First of all, it’s great you’re considering marketing for your small business. I speak to a lot of small business owners who started their business off a foundation of existing relationships and won new clients simply via word of mouth and referrals. And that is great, in fact, it’s one of the best ways to win new business.
Unfortunately it’s not always reliable and predictable though and business owners sometimes wait till they start to dry up before considering marketing. Adding marketing to the mix early on is the best way to make the most of both avenues of new business.
Now marketing is a wide ranging term, you have traditional and broadcast marketing in the form of billboards, newspapers, tv & radio adverts. And then you have what I specalise in and believe is the best form of marketing for small businesses, digital marketing. Even digital marketing comes in may forms from SEO (search engine optimisation), digital advertising, social media and email marketing. It’s about finding what’s best for your business.
The reason I’m a huge believer in digital marketing for small businesses in particular are two primary reasons. Firstly it levels the playing field with big corporations, of course they will have more budget for ads but the way algorithms work is they don’t just value ad spend they look at quality and content so small businesses can create authentic, valuable content which can outperform a huge corporate spending fortunes. Secondly is because it’s trackable, I know how important it is for small businesses to know every pound you spend to get a return on your investment. Digital marketing provides that in much more detail then more traditional forms of marketing are able to do so.
Let’s get into the basic of digital marketing. To get visibility online you’re going to need a website and some online profiles. You likely already have a website but it still amazes me how poor a lot of small business websites are, think if it like your shopfront if you were a retail store. Your website is the core of your digital marketing activity so it’s well worth investing to create something that looks good, has a good user experience and crucially is setup to convert well (i.e. do the thing you want it do, generate leads).
Alongside a high quality website having social media profiles in your brand name and Google My Business profile all support your digital marketing activities. And as with your website you’re going want to take the time (or bring in support) to design and set these up professionally.
On the point of bringing in support if you’re not well versed in digital marketing, just like you would for other skills gaps in your business I’d advise bring in some professional support. Even if just at the start to get everything setup for you correctly and working well which you can then build on.
Whether with a professional’s support or self taught, once you’ve got all the basics in place you’re going to want to test various digital marketing channels and campaigns. For example launching a Google Ads campaign is a great way to get some quick results and initial data into whether that channel can work for you. Similarly with LinkedIn or Facebook Ads. It can take a bit longer for other channels such as SEO, organic social media and email as you won’t have so much traffic, followers or subscribers to prove if they work for you either way.
Once you’ve got some results in from the advertising campaigns you can see if there’s a clear winner (there often is) and then my advice is to double down. At the start of your digital marketing journey you just want to find what works and maximise it. This is great for ongoing motivation with digital marketing, it helps drive revenue and sets the foundation for longer term success online.
That long term success will come if you then reinvest some of the revenue (5-10% often a good market) from digital marketing back into other activity. You can expand into other areas and see if you get traction via email for example or another social media platform.
It’s also great practice to start investing in the longer-term channels such as SEO and content marketing early on. They might not drive direct results in the short term but the compounding effect of doing so can be massive in years to come and these often the become the biggest lead generators for small businesses who stuck at it over time.
Ultimatley digital marketing can be highly effective for small businesses when done well. It’s about doing the fundamentals right initially in terms of your website and overall online profile and then building on that to test some campaigns, find what works, double down on that and then reinvest and expand.
Of course it helps accelerate the process if you bring in professional support, whether it’s someone like me from a strategic perspective or experts in different areas such as website building and Google Ads campaigns (p.s. I have contacts across all areas of digital marketing I’m happy to introduce if help is needed).
As always if you have any questions or if you’d like help creating your marketing strategy request a consultation call with me today.