Go digital: 5 digital marketing strategies to grow your small business
Internet marketing is a must in 2022: it’s affordable, effective, and well-tracked, hence, perfect for small brands. Whether you’re a small online business or a local store, you can leverage different digital marketing strategies to get more exposure, attract new customers, and boost sales.
Let’s speak numbers: 4 out of 5 small businesses use digital marketing, 64% percent of them have a website, and almost 96% leverage social media in their marketing plans. Sounds persuasive, doesn’t it? Let’s explore some of the most effective marketing strategies for small businesses that you can apply in 2022:
- Search engine optimization
- Local search engine optimization
- Content marketing
- Email marketing
- Social media marketing
Buckle up and get ready to take some notes. ✍️
Search engine optimization
Once you build a website for your business, you need to help customers find it. When you look for information on Google, Yahoo, or other search engines, how many pages do you usually open? You most likely start from the top and finish on the third-fifth tab. That is why you want your business page to rank higher in searches; hence, get more traffic and sales. Search engine optimization (SEO) is a small business marketing tactic that can help you.
While there are around 200 factors Google looks at when ranking a website, let’s focus on those you can enhance with the right strategy and a low budget:
1. Brainstorm keywords for your business
Make a list of 20-50 keywords your clients might type in the search bar when looking for your products or services. Then, create an account on Google Ads to check whether your keywords are frequently used in web searches. Google recommends using keywords with a CTR (click-through rate) of more than 1%; you can monitor this on your Google ads account. If you have trouble with keyword brainstorming, leverage Google Keyword Planner as inspiration.
😎 Pro tip from VistaCreate: Use more specific keywords to avoid competition with big companies, e.g., “buy a summer dress in Brooklyn” instead of “women’s clothing”.
2. Effectively leverage keywords on your website
Start by adding keywords to the URL addresses of each of your website pages. Also, include keywords to headings, titles, and metadata descriptions (text, which tells search engines the main idea of your content).
By the same token, don’t overuse keywords on your website, as it’s created primarily for people, not for search engines. This might make your text difficult to read and understand, which will irritate your audience.
3. Create valuable content for more traffic
The main goal of SEO is to quickly answer people’s questions or requests. So, create compelling content, like articles, guides, eBooks, or videos; include keywords to get lots of traffic to your website.
Links to your site on other websites also positively influence your ranking, so cooperate with other similar businesses. Ask them to carry a link to your site in exchange for a similar favor. This is a solid digital strategy example you can use.
Basic SEO is enough to be visible if you have a local digital business. Businesses with brick-and-mortar locations, like yoga studios, coffee shops, or hair salons, need to also set up local search engine optimization. This will help people in the same area find them.
For instance, if you type “hair salons” in Google search, the engine will show you places in your city and district. Search engines will identify your location based on IP address or geolocation and give you relevant results:
A solid local SEO is one of the most vital small business marketing strategies for local companies, so start building one with these tips:
1. Set up your Google My Business page
Google My Business is a free platform where you can share all business-related information such as name, business description, address, phone number, hours of operation, website link, and photos. This small business marketing solution can help you manage how your business appears in Google search results.
For your company to rank higher, it’s essential to add user-generated content, like reviews, ratings, photos, and social media mentions to your page. So, encourage your clients to leave reviews on Google Maps; you can even offer discounts or free products.
2. Make sure your business information is consistent
Since your business information appears on your website, social media, search engines, and platforms like TripAdvisor and Yelp, make sure it is unified across all of these channels.
Consistency makes search engines and people trust your business, ranking it better in search. So, either check your company information regularly on your own, or use small business marketing solutions such as Whitespark or BrightLocal to automate this.
3. Build a community around your business
Choose location-specific topics for your content to bring more value to your customers. This is not only a perfect way to improve your local search, but also to build a community of like-minded people around your business.
You’re more likely to become an expert people know and talk about by sharing your industry news and holding educational or entertaining events.
👉 Example: If you’re producing wine, write a series of educating articles on how to pair food and wine. You can also collaborate with a local food market for cross-promotion. Win-win!
As you already know, content is essential for improving search engine optimization, whether you target people worldwide, in your country, or district. Besides, businesses can show their expertise in the industry and boost credibility through content.
Content marketing goes far beyond written materials: you can leverage videos, podcasts, images, infographics, etc. Of course, you need employees to regularly produce, analyze, and improve the content. But it’s still a very affordable online marketing strategy you can do in-house. This is how you can start:
1. Get to know your audience’s interests
If you’re not sure what to talk about, ask your audience. You can make a survey on social media, create a questionnaire on your website, or send it via email. Besides, use platforms like Quora or Answers.com to conduct your research.
Get to know your potential customers; here are a few examples of questions you can ask:
- What industry insights are you interested in?
- How can we, as a business, help you with our content?
- What are your favorite content formats? Videos or articles, podcasts or YouTube shows, etc.?
2. Create an editorial calendar
To build an effective content marketing strategy for small businesses, you need to post regularly. This influences your SEO performance and trustworthiness as an industry expert.
😎 Pro tip from VistaCreate: Start with one piece of content a week for your website. This might be enough as you develop your business and team. Then, increase the number of postings to 3-4 times a week.
You need an editorial calendar with precise digital marketing goals to post regularly. It can help you with organizing, brainstorming, and tracking your content. In it, you can include:
- Format (video, photo collage, article, listicle, etc.);
- Platforms to post on (website, guest writing, social media, etc.);
- Day and time of posting.
3. Repurpose and reuse your content
Turn your article into a small post for Facebook or Instagram, a YouTube video into a listicle, or a podcast into a Twitter thread. People use different platforms to read, listen, or watch content, so why not repurpose your content for better exposure?
😎 Pro tip from VistaCreate: Adjunct your content for the platform’s style and guidelines. For example, if you want to post your video to TikTok, make it more dynamic: add jump cuts, choose trending sounds, and apply popular effects.
For more content repurposing tips, tricks, and ideas check out our content repurposing 101 article!
4. Leverage user-generated content
Here’s one more marketing idea for a small business: leverage your clients’ photos, stories, experiences, and more for your content.
👉 Example: If you’re running a yoga salon, ask your guests to share their yoga experiences and turn them into a series of articles. Helping people with wedding organization? Capture their love stories to create an inspiring e-book or podcast.
This is even easier when it comes to social media, where people can tag your brand. Here’s a great marketing campaign example from the wedding planner service Joy:
And a little more from a garment brand Sleeper:
If you’re still unsure about implementing an email digital marketing strategy, you should know this: for every 1$ spent on email marketing, you receive 36$. This tool improves customer relationships, but it also drives sales.
😎 Pro tip from VistaCreate: If you need inspiration for your email marketing campaign, check out Really Good Emails.
Meanwhile, you can already start building your email marketing strategy with these tips:
1. Create an email list
The easiest way to make a list is by creating an embedded signup form for your audience. It can be implemented on your website or appear as a pop-up. MailChimp suggests combining signup forms with online advertising on social to effectively grow the number of newsletter subscribers:
Facebook or any other social media ads can help businesses with sales and leads. People will come to your website and see a signup form for a newsletter subscription by clicking on the ad.
You can also leverage your signup form to get to know your audience better: what kind of emails they want to receive, what topics they are interested in, and how often they want to receive letters. This can help you with follower segmentation in the future:
😎 Pro tip from VistaCreate: Offer a discount for your product or service to encourage people to subscribe to your newsletters.
2. Segment your audience
Segmentation divides your audience by age, location, preferences, or previous purchases to send them more relevant emails. For example, if the customer usually buys T-shirts from you, notify this person about a T-shirt sale.
Personalization is one of the most important email marketing trends in 2022, as people appreciate relevant content more than ever. Instead of just addressing a subscriber by name or offering a special discount, you can leverage AI technologies to analyze user preferences and habits.
3. Brainstorm the types of emails you will send
Like with any kind of content marketing, you need a content plan for your newsletter. Divide all your emails into categories, such as:
- Discount and sale offers;
- New product line announcements;
- Seasonal and special events emails;
- Tip&tricks from your brand;
- Transactional emails (receipts, order confirmations, etc.).
Besides deciding on types of emails, make a plan on when and how often to send them. One of the biggest mistakes companies make is sending too many emails. This irritates people, so 1-2 times a week is enough for a small business. Same with informativeness: make your email concise, straightforward, and valuable.
4. Leverage email automation
Why not make your busy entrepreneur life a little easier? As your email list grows, it will be hard to keep up with an email sending schedule. With automation, new followers will always get their welcome emails, and customers will receive a thank you email after making a purchase.
Social media marketing
SMM, as well as email marketing, is a type of content marketing. This marketing technique is so essential and self-sufficient, that we have no choice but to dive deeper into it.
But before starting your social media activity, you need to choose which platform is best for your business. Focus on 1-2 socials at the beginning to not spread yourself too thin:
Average age: 25-34.
Still the largest social platform among consumers.
Mainly used for building relationships and staying in touch.
Average age: 25-34.
A large number of users are Generation Z and Millenials.
Mostly used for generating leads with visually-driven businesses.
Average age: 30-49.
An ideal place to share content and drive discussions.
Primarily used for building awareness for the brand.
Average age: 18-24.
Users claim they are directly influenced by on-brand content they see on TikTok.
Mainly used for building brand loyalty through fun and entertainment.
Average age: 30-49.
A product-focused and shopper-centric platform full of aesthetics.
Mostly used for mood boards and inspiration.
After selecting a platform, start building an effective strategy. These digital marketing tips will help:
1. Create a content calendar to post regularly
Regularity is essential with any type of content: blog articles, emails, and social media content. You can use a spreadsheet, Google calendar, or any social media management tool to make a content calendar. It usually requires the:
- Day and time of posting;
- Copy and visual;
- Links and tags.
Now let’s figure out how often you need to post:
- Instagram — 3-7 times/week;
- Facebook — 1-2 times/day;
- Twitter — 1-5 tweets/day;
- LinkedIn — 1-5 times/day;
- TikTok — 1-4 times/day.
2. Engage with your audience
Engaged followers are more likely to become your loyal customers and clients. So, try to answer their questions about your business or products, comment on their reviews, and share your followers’ content every day.
There are content formats created explicitly for that purpose; make good use of them: polls, questions, contests, “Ask me anything”, quizzes, duets for TikTok, custom filters for Instagram, etc.
We love a planet-positive accessory. Which reusable do you reach for? Clean, personal cups are welcome in our cafés for your drink order. 💚 pic.twitter.com/0CAFToyOBa
— Starbucks Coffee (@Starbucks) April 13, 2022
3. Combine organic content with paid ads
Paid social media ads are one of the most affordable types of digital advertising for small businesses. It includes pay-per-click ads, display ads, and branded content. But of course, it differs for various platforms.
What’s similar about social media ads across different channels is that you can actually choose your target audience based on their age, interests, or location, and pay only for those you want to reach. This is possible due to a cost-per-acquisition model that some socials use.
Due to the bidding model that some social media channels use, your ads can start at 1$. Moreover, you can set a limit to stop the marketing campaign as it exceeds your budget.
There are different digital marketing strategies for small businesses you can leverage, but it might be more effective to mix them up. SEO doesn’t work without content; content marketing needs solid SMM, etc. Try to apply various digital marketing tactics for your business, and always keep these tips in mind:
- Keep track of results with the help of analytics: every platform you use has its own analytics tool that gives you access to essential information. This can help you understand whether you reach your digital marketing objectives.
- Make your business mobile-friendly: according to Statista, 55% of global website traffic is generated from mobile devices. Today, optimizing for mobile, whether it’s your website, landing page, or email is no longer an option.
- Do not neglect A/B testing: it can help you understand which content formats, keywords, phrasings, and posting times work for your business.
We hope these tips&tricks will help you elevate your digital marketing. Good luck, and keep up with the latest articles on design and marketing for small businesses from VistaCreate!