Small businesses and startups are at a critical stage of their existence. They are poised for growth and their future depends on how the business develops. That is where proper advertising comes into the picture. Digital marketing or internet marketing services provide the widest possible reach in your advertising efforts.
- What aspects of internet marketing work especially well for small businesses?
- What are the current market trends?
- What budget considerations should be kept in mind?
- What are algorithms and how do they affect your digital marketing efforts?
- What are the benefits of digital marketing services for small businesses?
Let us find the answers to these questions.
Aspects of internet marketing
Some aspects of internet marketing that have proved successful for small businesses are:
- Social Media Marketing: Although this does not cost much this is perhaps one of the most powerful marketing tools. There are a number of platforms that you could choose from, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and so on. Sign up for any social media platform that you feel will further your business interests. Facebook is widely used universally. LinkedIn would target the more educated, older members of society. Twitter would target the younger generation. A little research will provide you ideas about which platforms would serve you best.Recommendations, likes, and forwards on social media are a powerful influence on the decisions people make.
- Email Marketing: Email marketing campaigns are effective in giving your business a boost. An email marketing tool is much cheaper and result oriented than a paper campaign. You can educate potential customers about your products and services as well as make specific offers to rope in potential customers.
- Website: Build an official company website. Plan to regularly write and put up content on the site. Work out a strong online presence. A little research will provide you with information on how you can generate content that can be searched on the internet. Ensure that your blogs and onsite content can be shared easily on social media. This will allow users to share it on social media.
- Influencer Marketing: Reach out to influential persons, especially those who are bloggers and social media influencers. Write to them personally or meet up with them and explain about your business and the products you are showcasing. Respectfully request that they endorse your product. You could also treat them with a free sample or other goodies as a mark of appreciation for their help. At the same time remember that they have the right to refuse, you are the one seeking a favor not them.
- Brand Ambassadors: You could wisely and tactfully turn your customers into advertisers for you. Ask for their feedback. Positive feedback is a powerful influencer. You could request them to publish your ads on their social media pages as well. You could even give them some discount as an incentive to do so. At the same time ensure that you have a good risk management plan as well. If managed well this would be the cheapest and most powerful tool in your internet marketing kit.
- SEO: Search Engine Optimization requires a level of skill and expertise. You could strive to generate content that would organically rank high. However, obtaining the assistance of a good digital marketing company would be of help in this area.
- PPC: Pay per click would require an outlay of funds as well as diligent planning and some skill in determining the keywords to bid for and how to handle the process. Timing too is a critical factor and thus an experienced digital marketing company’s assistance would be required to effectively handle this.
Current market trends
The key market trends with regard to digital marketing for small businesses are discussed herein.
- Social Media Marketing: With the number of social media users increasing with each passing day and people spending a considerable amount of time on it each day, social media has become a powerful tool to spread awareness and influence people’s thinking. Increasingly social media is also being used to search for products and people make purchasing decisions based on the information they get from social media. Share relevant content in social media, engage in conversations, answer questions and collaborate with influencers.
- Voice: The human voice has a much greater impact than the printed word. Voice searches are becoming increasingly popular. Therefore, optimize your website to voice search. Provide succinct answers, create Alexa skill or Google action, and you will find your potential customer base expanding.
- Video: A video is much more engaging than anything else and the impressions it leaves on the human mind stays for a long time. Creating video content is not necessarily expensive or challenging. There are online tools that help in doing this. Live videos are new on the advertising scene but are catching up fast. One advantage of live video is that it is interactive and builds relationships which help move potential customers down the marketing funnel.
- Engaging Content: While good quality content is very necessary it has to be engaging to hold the attention of the users. Use content that allows the audience to engage with the brands. Include infographics, contests, and other such ideas to not only engage the audience but also collect information that could be used to follow up.
Here are five steps you need to follow through on to ensure that your limited budget is used wisely and most effectively.
- Know Your Customer: You should know clearly whom you wish to target depending on the product you are selling. A clear view of your target audience will give you a clear idea of which channels of digital or internet marketing you need to pursue the best results.
- Consider Revenue: Your digital marketing budget allocation would depend on the revenue you are generating. Generally, small businesses allocate about seven to eight percent of their revenue towards this end. However, this would once again depend on the type of business and your business ideals.
- Use Wisely: Do the necessary research to ensure that you are using your budget wisely and targeting aspects of digital marketing that would actually yield good results for you, depending on the type of business you are into.
- Test the waters: Do not spend all your budget at once. Spend a little of it on one avenue of digital marketing and see how it works, whether it is showing signs of bringing in results. That will help you determine if you should continue to use that avenue or shift to other ways of digital marketing. Check, evaluate, and decide.
Algorithms and their impact
Algorithms are little pieces of code that strive to provide you with exactly what you are looking for when you type in a search query on a search engine. These are constantly being revised and tested. These algorithms consider your location, your previous searches to understand you better, other aspects of your profile, and then try to provide you information that the search engine feels is the best possible answer to the query you have raised.
The ever-changing and ever-evolving algorithms mean that achieving SEO success for organic search is not easy. After having tried to understand its working, by the time you work out SEO something else would have changed pushing you down in the search results. This is a constant struggle and requires patience and stick-at-it attitude.
Benefits of using internet marketing services
There are many benefits to using a digital marketing agency and its services. Some of them are mentioned herein.
- They have the expertise and experience to handle the job while you might be trying to learn and understand how it works. While they will cost money it would still be cheaper and more effective than having an in-house team.
- They have the resources needed to successfully carry out the task.
- With their experience and domain knowledge, they would be able to come up with suggestions and ideas that would be of great help to you.
- It will leave you free to focus on what is more important to you, running your business.
- Scalability is a great advantage. You can start small but as your business grows you can get the digital marketing agency to do more by way of digital marketing for you.
Remember that any internet marketing endeavors take time to be successful. However, the later a business gets into digital marketing, the slower its progress will be. Do not miss the bus. Remember, a skillfully managed digital marketing strategy can yield you a very high ROI, even beyond what you had thought, and will help your business grow.