All you need to know to grow your offline business in the digital
The pandemic taught small business owners many lessons about the importance of having an online presence. According to Google’s 2020 Impact report, 280,000 businesses started selling online for the first time. Limited opportunities during lockdowns left many companies relying solely on digital means to market their products.
We’ve watched the world shifting from analog to digital for several decades, but recent events have intensified the trend.
There are many new ways to take advantage of emerging technologies and interact with customers digitally. Here’s what every business should strive to do in the modern digital era.
Highly optimized, mobile-friendly, scalable online environment
We could’ve said that you need a website, but what you need is a secure online environment with a clear structure.
Here are three vitally important elements of any modern website:
• Speed: Design a clear site structure so that people can quickly find what they need. Pay attention to how users experience the responsiveness and visual stability of your website.
• Mobile-Friendliness: With over 55% of global web traffic falling on mobile devices, don’t even think about going online if your website isn’t optimized for mobile.
• Security: Make sure hackers and cyber thieves can’t get access to user data. You can ensure that by incorporating various tools that protect your data (ex. password managers such as NordPass)
Launching an ad and getting a user to click is just half the job. The post-click experience has to be seamless up to the moment of purchase.
Apply at Google My Business
Another way to help people find you is through Google My Business (GMB).
GMB puts your business on Google Maps, allows potential customers to find you, and ensures your business ranks on the map alongside other similar companies. It can give small companies a massive boost in visibility, thanks to the Google Local Pack. Optimizing a GMB account is tricky, but plenty of sources online provide extensive guides on this topic.
Embrace the power of social media
Besides Google, you should be actively engaging your audience on social media.
Forget the days when it was just Facebook reigning supreme. Diversify your ad spend across various channels. Pinterest and LinkedIn are showing promising returns on ad spendings, not to mention the fastest growing app in the world — TikTok.
And you’ll regret not capitalizing on shoppable Instagram posts, which are still new, but have already proven to be highly effective for launching new products on the market.
If your business doesn’t have a page on Facebook or Instagram, for many people, it doesn’t exist. What’s a preferred social media for your clients today? If they migrated to newer platforms — get on it too.
Thanks to the development of online services, even the smallest business can afford a full-service design and online marketing service. Even with a free VistaCreate Starter plan, you can access essential creative assets and tools to create beautiful and engaging content for any social media without hiring a professional designer.
Repurpose content into different formats
If your budget is low, repurposing content is a great way to save resources on designing content. By turning one asset into something else— say, a blog post into a podcast episode or YouTube video—you’ll maximize investments and drastically improve user experience (you can easily repurpose designs made in VistaCreate for all kinds of social media).
SEO and earned media better than PPC?
SEO and PPC are digital marketing strategies that ultimately get your site rank on Google searches. To yield positive results, both options require tech expertise and a hefty marketing budget.
PPC is perfect when you want to make quick sales, but have a new website that isn’t performing organically.
If you have time to build your brand or optimize marketing costs — SEO is the perfect choice for long-term growth. Once you rank at the top of online searches using SEO, you’ll start driving high-quality traffic to your business for free. On the flip side, with PPC, you won’t get any clicks if you don’t regularly fork over a small fortune.
Keep in mind that a quarter of internet users have an ad blocker installed on their web browser. Forward-looking marketers and business owners redirect some of their resources away from their PPC strategy and put them toward organic SEO campaigns.
You can choose to do both SEO and PPC at the same time. It depends on your financial capabilities.
Try location-based marketing
Location-based marketing is effective if you have a location that consumers can visit.
This type of marketing might be helpful to clients when they’re searching for products or services nearby. For instance, when you search for “household”, Google uses information about your location to suggest a few nearby stores or a delivery service. This is how local marketing works — it leads consumers straight to your business.
Just keep in mind that while local marketing can be good for your business, search-based algorithms might be out of your control. Even if someone has all location services shut off, Google can always track a person through search history. Today, it is virtually impossible for the users to escape ads.
Embrace the power of AI and machine learning technologies to better personalize experiences for users. Move away from mass marketing tactics that deliver one message to a set target audience; instead, deliver tailored messages to individuals based on their trackable behaviors.
Chat-bots and virtual assistants can help you improve, simplify, and personalize online buying and browsing experiences for customers. Data is the key to this. It’s essential to train your chat-bots and VAs by feeding them as much data as possible.
Optimize for voice search
A recent Search Engine Watch survey found that 27% of global internet users utilize voice search on mobile devices. As more households adopt IoT technologies like smart speakers and personal assistants, we should expect this figure to rise in the years ahead.
Voice-activated SEO and regular SEO don’t offer the same results. To optimize for voice-activated SEO, focus on ranking for long-tail keywords (less than four words in length), utilize FAQ sections, and make sure you’re practicing proper on-page SEO optimization for mobile devices.
We’re not in Kansas anymore. Digital world has disrupted our supply chains, advertising strategies, and ways we interact with customers. Key channels, methods, and tools covered in this article are fundamental to effectively representing your business online.
Take a look at your statistics from the past 12 months and identify key areas where you can improve in the next six months. Data will show you what’s working within new digital marketing norms, and point out areas where you’re losing customers.
For businesses that are new to digital marketing, some steps might feel like huge leaps. But with the right set of tools — a well-optimized, mobile friendly website, an active social media presence, and consistent content — you can drive traffic, make sales, and even get customers to fall in love with your service.