Today’s small businesses recognize the importance of digital marketing to drive their brand awareness, engagement, and sales efforts.
To achieve successful online marketing, B2C and B2B companies realize they have to be involved in all digital channels if they want to connect with their target customers. Check out these digital marketing tips, for both online and mobile marketing, geared toward small business owners that are looking to optimize their results, even on a lean budget.
From how to make an email newsletter to creative ways to upcycle your marketing content, we cover all aspects of the digital marketing world.
At a glance: Digital marketing tips your business should try
- Know where your audience hangs out online.
- Develop a structured, yet flexible, digital marketing strategy.
- Enhance your visual marketing capabilities.
- Expand your mobile marketing efforts.
- Get your audience involved in content creation.
- Don’t skip email marketing.
- Nurture your Customer Relationship Management process.
- Upcycle your marketing content.
Our favorite digital marketing tips for small businesses to use
Let’s get started on the top digital marketing tips that have proven effective for small business owners. These include locally-owned companies, freelancers with virtual companies, and startup founders intent on growing their idea into a larger enterprise.
Besides a passion for what they are doing and a drive to help solve their audience’s problems, something all small business owners share is the need to make digital marketing work with a small to non-existent budget.
1. Know where your audience hangs out online
Whether your audience consists of consumers or business professionals, the number of online channels and communities has expanded.
The fact that many people use these channels simultaneously, both as consumers and business professionals can further complicate the process of finding these targets. Knowing where to find the people you want to speak to is marketing 101.
To develop a successful online marketing strategy, you need to be aware of all the possible locations where your audience hangs out and make the most of technology to better understand why they spend so much time there.
How to find where your audience hangs out online:
- Thoroughly research all channels: You need to understand how each channel is used, what the demographics of those channels are, and why people hang out on them. This can help guide your interactions with that audience, as well as your strategy and content development.
- Leverage technology to deepen insights: There are numerous tools that analyze social media sites, posts, content, and online behavior. These can help you track how your targets behave online. For example, you can pinpoint when and where they will be on certain channels and for how long.
2. Develop a structured, yet flexible, digital marketing strategy
If you want to follow these search marketing tips, you need a structured plan. It should provide a clear framework that allows you to implement your B2B marketing strategy and tactics.
Everyone needs to know what they are responsible for so that actionable items can be measured and tracked.
Digital marketing is constantly changing due to shifting expectations, trends, and technology. A structured plan offers a strong foundation from which you can adapt as necessary, without losing your focus.
How to put a digital marketing strategy into action:
- Implement a content management system: A content management system (CMS) provides a base for content that can drive your content marketing and SEO tactics using your digital marketing plan. Even if your tactics and messaging change, your CMS can change right along with it.
- Use analytics tools: Your digital marketing plan should provide a broad structure, but it’s also important to stay on top of any shifting trends or tactics that may not be working. Analytics tools help identify and even predict changes and so guide updates to your digital marketing strategy.
3. Enhance your visual marketing capabilities
Visual content appeals to both business and consumer audiences. Whether it is images, vertical videos, 360-degree videos, live videos, disappearing stories, or social TV, the demand for visual marketing continues to grow.
This is one of the most engaging ways to connect with your audience, which means it’s critical to incorporate visual marketing for all screen sizes into your digital marketing strategy.
How to enhance your visual marketing capabilities:
- Include live video: One visual marketing tool is to use live video when you have something special to share — like a new product or service, or when you are on-site promoting a special event. Make sure you focus on planning and practice before using live video. Also try to keep it under ten minutes, and consider what will interest both your live and replay audiences.
- Create a YouTube channel: In addition to embedding videos on your website, blog, and social media profiles, you should also consider creating a YouTube channel. Consumers and business professionals may turn to this channel to watch everything from product reviews, demo videos, and testimonial videos to instructional how-to videos, expert interview videos, and presentations from past webinars or conferences.
4. Expand your mobile marketing efforts
Just looking around you should be a reminder of the importance of mobile marketing. No matter where you go, people are looking at their screens, so make sure that they are looking at your content, website, and digital presence.
How to expand mobile marketing efforts:
- Look for unique ways to use mobile: Augmented reality mobile technology is on the rise, adding a new dimension to the mobile experience for users. Think about how you could use this technology to immerse your target audience in your product or service so they can see and feel the value of your offer.
- Add cloud-based app capability: With the growth of artificial intelligence, the proliferation of data, and the increased use of connected devices, storage space becomes an important factor in managing your digital marketing efforts. Look to invest in low-cost or free cloud storage options that address your storage needs and are accessible to all team members, no matter where they are located.
5. Get your audience involved in content creation
User-generated content (UGC) deepens engagement because your audience likes to see and share content they’ve made for a brand. It is a cost-effective way to stretch those digital marketing dollars.
Plus, it can increase sales. According to a study by TurnTo Networks, 90% of consumers surveyed believe that user-generated content influences their buying decisions more than promotional emails and search engine results.
How to generate audience content creation:
- Find and use a system to collect user-generated content: There are apps and portals that can integrate with social media sites or your website and funnel all submitted user-generated content into one location for review, organization, and sharing.
- Be aware that UGC can be negative: While you obviously don’t want to share negative content about your brand, you can’t ignore it and hope it goes away. Learn from it and acknowledge those that have created it. Let these users know you appreciate their feedback and find ways to incorporate their input to make your product or service better.
6. Don’t skip email marketing
According to CampaignMonitor, email marketing provides an average return on investment of $44 for every $1 spent. And, this return may grow further because a study by The Radicati Group predicts global email use will increase from 3.8 billion users in 2018 to 4.2 billion by the end of 2022.
How to put email marketing into action:
- Build and revise your email list: Encourage website and social media visitors to sign-up for your email list so you can continue to provide them with valuable content and solutions for their real-world problems. Your email list should be regularly scrubbed for duplicates or inactive emails.
- Personalize your email marketing efforts: Email marketing software lets you add more personal touches to your email content. This makes recipients feel that you value them as individuals and drives greater engagement. This type of technology helps you to deepen that personalization, without spending a significant amount of time on it.
7. Nurture your customer relationship process
With so many channels and tactics to oversee, it's easy for things to get lost in the mix.
That’s because organizing your customer and prospect data into a CRM platform helps identify more opportunities. It allows you to personalize your digital marketing outreach, track digital marketing tactics, and further segment customers and prospects to deepen engagement.
Plus, it’s a powerful tool that should unite and streamline the collaboration between B2B sales and marketing.
How to develop your customer relationship process:
- Use a scalable CRM platform: Research all CRM systems before you invest in one to ensure it offers what you need now and in the future. While it’s ideal to get a free and minimal CRM system when you are starting out, it can be difficult to quickly migrate to a different solution later on when you start scaling up customers and leads.
- Add CRM in a stepwise fashion: Since CRM platforms tend to be so powerful, it’s more effective to roll out in phases so that the team can be trained and understand how the system works gradually. Focus on building out user groups and segments, employing certain features for specific campaigns and tactics individually to better understand the results and insights.
8. Upcycle your marketing content
You may have come across articles that suggest you recycle marketing content. However, the best way to get more mileage from existing content is to view it more as an upcycling project.
These digital marketing terms may appear to mean the same thing at first glance.
But, upcycling is a specific form of recycling where you turn existing materials or products into something original and truly unique. Instead of breaking down the materials — or, in this case, marketing content — you find ways to transform it into something that appears completely new and different.
This repurposing can lead to more relevant and compelling content — unlike the recycling tactic of cutting and pasting in some new statistics or copying a paragraph from a blog into a social media status update.
How to upcycle marketing content:
- Don’t upcycle content that wasn’t very good the first time around: Be selective about what content you upcycle. If the content didn’t provide solid research and actionable advice the first time around, there isn’t much benefit to leveraging it for future content. Only consider marketing, social, and visual content that has “good bones” to build on with new findings and value-added tips.
- Segment long-form content into multiple short-form pieces: Webinars, white papers, conference presentations, and e-books have considerable content that can be divided and upcycled into smaller content opportunities, such as blog posts or brief YouTube videos. Once you’ve segmented the long-form content into smaller content pieces, include additional keywords to optimize SEO opportunities as well as creating a call-to-action for each piece to direct readers to a landing page that has the original long-form piece.
A digital marketing roadmap
These digital marketing tips provide a way to tap into the incredible online and mobile opportunities and engage with your target audience.
By implementing the above tactics, you can deliver personalized and valuable information to potential consumers, giving them a quality experience while also alleviating their pain points.
The strategies also can be implemented by both teams with minimal resources as well as enterprises that have scaled up to much larger customer bases.