9 Proven Digital Marketing Strategies For Small Businesses

Do you want to get more sales in the next couple of months?

Small businesses need to create a strong digital marketing strategy to surpass their competition. However, that’s easier said than done. Most startups will have very limited resources to spend on digital marketing.

But there’s good news. There are digital marketing strategies that are well-suited for small businesses. Most of these will not require you to spend that much and are already proven to make a difference.

These strategies are definitely worth investing in — at the very least, these deserve a closer look.

1. Appear in more search results through SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a key digital marketing strategy. Online marketing experts will tell you that SEO should be your main priority — and they’re not wrong. 

What is SEO?

Most businesses today get discovered through search engines like Google. It doesn’t matter if you’re running a local business or an ecommerce store. People won’t find you if you don’t have an online presence.

That’s where search engine optimization comes in. 

SEO is the practice of improving a site’s chances of ranking on search engines. The idea is to appear in search results for the right keywords in order to find your target audience. This is accomplished by making changes to your website that complement search engine algorithms.

How do you get started?

SEO is no longer what it was years ago. Marketing experts have developed different techniques that help businesses climb the rankings. However, the fundamentals remain the same. 

It all starts with keyword research. You need to identify the best words and phrases to target to find prospective customers. Most businesses use paid keyword research tools to do this. However, a small business owner can try free solutions like Google Keyword Planner.

Google Keyword Planner

But for the best results, we recommend using a premium keyword research tool such as SE Ranking or Mangools.

As a rule of thumb, you’ll want to find keywords with a high search volume and low competition.

Link building is also important. Basically, you want many highly reputable websites to link back to your website. Google sees this as a good sign that your site is a credible source of information or products. This will prompt it to rank your website higher in search results.

Just be sure to avoid links from low quality sites or sites that are obviously selling links. The best links are the ones you’d want even if Google didn’t exist.

There are also things you can do to your website to make it rank higher. Making sure that you have a mobile-optimized website is a good start. Page load time is another factor. You want your pages to load as soon as a user tries to access them. A good SEO site audit tool will be helpful.

2. Sell 24/7 with marketing automation

Marketing automation gives small business owners the chance to continue selling regardless of the time of day. Not only that, but it also saves you a lot of time. It gets repetitive tasks out of the way so you can focus on the tasks that matter most to you.

What is marketing automation?

When one says marketing automation, it refers to software that does tasks that would normally be assigned to a worker. Businesses use automation to take boring, repetitive tasks out of employees’ hands so that they can be assigned more productive work.

There are different scenarios where marketing automation could work for a small business. For example, it is great for promoting new products. With automation, you can prepare social media posts and email blasts in advance before sending them automatically on a time and date you specify.

Some businesses even use marketing automation tools like chatbots to answer frequently asked customer questions. 

Chaport Bot

Because marketing automation can address some of the pain points that companies face day to day, it’s becoming a necessity for business owners.

How do you get started?

You can’t automate tasks without using automation software. What software to use will depend on what tasks you’re trying to accomplish. For example, automating social media posts will mean using social media schedulers like SocialBee or Sendible.

Automation can also be used for email marketing campaigns. You can schedule email blasts and select which specific groups to send these emails to. There are even users that use automation to remind potential customers who have abandoned their shopping carts.

You can even use automation to conduct surveys. The results will be compiled for you so you can review them at a later date.

Some businesses will use automation for customer onboarding. That way, users will have an easier time understanding what to do and navigating an ecommerce site.

3. Be everywhere with content marketing

Content marketing is one of the most effective ways of bringing eyes to your business. You want to position yourself as a company that delivers valuable content to your target audience. 

Most companies will publish content on their websites. But you can also publish content on social media sites, forums, white papers, and other channels.

What is content marketing?

This form of marketing focuses on delivering content to potential and existing customers. Content can come in many forms. You can stick to traditional mediums such as blog posts and articles. But content can also mean images, videos, webinars, podcasts, and online courses.

As a business owner, you want to use content to educate your audience. Instead of telling them about your products, you should let them know what’s in it for them. How can your product improve their lives? 

You can also use content marketing to nurture your relationship with fans of your product. 

This is also one of the best small business marketing strategies for people who want to be seen as an influencer in their space. If readers like what you’re saying and decide to share your content with people in their sphere then you’ll be seen as a thought leader.

How do you get started?

You start by first figuring out who your target audience is. After that, you’ll need to come up with topics that would interest that audience. Most marketers and writers will incorporate keyword research at this stage to find blog post ideas

Content creators will also need to determine what platforms they’ll use to reach their audience. Having a content calendar will help. You want to make sure that you always have content lined up. 

If you’re unable to produce content for your business, you can hire one or two writers to help. But small businesses might want to try hiring freelancers since they can be less expensive — and you won’t have to worry about additional overhead

4. Build an audience around your email newsletter

There are a lot of people who still use email to this day.

If you want a more targeted approach, you can try sending email newsletters to promote your small business. Email marketing is great for customer retention and acquisition. It helps you bond with existing customers. And it’s a great tool for introducing people to your services.

What is email marketing?

Email marketing refers to the use of emails to promote a business. While a lot of marketers use it to send newsletters, email marketing is also ideal for sending discounts, promotions, reminders, welcome messages, and more.

There are many reasons why emails are better for direct contact with consumers. First of all, it’s generally more acceptable for businesses to get in touch with people through email. Contacting people through their social media pages feels invasive by comparison.

You can also be more targeted in your approach when you send emails. Select which groups you want to send newsletters to. With the right email tool, it’s possible to target users by order history, activity, and other segments — you have control over who gets sent marketing emails.

And you have the ability to determine which emails work best through A/B testing. This process involves sending different versions of an email to different users to see which one performs best.

How do you get started?

You first need to decide what type of emails you’ll be sending out. Newsletters are great for getting new leads and sharing news about the company. But there are other types of emails that you can explore.

Sending welcome emails is a must these days. It helps new users understand how to buy products from your site and what they can expect from you. Promotional emails are a given. Whenever you have a new product or a promotion, make sure you let your email subscribers know about it.

You can also send survey emails if you want to gauge what your followers think about your company.

In order to do this, you’ll need an email marketing tool. We’d recommend getting started with MailerLite – it’s got a great free plan and it’s well suited to beginners. Paid plans are affordable, it comes with all the essential features you’ll need, and email deliverability is excellent.

5. Get noticed with Google Business

Anyone running a business should have a Google Business profile. It’s the best way for brands to get discovered. And plenty of people have learned to rely on the information displayed on it.

Having an optimized business profile on Google can lead to better sales for the company. But let’s take a step back and talk about what GMB is in the first place before jumping to what it can do for your small business.

What is Google Business?

Google Business—also known as Google Business Profile—is a business listing service that Google provides for free. Basically, it takes information about your business and shows it to Google users when they make related searches.

What sort of information does a Google Business listing include? Aside from your business name, address, and phone number, a business listing will also show your business hours, customer reviews, and rating. It can also include links to social media profiles as well as the type of services offered.

You can also upload images to your business profile.

It’s important for small businesses to have a Google Business profile because it increases their chances of getting discovered by customers. This is especially true for businesses that have retail locations. 

Most restaurants, for example, make use of their Google Business Profile to showcase their menu and give potential customers a look at their interiors.

How do you get started?

Use a Google account to open a business listing. It’s a simple process although you should be aware that Google will want to validate that you are the owner of the business you’re trying to register. Pick a verification method that works best for you.

Once you have a Google Business listing, fill it up with accurate information. Any inaccuracy can lead to lost sales. And if you receive reviews—regardless of whether they’re good or bad—you should do your best to acknowledge each one. This helps you build trust with your customers.

A good business profile will also have great photos and videos. If you have the resources, hire a professional to do the work for you as that helps leave a good first impression.

6. Gain more followers through social media giveaways

When you talk about social media marketing strategies, giveaways will always be a part of that list. It incentivizes people to follow your social media accounts. 

And the good news is that even small businesses can afford to launch giveaways. Prizes don’t have to be expensive anyway. Giveaways on a small scale can still work. You can always find creative ways to get people to follow you.

What is social media marketing?

Social media marketing is the use of social media platforms to promote a brand and meet its business goals. For example, companies use social media marketing to get more sales and increase site traffic. Others use it to boost event registration numbers.

But for social media marketing to be effective, you’ll want to have as many followers as you can. One way of achieving that would be through giveaways. It works by presenting people with an opportunity to enter a giveaway. To enter, they’ll have to follow your account on social media. 

It’s that simple, really.

By the way, you have control over the conditions for those who’d like to join your giveaway. That means you don’t have to make them follow you. Instead, you ask them to like or share posts for example.

Want to learn how to create giveaways that go viral? Check our article on how to create viral giveaways.

How do you get started?

The best way to launch a social media marketing campaign is by using a giveaway tool. What this does is it keeps track of all entries and facilitates the giveaway event or any other type of social media contest you might want to run.

Our favorite tool for this is SweepWidget. It’s easy to use and offers a free plan that will be enough for some users.

Launching a giveaway will be easier if you have clear goals in mind. Remember to promote the event across all available channels. For instance, you can distribute flyers to customers in your store.

7. Let influencers promote your business

Yes, even small brands can use influencers to promote their businesses. Collaborating with influencers could be the push your business needs to generate more sales. Working with influencers that are highly respected in their fields can also give your brand credibility.

What is influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing is a digital marketing strategy where a brand will partner with people who have a large and engaged following on social media or other platforms. People that have a huge audience are referred to as influencers — which explains the term influencer marketing.

Different brands will work with influencers to promote their products or services. There are different ways of doing this. Collaborations such as sponsored posts or events are just a couple of examples.

Why should you use influencer marketing?

It’s a fantastic way for you to reach an untapped audience. And it’s also a great way to engage with a new audience. However, you’ll want to make sure that you’re working with an influencer that shares the same target audience as you do.

Keep in mind that sponsored posts have to be disclosed to comply with the law.

How do you get started?

First, you’ll have to identify your target audience. You can use that information to research influencers. You’ll want to look at each candidate’s content and engagement metrics. Once you find influencers you’d like to work with, send them a proposal. You can send them a message through their social media account, email, or agency.

Once you and the influencer agree on the terms, you can finalize all of the details including the duration of the campaign and what that would entail.

8. Attract potential clients by launching digital events

Digital events are great for small business owners that have a lot of knowledge to share with potential customers. And the best part is that most digital events won’t require you to spend anything. In some cases, all you need is a computer, a webcam, and a decent microphone. 

What’s not to love, right?

What are digital events?

Digital events refer to web-based gatherings such as webinars, virtual conferences, and online workshops. Some events are streamed live while others are pre-recorded. These days, digital events can be watched through a computer, a tablet, or a phone.

Businesses like promoting their brands through digital events for several reasons. Hosting a webinar, for example, can help position the business as a thought leader in the space.

These events also have a wide audience reach. You can have attendees from all corners of the world if you want. You can’t do that when you hold an in-person event. And because you’re doing everything virtually, you save quite a bit on expenses. Promoting the event is also easier. For the most part, all you’ll need is a sign-up form.

Digital events are also accessible and easy to track. That is good news for small business owners that have their hands full as it is.

How do you get started?

You start by identifying the purpose of the event. After that, you decide what type of event you want to launch. 

Once you know what type of event you’re launching and why, that’s when you find the platforms and tools that you’ll need. For instance, you might need access to video conferencing software to share and record your webinar. You could also create a landing page specifically for your event.

Check out our comparison of webinar software platforms – it will help narrow down your search. Most tools on the list offer free trials so you can make sure the software is a good fit for your needs.

Try to do a practice run, especially if you’re going to be presenting live. Something could go wrong along the way. So it’s best to do a trial run just to make sure that everything would go smoothly on the big day.

9. Find new customers using referral marketing

Do you know who would be the best ambassadors for your brand? Your existing customers. You can set up an infrastructure that will allow your existing customers to find new customers for your business. This is called referral marketing.

What is referral marketing?

Referral marketing is a strategy that small business owners use to attract new customers through the recommendations of current customers. How does it work?

Some businesses just straight up ask their customers to spread the word about their brand. And this might be all you’ll need to do to get some traction. However, there are entrepreneurs that would offer incentives in exchange for referrals. 

Referral marketing - Dropbox
Source: Dropboxreferrals.com

Referral marketing works because people are recommending your products to people who trust them — their families, friends, and colleagues. Not only will this help increase your sales, but it will also give you more credibility in your space. For their part, the referrers can get rewarded for their efforts, that is if you offer incentives.

How do you get started?

You first have to think about which product you’ll want to promote — and you’ll have to think about it hard. Those who’d sign up for your referral program will want to promote the best product you have to offer. They are promoting to people that they know. And if they end up recommending a bad product, their friends could stop trusting them.

Have a referral program in place. It will help explain how customers can refer their contacts to your business. How do you do that? You can use referral codes or links. 

Customer service will be an important factor in the success of your referral campaign. If you want to retain those new customers, you’ll have to make sure that you’ll always be there if they ever run into issues.

Be sure to keep track of all your results. That way, you’ll know just how effective your referral marketing efforts are.

Final thoughts

Planning on taking your business to the next level?

Putting together a list of digital marketing strategies and implementing them will give you the best chance of success, and we’ve just laid out 9 for you to begin with.

Remember marketing takes time, don’t expect results overnight. So choose a few of these strategies and integrate them into your marketing plan.

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