As consumers move away from brick and mortar to click and order, many small businesses have made the move to offering online shopping on their websites or social media pages to keep up with their customers’ needs.
According to Statistics Canada, retail e-commerce sales soared to an all-time high in 2020, and post-COVID-19, it’s projected that customers will continue to choose e-commerce purchasing options.
With that in mind, small businesses need to find new ways to keep up with this trend by enhancing their online presence and providing seamless e-commerce to target customers most efficiently. That’s where having a digital marketing strategy comes in handy.
Traditional marketing, such as newspaper advertising or mail-out flyers are quickly becoming outpaced by the power of digital marketing. As customization and automation technology rapidly evolves, there is no better time than now to invest time and energy into digital marketing. There are endless possibilities with digital marketing that aren’t possible through traditional or print marketing – such as creating a custom audience profile through social media ads or leveraging search engine results to drive lead generation.
Here are the top 7 things you can do as a small business owner to maximize your social visibility and potential online conversions.
7 Useful Digital Marketing Tips
Know Your Customer
Regardless of if you are a small business owner or a multinational corporation, when you start a business online, it is important to hone in on your business goals and establish a target audience. Creating a digital marketing strategy can help you find the right audience at the right time – especially if you have a niche customer base.
Getting to know your customer is critical to help you provide them with what they’re looking for. Some of the basic information that you should know regarding your customer includes:
Demographic Customer Questions:
- Where do they live? (neighbourhood, city, region, country, etc)
- What’s their age and gender?
- Which online social media platforms do they use?
- Where are they looking for information to make a purchasing decision? (e.g. Google Search, social media, review sites, Amazon, etc)
- Do you have different audiences for your different products or services?
- What problems are your customers experiencing that have them hire your services or purchase your products?
Answering these questions makes it easier for you to reach your audience where they are the most active online and help you tailor content that caters to a specific audience.
Build a Strong Social Media Presence
A whopping 82% of the North American population is active on social media, with Canada being one of the world’s most connected populations with an average of nearly 7 social media accounts per person!
So why is that important for your business? Your brand needs to be active on social media platforms to be easily reachable and recognizable for potential customers.
The most popular platforms of the moment are Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, and Tik Tok. As a starting point, create a business page on these platforms and post once a minimum of once a week to ensure you keep an engaged follower base. Post topics are endless and can be about current sales or promotions, seek audience feedback on a topic or product, or be related to a trend on social media.
Posting regularly will help you make a place for yourself in the world of social media, especially if you are actively interacting and spreading awareness regarding the products and services you are offering.
Modern Website Design
Once you have established your brand, built a social media presence, and created a target audience, what’s the next step? You need to redirect this audience to a place where they can learn more about you and the products and services you are offering.
Creating a website is one of the most crucial requirements of digital marketing as it should offer your customers a smooth experience from the time they land on the page until they checkout. Gone are the days of static and plain websites – your website should be image-driven, with many opportunities for your potential customers to do a desired action – whether that is sign up for an email newsletter or purchase a product on sale.
Apart from making your website visually pleasing, you also need to make sure that it is functional and easy to navigate. Before you’re ready to build your website, take a look at other websites and/or competitors in your industry on the first couple of pages on Google search engine and evaluate what you like about their site the most from a user-experience perspective to help you lay a foundation for what features to include for your website. Don’t forget to get creative and think of what sets you apart from your competition – your website reflects who you are as a brand and works for you 24/7, so it is critical to create a site that has the perfect balance of being attractive, informative and intuitive.
Tip: While adding lots of information and elements to your website can be beneficial for your customers, if your website is too slow or too confusing to navigate, customers will not hesitate to move on to a different brand with a better website. In some cases, less is more in terms of web copy – read on for more insights as to how plain language and search engine optimization (SEO) and help you achieve
Use the Power of SEO
Search Engine Optimization helps drive the quality and quantity of a website’s traffic through the use of search engines, like Google or Bing. SEO’s main job is to target the traffic that is not paid for through advertising. SEO optimization for your business includes adding keywords to web copy to help come up in a search, optimizing your website’s page speed performance and content, building a website structure that
Search engines are often the first place a potential customer looks for a product or service. It is significant enough to increase the visibility of your website and direct traffic towards your business which in turn offers you more and more opportunities to convert the traffic into sales.
One of the most used ways traffic is directed to a website is through Google Searches. With the constant change in Google’s algorithm, brand websites need to be updated with keywords that ensure their pages show up in a high ranking when people search for a product or service that they offer. Having your webpage found on the first search increases your chances of receiving clicks which is great for your click-through rate and overall business.
Get Into Google Listing
Google being one of the largest search engines is highly credible and reliable for people all around the world. It has a listing which is not a website but in fact, a list that appears when potential prospects search for your business name or the services you offer. These listings are like the proof of reliability as they allow for customers to reach your business by having your contact information all in one place. Getting listed on Google is one of the key digital marketing strategies that you can implement to reach your targeted audience.
Google My Business is a tool that is effective especially for small or local businesses. If there are customers looking for a product or service in your area and they search for it on Google, it will list down your company name. When customers see a business profile that already has positive reviews, it helps boost the engagement and authenticity of the business. As such, customers are automatically willing to explore more about what you have to offer.
Use E-mail marketing to your advantage
Directing traffic towards your website is great, but that is not all you need to do. Your actual digital marketing skills are put to test when you mark the visitors who have landed on your website and keep in touch with them. Each time a potential customer visits your website, it is not necessary that they will buy something from you right away. However, you are required to stay on top of their mind and bring them closer to making a purchasing decision.
E-mail is an integral part of your digital marketing strategy. As a matter of fact, 73 percent of millennials prefer being communicated with by businesses through e-mails. Not only is e-mail marketing effective but also it is easy, free, and scalable. It helps you contact customers whether they are new visitors or existing loyal customers. Once you set up an e-mail marketing tool on your website, you can start experimenting with sending out newsletters, newly updated blog posts, and offers on your website via e-mail. As a small business, it may seem like a lot to juggle with the different marketing tools. However, once you devote yourself to digital marketing and start scheduling your strategies, it will be easy, quick, and worth the effort for your business.
Visualize your business with video marketing
Visuals are pleasing and that is a fact that cannot be neglected. When it comes to digital marketing, it is important for you to learn how to grab customer attention. Keeping in mind traditional marketing strategies, the chances of customers reading about your company are quite sleek. You could post advertisements and offers on your website, but they will never make it as far as you want them to if they are not interesting or attractive.
Today, video marketing is big in the digital marketing industry. You need to be selective about who you want to target and once you have established that, you should create videos that help garner attention from your targeted audience easily. Reading long paragraphs about what your brand offers may not work as much as customers seeing a visual representation of who you are, what your products look like, and what is the experience they can expect.