As a small business owner, you may find you don’t have the resources available to find the perfect digital marketing agency, or to hire your very own in-house social media and marketing wizard. As with many other aspects of running a small business, it's often up to you to learn the ropes. Here’s a look at some DIY tips for SME digital marketing to get you started:
Research competitor strategies
For any business, big or small, it’s important to have an edge over your competitors. This, of course, comes with competitor research. You’ll want to establish how you can offer additional value in the market against your competitors.
Doing a quick Google search is a great place to begin your research. You’ll be able to immediately see what kind of keywords they’re ranking for, and what they’re targeting. You can then begin to think of ways to differentiate yourself from your competitor. And, if there are no stand-out elements that make you different from rival businesses – invent one.
Improve your SEO knowledge
You might not be familiar with search engine optimisation (SEO), but it should be a vital part of your overall digital marketing strategy. If you haven't got the extra funds to hire an SEO firm, then it's well worth getting to grips with the basics.
If your site is running on WordPress (26% of all websites do), then you can download a few plugins. Start with Yoast SEO and WP Smush. Yoast SEO will help you with optimising content and WP Smush will compress your images. Then, you can do some further research with information on tools such as Moz.
Furthermore, for small businesses, local SEO can be an untapped goldmine. This will create awareness for your business specifically in your area. So, when people are in town and looking for a business like yours, you’ll pop up in Google. As such, if you've not already, be sure to join Google My Business to get started.
Create an engaging blog
An interesting and engaging blog that adds value can do wonders for your business. It’s a way to drive traffic to your site by targeting longer, less-searched keywords known as LSI keywords.
Evergreen content is a huge part of this. This is where you create useful and innovative content that’ll keep driving traffic to your site for years to come. Before you get writing, spend some time establishing a solid tone of voice for your business blog and brand.
Consider Google Ads
Pay-per-click (PPC) can ensure that your brand is reaching your target audience. As part of the Google Ads service, you can define a budget and set goals to target your keywords. It’s incredibly useful for those brands who believe they’ve got a great message but are struggling to get it out to their target demographic.
Keep content visual and professional
Big brands understand the power of visual, dynamic content – and you should too. Be consistent when it comes to your content and you’ll soon reap the rewards. If your website looks good and is user-friendly, there’s no reason why you won’t see a low bounce rate. Engaging imagery, wonderful videos and interactive elements on your website will increase the time that a user spends there. Creating an engaging explainer video can be a good place to start.
Don’t underestimate social media
Getting noticed on social media is a difficult undertaking. Especially recently, as the price to push your business to the right audience on platforms such as Facebook or Instagram seems to be rising steeply. But, that doesn’t mean that your SME can’t find some success on social media at all.
In fact, a small budget targeted correctly can actually provide you with a great level of success. Whether the aim is to create a bigger influx of traffic, increase engagements for certain media (such as videos) or simply increase the number of likes or subscribers to your profile.
The trick to achieving this is to ensure that you narrow down your audience. The more specific you make your target audience, the likelier a conversion will be (so long as you understand the audience you should be targeting). The fact is that if you know how to make your Facebook, Instagram or whatever social campaign targeted enough, then it should work for your SME. When in doubt, don’t be afraid to run a few small-budget test campaigns to see what audience reacts best or conforms better to your overall campaign aims.
Grow your mailing list
It may sound old-school in this day and age, but businesses are still getting a lot of user interaction by staying in touch with customers. Whenever a customer clicks onto your site, you should always have a pop-up encouraging them to sign up to your mailing list. This should be a non-invasive, subtle pop-up, which will work even better when you offer them a great discount as an incentive to sign up.
If you’re using a CMS like WordPress then you will also be able to integrate mailing software - through a plugin - like MailChimp into the site. Which enables you to create clean, stylish, email pop-ups or sign up forms at a level which can help grow your sign ups over a longer period of time. This is especially important if you don’t have the funds to pay a developer to do it for you.
On the whole, managing your own digital marketing can seem daunting for a typical SME. But, it doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg to do so - there are a number of skills which you can learn to bolster your efforts in the early days of your business.
About the Author
Zack Halliwell is a freelance writer who specializes in writing about business and marketing. His articles focus on everything from branding to the latest tech releases. He works with a number of different businesses, including litigation solicitors Pannone Corporate. When not writing he can be found on long mountain walks with his dog, Batman.