Digital marketing is essential for all businesses these days. Whether it’s promoting your product/service or connecting with your customers, it’s a must for any business.

If you’re a small business with limited cash and looking to kick off your marketing yourself, here are a few tips to help you get started…

1. Get your website basics right
In this day and age, it’s essential for almost every business to have a website. Yours should clearly demonstrate what you have to offer your customers, demonstrate your expertise and also easily allow the user to get in touch with you.

If you’re selling your product/service directly from your website, make it as easy as possible for the customers to increase your sales. This also goes for your website design and layout – an easy to use website is a lot more powerful than a complex one with too much information and confusing pages.

Once you’ve got your website up and running, you can then move onto your blog…

2. Start a blog
A blog is a great way to inform people about your business and what you do. It gives you the opportunity to demonstrate your expertise in your field and provide value to your audience. For instance, if your business is a small accounting firm, your blog should include lots of useful posts on tax returns, tax rules, accounting tips and anything else your customers would want to know. You can also use your blog to promote new products and tell your audience about news within your business.

A blog has two powerful purposes, not only does it improve your website’s SEO (the more quality pages on your site the better Google will rank your business), it also means you’ve got content to share with your audience on social media to drive traffic back to your website.

3. Get a credible business address
Google prefers businesses with an address over websites that could be anyone from anywhere. Their goal is to provide the best solution to their users, so if your business is listed at an address, this could really improve your visibility in online search results.

It’s not wise to use your home address for your business unless you rely on customers coming to your home. The best thing to do is to get a virtual office that provides you with a local business address.  This will improve your credibility to your customers and you can even have your business mail sent to your virtual office and forwarded onto you.

Get your virtual office here!

4. Pick the right social media platform
As a small business, you need social media to promote your business and spread the word. Using all the major social platforms might be necessary for some businesses, but it’s usually not the case for most.

Instead of spreading yourself thin and trying to post everywhere,  spend your time and energy on the platform that’s right for your business.

Which platform is your customer base using? What format do your posts work best on? (written / video / image etc) and what platform works best for that format? For example, if your business makes handmade baby clothes, photos are going to be the best way to showcase them, and your audience is going to be a consumer on Instagram and Facebook, not LinkedIn.

Digital Marketing Tips for Small Business Owners

5. Create a content calendar
A content calendar consists of planning your social media posts and any other content your business creates (blogs, brochures etc). It’s a way of getting creative and getting organised so you don’t always have to come up with new ideas every time you need to market your business online.

As a small business, you’ll have to come up with innovative ways to stand out online. Creating a content calendar is a great way to plan what you’re going to share in advance.

If you’re struggling to come up with good ideas, look at what your competitors are doing and research ideas online. You can also test different types of posts to see what your audience responds to the best. Always aim to provide your audience with value and avoid over-promoting your business.

Once you’ve created your content calendar, you can then schedule it all with a tool like Hootsuite and get on with other areas of your business. But always remember to manually check your social accounts and engage with your audience and their posts.

6. Promote your business with an advert
Running a digital advert is the quickest way for your target customer to find out about you. Advertising will cost you and the price will depend on who you want to reach and what platform you use – but you can set a budget to suit you.

Whether you try social media advertising or PPC (pay-per-click), or both, the advert content is crucial. Make sure your advert uses an eye-catching image and concise text to clearly demonstrate what you’re offering.

Start with a small budget and test the performance of the ad before allocating a large budget. And before running an advert, make sure your website can effectively capture the leads your advert sends your way – otherwise, you’ll simply be wasting your money.

7. Track your efforts
Using tools such as google analytics is a good way to measure your efforts. Analytics can show you the demographics of the person that has been on your website or social media page and what actions they’ve taken – for instance, whether they’ve read your blog on your website and then made a purchase or commented on your social media posts. This means you can see what’s working and determine where to focus your efforts more in the future.

It can seem daunting to tackle every aspect of digital marketing, especially if you have lots of other roles within your business. It may take some time to find what works, but by remaining consistent and creative you should eventually see results.