Digital marketing encompasses a vast range of strategies and techniques for raising the profile of a business online. Whilst SEO is a huge part of digital marketing, it includes everything from email marketing to social media, customer service, advertising and content marketing.
Due to the pervasive and all-penetrating nature of the internet, it’s probably unsurprising that small business digital marketing involves a significant investment of both time and money.
Some of the best digital marketing advice revolves around avoiding costly and time-consuming mistakes. After all, mistakes can cost time and money, both of which are critical to building a successful business.
Avoiding digital marketing mistakes is crucial to ensure that time and money is well spent.
One of the most important small business marketing tips is conducting audience research. Some businesses will know their audience already. Or at least they think they do. But take the example of a small brick-and-mortar store that wants to scale up online. They might assume their online audience is the same as their usual customers when this may not be the case at all.
It may also seem intuitive to ‘cast the net wide’ and try and attract a wide customer base that covers virtually every demographic. But, in reality, most custom comes from just a handful of customer types or ‘personas’.
Use customer personas and segmentation to locate those with the highest affinity to the business. Optimise the business to these high-affinity customers, e.g. through product offerings, visual branding, brand messaging and social media communications.
In this study by Curata, 63% of marketers agreed that developing customer personas were useful for businesses. Use data from the business website (e.g. with Google Analytics) and data from social media, as well as the details of customers that order through the site to develop your understanding of the business audience.
This is best carried out sooner rather than later, as whilst it’s possible to rebrand a business at virtually anytime, getting branding off on the right foot from the start is preferable.
Keywords are the bread and butter of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), so it’s probably unsurprising that targeting the wrong keywords is one of the biggest digital marketing mistakes. 87% of purchase experiences begin with a search engine, getting keywords right is the foundation of SEO and makes a business findable in the search engine results page (SERPs). Developing a website means creating written content that tells Google and other search engines about things like:
Conducting decent keyword research is imperative to digital marketing, not just on the website but on social media too. Use keyword research tools from SEO tool providers such as SEMRush and Neil Patel. Research competitors and find out what keywords they’re targeting. Once you’ve done that, improve keyword usage on existing web pages and build blog content around topics/subjects relevant to the business.
PPC is difficult to get right, though it can obviously yield excellent results when implemented correctly. AdWeek reported that only some 25% of paid ads reach the right audience. Investing in PPC or other paid ads requires in-depth research and ought to be compared to investing in organic SEO and other opportunities.
Bear in mind that PPC is laser-targeted, and that is its main strength. For example, forget bidding for keywords like ‘car insurance’ (one of the most competitive keywords around).
Something like ‘car insurance for vintage cars’ would be much better (if the company provides this).
Also, PPC keywords should have strong purchase intent, i.e. they should be targeted at individuals who are ready to purchase something. Some of the best PPC digital marketing advice for small businesses is to choose cheaper, niche keywords that accurately target the business’s audience. Use PPC tools in SEO tools like SEMRush to find cheap PPC opportunities.
Planning is crucial in marketing. Brainstorm the broad goals of the business’s digital marketing strategy. Digital marketing goals could be any number of things:
Goals need to align with marketing strategies. For example, if the business is looking to build trust and industry influence then content marketing is a solid focus. To sell more products, focus on bringing traffic onto landing pages. Affiliate selling also revolves around content marketing and web traffic.
Once you’ve set goals and aligned marketing strategies, find a way to measure progress. Measuring increases in traffic (via Google Search Console or Google Analytics, for example), is a good place to start. A/B test different content types or ads and focus on those that display the highest click-through rates (CTRs).
Digital marketing involves a good deal of graft. Namely, building an excellent website, taking care of social media and writing quality content all take hard work that can’t be supplemented with quick wins.
These 3 strategies require consistent work and maintenance:
Keep the business website updated and error-free. If you fail to update your site and its various plugins regularly then it might stop working properly. Ensure usability across mobile devices (you can check this in Google Search Console).
Social media is essential in digital marketing today. After all, over half the world uses social media. Develop a regular posting plan and ensure visual branding and brand messaging is consistent across all social media channels.
Avoiding digital marketing mistakes avoids wasting both time and money. Digital marketing is a bit of a minefield, though, so it’s unrealistic to expect every strategy to run perfectly. Research audiences and target marketing strategies precisely rather than broadly, taking extra care to not overspend on PPC.
It’s also worth mentioning that digital marketing strategies tend to unfold over months and years rather than days or weeks. Don’t be put off by slow initial growth - many digital marketing strategies follow a sort of ‘hockey stick’ pattern that shows steep growth after a few months grind with limited progress.
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