6 Digital Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses

It’s not easy to be a small business in today’s demanding marketing world. Expectations are big, budgets are small, and the list of things you could do feels overwhelming. Talk about option paralysis!

How can you get the biggest ROI? How can you measure your marketing success? Do you really need to advertise online? We’ve asked ourselves these same questions, and we’re here to help you answer them.

Read on for six digital marketing strategies you can apply to your small business today.

1. Optimize your website for desktop and mobile users

Desktop and mobile optimization icon

If your website isn’t optimized to look beautiful and function intuitively on both desktop and mobile devices, you’re behind the curve in 2020. On average, smartphones and tablets account for more than 51 percent of all internet traffic — and in many industries, that number is even higher.

It’s an old phrase, but it rings true today: Your website is your 24/7 billboard. Think of it as a home base for all of your other online marketing efforts. Providing a good experience to all users regardless of browsing device will help you reach potential customers and appear more credible.

Here’s how to get started

  1. Prioritize important information above the fold
  2. Reduce the amount of text entry necessary so users don’t have to type
  3. Make sure all buttons and text links are large enough for a user to easily target with their thumb

2. Prioritize search engine optimization

Search engine optimization icon

Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most important marketing strategies for small businesses in 2020. 90 percent of users click one of Google’s first-page results when they search for something, and many skip over paid advertisements entirely to prioritize the organic listings.

When you’re a small company with a potentially niche product, SEO can make a world of difference.

Here’s how to get started

  1. Focus on local long-tail keywords that have a reasonable search volume
  2. Make sure all pages and posts have relevant meta titles and descriptions
  3. Write for your users — utilize subheadings and keep your language simple

3. Create relevant, valuable content

Content creation icon pencil and paper

A great way to slice through the digital marketing noise to build rapport with your potential customers is to provide them with valuable content. There’s plenty of information available on the internet — but not all of it is what your audience is looking for.

Relevant content exists in the sweet spot where what you want to say meets what your customers want to hear.

Here’s how to get started

  • Think about your expertise, brand voice, and what unique value you can provide
  • Research what questions your audience is asking
  • Use your findings to create content in that overlap

4. Polish your Google My Business listing

Google my business logo

If you’re a small business trying to make waves in a local market, one of the best things you can do for your bottom line is to optimize your Google My Business (GMB) listing.

Google is the king of search engines, responsible for more than 90 percent of all internet queries. And when a potential customer searches for your services locally, a handful of Google My Business listings show up above the first organic web results.

Screenshot of Google results for the term digital marketing madison wi

That’s right — before we see a single webpage when we search for “digital marketing Madison Wi,” Google presents us with the above GMB listings.

If you can optimize your business’s profile to show up in those top few GMB results, you’ll get in front of potential customers right at the start of their search. Sounds like a win to us!

Here’s how to get started

  • Make sure your business hours, address, and basic information are correct
  • Include relevant keywords, especially local and long-tail ones
  • Add photos — businesses with images are more likely to draw user attention

5. Consider the impact of organic social media

Social media icon humans connected in social network

In 2020, potential customers expect you to have a social media presence. For some businesses, this is just a “necessary evil” — but for others, it has the potential to drive bottom-line success.

Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram are the perfect opportunity to increase brand awareness, especially in the retail industry. By creating compelling content that users want to share within their networks, you might find yourself able to reach your target market on a limited budget.

Here’s how to get started

  • Research your target market to understand what content they want to see
  • Try to provide useful information — avoid sounding too promotional or “sales-y”
  • Consistently engage with your viewers by responding to comments and messages

6. Invest in social media advertising

Social media logos with dollar sign

There’s no denying it: A huge portion of your desired audience spends time on social media. Facebook alone has more than 2.3 billion active users across a huge range of demographics, and the platform lets you target ads to people with specific locations, interests, ages, behaviors, and more.

Social media advertising is especially useful for small businesses that sell their products online, since it’s a prime opportunity to reach people across the country or even world in just a few clicks.

And though the opportunities for optimization and complexity are endless, a basic Facebook ad is actually quite easy to create. All you need is a headline, brief descriptive copy, one image, and a website or landing page link to get started.

Here’s how to get started

  • Do some research to define your target audience
  • Think about your ad objective: brand awareness, conversions, or something else?
  • Compile your ad creative and publish

There isn’t a magic marketing solution

Our jobs would be easy if we could just press a button to create the perfect cookie-cutter marketing plan for every client — but they’d be so much less fun, too. At the end of the day, there’s no magic marketing solution for anyone.

Marketing is about connecting with the right customers, in the right place, at the right time. It looks different for every company. Years of experience and research can provide a good baseline — but until we get to know you, it’s nearly impossible to say what the best plan of action is.

The above strategies are all viable for small businesses in 2020, but some will make more sense than others in your unique situation. If you have questions about where to go next on your marketing journey, we’re happy to chat!

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