Setting your small business apart from the competition & developing your brand online is achievable. However, like most things in small business owners’ lives, it requires some hands-on learning. First, small business owners need to understand the basics of digital marketing. After grasping the basics, the next step is to effectively implement them into daily processes. Learn the digital marketing basics for your small business today!
Learn Digital Marketing Basics to Save Time & Money
Small businesses often struggle to use basic digital marketing concepts to their advantage. Search engine marketing and social media advertising require a hefty investment in time and money. Small businesses often lack one or both of these. In addition, advertising tends to be easier when you have a larger reach. Again, this is something that most small businesses lack.
As a result, developing your brand and growing your company can be daunting. Especially so when you’re competing on the same platforms as giant corporations with million dollar advertising budgets.
Thankfully, there are plenty of cost-effective ways to utilize search engine marketing and social media advertising as a small company. Large companies throw a lot of money into digital marketing, small businesses need to be efficient. Small business owners need to invest time and ad spend wisely. The first wise use of time is learning these digital marketing basics!
What is Digital Marketing?
Digital marketing is any method or strategy that uses online tools to advertise to consumers. It includes paid and unpaid advertising. Digital marketing comes in many forms. They include search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), social media marketing (SMM), email marketing, and many more.
In order to stick to the digital marketing basics, we will focus on SEM and SMM. The other methods are just as important, but these two create a solid online foundation for your small business. To learn more about small business SEO, refer to our SEO guide for small businesses.
Establish Digital Marketing Goals for Your Small Business
Before starting with the digital marketing basics, it’s a good idea to establish goals for your small business. When you clearly establish goals, it makes gauging the success, or failure, of your marketing campaigns easier. This information gains further value in the future when you invest more money and time into your advertising campaigns.
With digital marketing goals in mind, you can also start analyzing your current marketing situation. Furthermore, you can create a detailed plan to follow that results in achieving your goals.
Examples of marketing objectives that you should focus on:
- Introducing a new product into the industry via your small business
- Increase the number of followers across multiple social media platforms
- Appear on the top 3 of the Google search results with your keywords of choice
- Breaking into a new community or audience with your new products and services
- Generate a high volume of qualified leads that can convert into paying customers
- Increasing your brand’s engagement across multiple platforms
These are a couple of examples of effective goals to set. They each have quantifiable goals and you can build a detailed step-by-step plan to help you achieve them. Don’t forget that measuring your progress is the key to determining how far you are from reaching your goals.
You’ll be making use of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to help you track metrics that evaluate progress. Another common metric is Return on Investment (ROI). This measures the gains or losses generated as a result of your digital marketing investments.
Now let’s look at how to use search engines and social media to reach your digital marketing goals.
Digital Marketing Basics: Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Search engine marketing is arguably one of the more cost-effective ways to bring attention to your business. It’s one of the best ways to build your brand on the internet. However, it requires a bit of research before you can make the best use of it.
SEM is a good investment is because you can target specific audiences based on different demographics. Google saves a lot of personal information about its users. In doing so, they can categorize users based on preferences, location, age, gender, and so on. Small businesses can take advantage of search engine marketing and compete with larger companies by targeting their ideal market.
In order to make SEM work on a tight budget, you need to be smart about the audiences you target. With a careful approach, you can generate a surprisingly high return on your investment.
Making use of high-intent keywords
Larger companies can afford to use SEM to generate leads and build their brand with a broad approach. Small businesses need to focus on high-intent keywords. A high-intent keyword is something that reveals the intentions of the person searching. It often indicates that they’ve already made up their mind about a purchase. They are simply looking for the best options.
Examples of high-intent searches;
- women’s green winter sweater
- pizza restaurant near me that delivers
- cheapest car insurance in Orange County
- best local digital marketing agency
- purple giraffe stuffed animal
When bidding for keywords, it’s important to focus on those that reveal high intent to actually make a purchase. That way, you’re more likely to find qualified leads which result in a higher return on your investment. Use your ad spend wisely!
Improving the relevancy of your ads
High-quality advertisements have a much easier time converting because your audience will take more notice of them. Google actually assigns a Quality Score to your ads based on several factors. Keyword relevance, landing page quality, and historical performance are some examples.
With a higher quality score, Google rewards you with benefits such as higher ad rankings at lower costs. In other words, the higher the quality of your advertisements, the less you pay for clicks and conversions.
Utilizing different targeting methods to increase relevancy
Being able to target your advertisements at specific audiences is a fantastic way to improve relevancy and lead quality. You can choose to show ads at specific times, such as during business hours. Additionally, you can target people by gender, age, income, and many other traits. This is a powerful tool that gives you more control over who sees your ads and when.
Ideally, you should have a general idea of the type of person that is interested in your products. Creating a customer profile is an essential step when it comes to digitally marketing your small business. Effective targeting ensures that potential customers view your ads instead of showing them to the general online audience.
Digital Marketing Basics: Social Media Marketing (SMM)
Three Primary Social Media Marketing Strategies:
- Paid Advertising refers to any paid advertisements that appear on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Most social platforms clearly label advertisements. The ads generally appear in the feeds of people using the platform. These function like search engine marketing. You can narrow the demographic of your ads. Additionally, you have access to a wider range of targeting options. The information people willing give to social media platforms works to the advantage of advertisers.
- Influencer Marketing involves paying an influencer in exchange for mentioning or talking about your products, services, or brand. The costs of influencer marketing depends on how the influencer’s popularity. This is a great way to attract a larger audience. You need to research the influencer’s audience to make sure it aligns with your offerings. It’s a great way to reach out to larger communities filled with potential leads.
- Organic Growth is using free social media posts to grow your brand. Since social media platforms are free to use for everyone. It’s technically possible to grow your brand by engaging your target audience. Attempting to go viral with your content is another strategy. It is somewhat out of your control, as you are banking on the whims of social media. This is extremely difficult and unreliable. However, it has a large payoff potential. Consistent posting and engaging with your audience on social media is more effective. You can grow your brand for no financial cost, but it takes some time.
Combining social media marketing strategies for success
Advertising costs on social media will vary depending on how you approach it. The typical method of paying the social media platform for advertising space is generally the easiest and most stable approach. However, influencer marketing can be an excellent way to expose your brand to a specific audience or community of people. It involves a lot of research into the influencer that you want to work. Ideally, it can create a long-term relationship and open up networking opportunities for the future.
Organic social media growth generally involves creating content on social media, sharing posts, and providing customer support. It is an affordable, or totally free, option for SMM. However, paid tools and services exist that will increase efficiency and effectiveness. These tools can automate and schedule posts, provide support, and generate recurring reports on your social media accounts’ activity.
There’s really no right or wrong approach when it comes to social media marketing. Ideally, you should combine all three SMM strategies for maximum exposure as they can reach different audiences. However, the key to SMM is listening to your community. If possible, hiring a dedicated manager to oversee relationships with your audience will pay huge dividends.
The Key to Small Business Digital Marketing: Do a Bit of Everything
For a small business to succeed, it’s essential to use both search engine marketing and social media marketing. They’re both perfectly usable with small budgets. Combining the two digital marketing strategies ensures that you can reach a wider audience and grow your brand.
The great thing about both these digital marketing basics is that they are infinitely scalable. It just depends on how much money you choose to invest at any given time. First, start slow and be consistent. Next, tweak your approach to maximize efforts that work. Finally, gain experience with these platforms in order to confidently invest more into your digital marketing.
Need help applying the digital marketing basics? Contact us today!
Need help with your small business’s digital marketing strategy? Then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Karges Media today. After all, we are digital marketing experts. We’ll use these basic techniques and more to improve your online visibility and grow your business.