEO provides online searchers with results that are most relevant to their current location.
Optimisation of local search is an effective way to put your business in front of customers in your area, at the exact time they are searching for a particular business or service using a precise targeted approach.
Not many small business owners are aware of this process which makes them lose out on generating more revenue from their local business. This is where you can capitalise on their shortcomings.
First, it is important to look at the different details that your customers may look for while performing local searches to learn more about your small business. These can include:
- Business name and/or industry
- Contact details
- Business opening / closing hours
- Location and driving directions to business
- Venue details and parking options
- Menu options (small businesses that are related to food and beverage related industries)
- Different contact details like phone number and email
- Customer reviews and star ratings
Local Backlinks Are Everything
Backlinks can be the single most important aspect of your SEO campaign on a local level. Instead of reaching out for backlinks on national blogs or articles, start in your local market first, as this is where you’ll initially be targeting your potential customers.
Every local market has a local market directory. Add your business to these local directories first. These local directories and localised websites add hyper-local relevance to your website which is key for trust flow and authority.
One link on a localised directory is better than a few links on random directories that aren’t relevant to your target audience.
Establish a Foundation First
What is more important than backlinks alone is making sure you have the core foundation of content on your website to support those backlinks. It won’t look natural if your website has thin or irrelevant content with a wide variety of backlinks.
Instead of hitting backlinks hard straight away, you want to focus on a core foundation of content. Creating well-written articles that provide users with true value is incredibly important.
Hit Local Links Hard Once You’ve Created a Solid Foundation
Without creating a core foundation of content that offers value, how do those backlinks look legitimate in the search engines eyes? They don’t. What you have heard about backlinks is true, they are important.
What is more important than a backlink is a localised and geo-targeted backlink. These backlinks are from websites in your local market that are also topically relevant. These are the backlinks you want to focus on in 2019.
3. Create Social Media accounts
As a small business owner, you’re constantly looking for new ways to get your company’s brand on the radar of potential customers. If you don’t already, using social media in business is a great way to engage with current customers as well as attract new ones.
Social media effectiveness boils down to engagement. If a business doesn’t engage with its customers, chances are it won’t have success in social media marketing.
Here are some reasons why small businesses can actually have more success on social media than big companies:
- Small businesses are community and individual focused – To increase customer engagement, ask customers to post pictures on social media with the company’s product. Welcome reviews, questions, comments, and concerns from consumers.
- Less expensive advertising – Social media is a great advertising tool without paying for the extra features. Update your followers on promotions, sales, new products, or even just industry-related information. Posting photos also help customers see what you offer.
- Joint social media marketing efforts – team up with a neighbouring company (not a competitor) for a social media giveaway or contest. Winners get a prize that includes products from both businesses. Showcase your neighbouring business’s promotions on your social media sites to show camaraderie.
- Personalised attention – One survey found that 53% of consumers want to shop at small businesses because they like the personal service they receive. Engaging and connecting with your customers on social media is just as important so set a schedule to regularly engage with your followers.
4. Build a Comprehensive Email Marketing Strategy
Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to reach and engage your audience. Email is a big part of our lives as professionals, individuals and your potential customers!
How many people do you know without an email address? There’s a good chance that you can count these people on one hand.
Not only does email marketing allow you to take advantage of the prospect of reaching a large group of people, but it can also offer benefits that other digital marketing tactics can’t provide. Email marketing allows you to personalise your messaging and tailor messages based on customer actions.
You can also segment your audiences to ensure that the right leads are getting the most impactful information at the most effective times.
Building a successful email strategy really boils down to four things:
Creating an Email List
Before you start sending out emails, you need to have contacts to send those emails to.
In order to do that, you need to set up lead capture forms on your website. Be sure to include text that explains what users are signing up for when they give you their email. Keep in mind to follow privacy guidelines for compliance in Australia.
Planning out the types of emails you need
The types of emails you send will depend on what type of small business you have. Just remember that every email you send should provide value for your customers.
If you’re sending an email without a clear goal and purpose or because you feel obligated to send something, it might need some rethinking.
Email design and content creation
After planning out the emails you want to send, you’ll need to actually create the content and email designs.
The key to this step is to always keep your customer and the goal of your email campaign in mind. You want the content of your message to be clear and add value for your customers and the goal or action that you want them to take should be very clear.
Sending the campaign and studying the results
Email marketing provides a unique opportunity to learn from your customers. You should always be analysing the performance of your emails regarding your email marketing KPIs.
If you notice certain types of emails perform poorly with your audience, look for new ways to improve on the next campaign.
Analysing your email performance doesn’t just let you improve your future emails. It also teaches you more about your customers, which can help you make improvements in every aspect of your business!
Now that you have a handful of small business digital marketing tactics up your sleeve you can get to work implementing them across your marketing channels. Some of you may not have time to do it and that’s where we can help you out. It’s what we do every day, and we’re passionate about it.
Helping small businesses grow and build their dreams through digital marketing is what keeps us going.
Take a minute to schedule a quick conversation with us to learn more about the marketing services we customise for small businesses like yours.