You have a small business or side “hustle” and you may or may not have a basic website.
Now how do you get people to your site, how do you get people to buy or request your service, how do you differentiate yourself from all the big players?
The answer is digital marketing, and I am here to help you!
Here is a list of 5 things you must do as a small business owner to market your business online:
1. Having a Website Is the most important part! Think of it as your online store or office. It is the online location customers go to learn more about you, your business and what you have to offer. It is the destination to direct traffic, educate, and collect leads. Having a website doesn’t have to be expensive. You can build one yourself with all the different website building tools out there, or you can hire someone to build one for you, depending on your budget. Consider these things when building your website:
- Represent your brand: your website should communicate your brand message consistently, with logos, colours and even the language you use. It is important to build a brand voice that represents your business and who you want to target. Here is a helpful website to help you create your brand voice.
- Powerful About page: With all your pages on your website may be different, having a solid About page can do a lot to attract customers. It is the place customers can generate interest about you, your experience as well as personally. Writing an about me page was something that I struggled with but got some useful tips from Neil Patel.
- Start a blog: Trust me, it is a free way to build your online presence if done correctly. Starting a blog boost traffic and credibility by using a proper SEO strategy (see #5). This task may seem daunting but when you have an idea, writing it down so you don’t loose it (see #2)
- Enable Sharing buttons: This lets visitors share your website and its content quick and easily. As a small business owner, this is free marketing. Having your viewers share your content only draws more traffic to your site through their contacts, kind of like word of mouth through the internet.
- Be mobile friendly: Did you know 60% of online organic searches happen from a mobile device? With the internet LITTERALLY at everyone’s finger tips, it is VITAL that your website is mobile friendly. Luckily, if you are using a platform like WordPress, Shopify, or Wix, these all have mobile optimization friendly themes.
- Collect and review metrics (Google Analytics) can be difficult to see who are you reaching, where your visitors are coming from and how you can improve your website if you are not using tracking tools like Google Analytics. If you are not familiar with Google Analytics, it can be quite over whelming to use and understand, I recommend going through the Google Academy before implementing Google Analytics on your website.
2.Content Marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on created and distributing high quality, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience to generate engagement and brand awareness. Content is important, I listed 3 reasons why creating content is important to your brand on a previous blog post. The response I always get is, I don’t have enough time, I forget, or what do I write about? There are multiple time management tricks, idea banking with lists and how to get people to view your content.
- Content calendar: Create a calendar with what you want to post, when you want to post and where you want to post. Creating this calendar helps you stay a head of the game. My tip for you is to spend 1-2 hours once a month and build an entire calendar of posts. It may seem like a daunting task, and it is, but you can set it and not have to think of captivating captions, or what picture you are going to post at the time. There are also lots of tools you can use to automatically post as you plan it out over the month. I keep mine in a google drive document spread sheet with the content I want to post, and a separate sheet of any ideas I want to develop further. This lets me have access to it anywhere and everywhere, so when an idea pops into my mind, I won’t forget about it.
- Social Share: Decide where you want to share it. Your content will be wasted unless you can get your target audiences eyes on it. Create a plan for how you will share the content, when you will share it and how you can share the same piece of content on multiple platforms.
- Stretch your content: What do I mean “Stretch your content”? You can get huge mileage out of one single piece of content. For example, “micro blogging”, sharing short phrases of a blog, and use it as captions, with pictures, linking everything back to your website. Having a strategic plan on where to stretch target across multiple platforms lets you reuse content in different ways.
3.Social media is an excellent marketing tool for many small businesses. It is free, has potential to reach a large audience, a way to communicate directly with your customers and potential customers and followers can share your content.
- Choose one to start: There are so many platforms, don’t try to create a presence on every social platform at one time. Explore and research benefits of each, choose one or two that is best for you and your business and focus your time there.
- Claim your brand on all platforms: You may not need to be active on every social platform yet, but register your brand name on each network to prevent anyone else from using it.
- Be consistent: When setting up your social business pages, use the same profile Image, bio, banners and colours to be cohesive and strengthen your brand presence.
- Focus on conversation and engagement: Remember, at the end of the day, social media is about conversation, not blasting content and promotions. Remember to respond to messages quickly, and respond to comments left on your content.
- Reviews: Encourage your customers to leave positive reviews of your business. This will encourage futures clients and prospect followers to connect with you
- Use Social Media Insights: Use the insights tools available on social platforms to see what posts are being engaged with. This lets you understand what content to create more of and what to stop doing.
4.If you are able to successfully use email marketing, you gain the ability to communicate with your customers on a regular basis. They key is sending messages on a consistent schedule that it is relevant and interesting for your audience. It may take some time to build a quality email list, but it is well worth the wait.
- Choose the right platform: There are so many email marketing platforms to choose from. I use and love But its up to you to choose what is right for your business
- Newsletter template: Most email platforms provide ready-to-use templates that you can customize and reuse the template each time to make it cohesive
- Not just Newsletters: Although they are a good option, there are many other times of messages you can use to communicate to your audience. Try a few and test them out and see what responds well to your audience
- Use metrics: Most email platforms use tools that you can track emails that are opened and what links are clicked.
5. Search Engine Optimization plays a big role in digital marketing if it is done right. If the content you create isn’t optimize you will struggle to get the right people to your website. If you are new to this, you may want to do some research or consult an expert, because, unfortunately, if you do it wrong it is hard to make it right again.
- Research: Get to know how your website and competitors’ websites are working. Use google and other search engines to see where you and your competitors rank
- Keywords: Create and brainstorm a list of keywords that are relevant to your brand and your content you want to create. There are many tools that you can use, like google key word planner and Moz.com that help evaluate the relevance of the search terms in google and how often they are searched
- Use SEO tools: There are so many SEO tools available. Some are free some are not. A select few websites have plugins that are built into websites and some have widgets that can be added. I love using Yoast for my WordPress website. Keep in mind these tools are not for SEO, but to better help you gage how you are doing with your SEO.
You may have learned a lot and found this useful, but sometimes you can’t do everything yourself. Digital marketing is an area that is big, ever changing and so many opinions on what works for your small business and what doesn’t, that the best option may be outsourcing some or all of it so it gives you time to focus on your growing business.