Get Your Small Business on the Map: 5 Digital Marketing Tips

May 15, 2024 0 Comments

Studies show that people spend an average of almost eight and a half hours interacting with digital media per day. This includes time spent scrolling through social media, checking emails, watching shows and movies on streaming services, and more. Are you taking advantage of this time your customers spend on their phones and computers?

If your small business doesn’t have a clear marketing strategy, you could be missing out on the opportunity to cultivate a strong digital presence and promote meaningful engagement. 

Fortunately, getting started doesn’t have to be complicated. Whether you own a pet-care business, bookstore, or flower shop, these five tips will help put your small business on the digital map.

1. Understand your target audience

Your small business likely doesn’t have the seemingly endless budgets and robust marketing departments that large corporations do. This means that you’ll need to be more economical with your efforts, choosing only the communication channels and tactics that truly resonate with your audience.

Start by digging into your customer data to better understand who they are. Use these strategies to identify your ideal customer and ensure your digital marketing materials appeal to them:

  • Send out surveys. Solicit feedback about your clients’ communication preferences and ask how they came across your business. Adjust your digital marketing strategy according to the responses you receive to make clients feel valued and drive better results.
  • Analyze your CRM. Your CRM, or customer relationship management system, stores and organizes information about your existing customers. This database will reveal your customers’ traits, preferences, buying patterns, and more, helping you develop donor-driven engagement strategies.
  • Perform market research. Market research is the process of gathering information about current and potential customers for your product or service, as well as general trends for your industry (e.g., is the purchase of your product trending up or down?). Typically, marketing research relies on third-party data to help you understand broader, industry-wide patterns and capture audiences you don’t currently serve.
  • Create customer personas. Personas are fictional people who represent the different audiences your business needs to appeal to. For instance, if you own a dog grooming business, you could create customer personas for those with small dogs and those with large dogs. Then, tailor your communications according to each persona’s demographics, behaviors, preferences, and motivations.

Once you have a clear understanding of which audience(s) to target, start putting your ideas into action. Brainstorm which tactics, content, and communication channels will best engage each audience to increase the chance that they will purchase your product or service.

2. Optimize your website

Successful digital marketing campaigns always have a comprehensive, compelling website at their center. Each marketing message should link to an engaging, relevant landing page on your website that leads customers closer to converting.

For example, if you launch a campaign to spread awareness of your hair salon right after you open, you might link to a page that details all of the services you offer in each of your emails and social media posts. Then, that page can include a link customers can use to book an appointment.

To ensure your website does its job in converting first-time visitors into customers, remember to:

  • Make the website mobile-friendly. Because 60% of website traffic comes from mobile devices, it’s crucial to give these mobile users a positive experience. Make sure your website can resize to fit the user’s screen so they won’t need to zoom in to browse the site. Check text, image, and button sizes to ensure everything is legible and easy to tap on a smaller screen. Finally, examine load speed and navigation to confirm that the site populates quickly and mobile users can easily move through your site.
  • Follow search engine optimization (SEO) best practices. The higher your business ranks in Google search results, the more likely people are to visit your website and invest in your products or services. Publish relevant, high-quality content that targets specific keyword phrases, such as “dog daycare near me” or “best pet boarding businesses.” Including these top keywords in page headings and across sitewide features like your navigation menu.
  • Leverage third-party integrations. Connect relevant software solutions to your website, such as your recurring billing software, booking tools, and CRM. This streamlines processes for your business and its customers. For example, if you own a dog kennel, you could integrate your website with Gingr’s dog boarding software to allow customers to conveniently make reservations and payments, sign forms, and see pictures of their pets while they stay with you.

Additionally, follow accessibility guidelines like adding alternative text to images and having proper contrast between text and background colors so that anyone can visit and engage with all of the content on your website.

3. Leverage omnichannel marketing

Omnichannel marketing is a strategy that involves using multiple communication channels and integrating them to give your customers a seamless experience. The goal of this tactic is to provide a cohesive shopping experience for your customers, whether they’re browsing your social media accounts, shopping in your online store, or visiting your brick-and-mortar shop.

For example, let’s say you run a pet training business. Here is an example of how and omnichannel campaign would look:

  1. Discovery: A client uses Google to search for a pet trainer in their area, and one of your paid ads is listed as the top result.
  2. Interest: The client clicks the ad and navigates to your website. They begin filling out the registration form. However, they abandon the page before submitting it.
  3. Follow-up: Using the phone number that they provided during their last visit, you send an SMS message to remind them that their registration is incomplete. To make completing the process easy, you link to the half-completed form.
  4. Conversion: The client returns to your site to complete their registration and receives an automated confirmation email from your organization.
  5. Retention: You then use email marketing to invite them to explore your other services, events, and volunteer opportunities.

When done correctly, omnichannel marketing provides customers with a highly personalized experience that helps drive sales and produce a higher return on investment. Remember to choose the communication channels your audience is already familiar with, and chart a customer journey that moves each prospect carefully down the sales funnel.

4. Collect digital marketing KPIs

Key performance indicators (KPIs) are metrics used to measure your digital marketing success. These measurements should align with your campaign’s goals. For example, if your goal is to increase sales, you’ll need to track the campaign’s conversion rate.

Here are a few digital marketing metrics to start monitoring:

  • Website traffic
  • Conversions from each digital marketing channel
  • Social media engagement (e.g., likes, comments, and follows)
  • Email open rates and click-through rates
  • SEO performance (e.g., ranking status for relevant keywords)

As you collect and interpret these metrics, make sure your data remains organized and updated. “Clean” data is accurate, relevant, and free of issues like duplications, resulting in more effective lead generation and personalized outreach. To keep your data clean, NPOInfo recommends adopting data hygiene practices like regularly checking that customer profiles are up-to-date.

5. Create training resources.

To maintain a successful marketing strategy of any kind, your business will need to leverage cohesive, consistent branding and messaging. Keep messaging consistent while encouraging teamwork by:

  • Sharing your brand’s style guide. Once your business has solidified core aspects of its brand like your logo, color scheme, and brand voice, create a style guide employees can reference. Style guides can also be shared with third-party services you may hire, such as graphic designers or marketing agencies, to maintain brand consistency.
  • Creating training documents and video tutorials. If new employees need specific skills to get started with marketing, create appropriate training materials. For digital marketing, you might include guidelines for responding to different kinds of comments on social media or best practices for when and how to post video content.
  • Fostering a culture of collaboration. Because marketing campaigns are a serious undertaking, you’ll likely have more than one staff member planning, executing, and evaluating these efforts. Encourage staff to share advice and resources, brainstorm as a group, seek constructive feedback, and maintain clear communication to build a positive, collaborative work environment.

Additionally, your business can offer incentives that motivate your employees to work together and develop innovative approaches. Provide competitive compensation, give out employee gifts and bonuses, and consider additional ways to cultivate a positive environment where employees feel supported and motivated to work. These efforts will also boost employee retention, ensuring that your trained and knowledgeable staff members stay with you for the long haul.

By following these best practices, you’ll set yourself up for digital marketing success. Remember to continually track the performance of your outreach efforts and make improvements accordingly to boost your marketing ROI. This way, you can ensure that you’re connecting with the right audiences, inspiring them to engage with your business and become loyal customers.