The days of traditional marketing are long over. For some, this is a welcome change. For others, especially small businesses; online marketing is just plain overwhelming. Especially since the landscape of internet marketing has become increasingly more competitive. A lot of my clients ask me what the most important digital marketing elements for small businesses are and why.
So here is my top five list of web marketing for small businesses (or any size business really):
1. Website – I know, this is probably a no-brainer. But believe it or not, there are a lot of small businesses that do not currently have a website or do not have a CURRENT website. People are smart. They hop online and type in keywords of what they’re looking for and hope to find it as quickly as possible. That’s probably how you stumbled across my humble website on your quest for a digital marketing agency. If you don’t have a website at all, how is anyone going to find you? The days of the Yellow Pages are over. Wait, what’s a phone book?
So you have a website for your business? Welcome to the internet! Your website is ten years old? That could be a problem. A lot of companies invested in websites a long time ago and they probably served them well at the time. However, as I mentioned before, internet marketing has become much more competitive. Not only that, but website programming language and technology has also greatly evolved. So it’s not shocking that your website is probably outdated. A website that went up two years ago is probably outdated. Without getting into too many technical terms, just know that your business would greatly benefit with the newest web development technologies. And believe it or not, it’s actually quite affordable. The key is that your website is completely responsive to all devices and browsers and that it is searchable – or I should say “findable”. Obviously, there are many more important elements in a website that produce results but you get the idea. You probably need a new website.
2. “Findability” – I totally made this term up but in ‘geek speak’, this means organic search engine optimization or SEO. Google and all other search engines use similar algorithms to ‘crawl’ your site and then rank your website based on its keywords and SEO. So when you type in certain keywords in Google or Yahoo, the sites that rank the highest organically pop up at the top of the non-sponsored search results thus resulting in higher visibility. Obviously, the higher the visibility, the more chance of conversion. In ‘geek speak’, conversion just means, well, conversion – whatever you would like to measure as a conversion. It could be a purchase from your site, a booking for a hotel, an RFP submission – you name it. The aforementioned search engine algorithms change constantly. Thus, your ten year old website ain’t cutting it anymore. Believe it or not, there is good reason for the search engine giants to constantly change their SEO tactics and it involves SPAMMERS trying to steal your money – and even worse – your internet traffic. Findability (or SEO) SHOULD be included with your website. If not, find someone else to design your site. Your website could be the most beautiful, award-winning site on the internet. But what good is it if no one can find you?
3. Social Media – I know, you’re probably sick of hearing about social media. Why would someone take a picture of their dinner and upload it to their Facebook or Instagram for the whole world to see? WHY? I don’t know the answer to that. But I also don’t really care. The truth is, people love social media because they connect with friends and family instantly. They can scroll through endless photos, scan the latest news or laugh at the ridiculous memes that flood their newsfeed. And some spend hours upon HOURS of their time on social media. This is an opportunity for small businesses and it’s paid off for many companies that use it correctly. Yes, there is strategy to social media. And the most important take-away regarding social media is that you can use it as a tool to sell your product or service; or at the very least, to get traffic to your website.
4. Content Management – It’s not really a new thing but you’ve probably never heard of it or given it much thought if you did. I’ll take the mystery out of it and tell you that it’s basically blog management. You have a blog, you have posts in your blog which is also called content; therefore you need content management. Or maybe you don’t have a blog because your website is ten years old. Get a new website – you need a blog. Blogs are another great tool to get people back to your website with the ultimate goal of a conversion. But there is so much more to content management than just throwing a bunch of content out there. Make sure that whoever offers content management has a strategic plan.
5. E-mail Marketing – Believe it or not, email is not dead. Just because more and more kids are Snap-chatting, there’s still a huge adult market out who are checking their email religiously and the payoffs can be huge. Again, strategy is vital in email marketing. Make sure you sign up with a company that understands the strategy behind email marketing.
Digital Marketing has many, many more elements and I honestly could extend this list to include 100 more items. BUT, a small business needs to know where to start when it comes to online marketing – a website, SEO, social media, content management and email marketing will be a great place to start for growing your small business.
What do you think is the most important digital marketing tool?
I completely agree with your strategies as they are the new way of marketing and people are slowly starting to realize. Thanks for the great information. I hope to see more in the future.