A Guide to Digital Marketing for Small Businesses - Grow the Smart Way.
This guide shows you different ways to grow your business with necessary and effective digital marketing methods.
Businesses and SMEs need marketing to stay afloat, relevant and in the market long-term.
This is because we live in a day and age where everything is moving super fast, what is relevant now might not be relevant in a month. Marketing is agile and adapts to current trends in the market.
Now, think of marketing in the digital world and online. Even faster, right? Platforms such as TikTok give you an accurate idea of how fast trends come and go, and how long relevancy lasts. Add on top the fact that businesses are becoming more and more digitalised - especially after the pandemic - you start to understand how essential digital marketing is and how ever-changing and dynamic it is.
In this guide, we will be discussing:
- What is digital marketing?
- Why is it so important?
- Digital Marketing Methods and Real-life Examples
- How To Do Marketing - Your Essential Toolkit
Let’s dive into this topic and learn more on several ways to grow your business the smart way.
What is digital marketing?
Digital marketing is all about using various marketing methods that work online, either through an electronic device or through the internet. For instance, doing marketing on social media and using various methods to grow your social channels is considered a form of digital marketing.
Why is it so important?
Digital marketing is important because - quite frankly - everything is digital now. Promoting a business online is the first step to making it work for you long-term and with real results.
Traditional advertising initiatives, such as printed adverts and flyers, are rapidly declining as the digital age is here to stay. Especially after the pandemic, digitalisation has accelerated even faster, as companies were trying to adapt to the new reality, moving online to successfully market themselves.
Utilising all digital marketing channels, such email marketing and social media, is key when it comes to high growth, high ROI and doubling traffic. These channels have helped increase brand awareness for 86% of marketers in 2021. As you can see, digital marketing is important if you want to stand out.
Many marketers also attest to the fact that conducting marketing online increases brand credibility and trust with the customer, ensuring customer retention long-term and a stable revenue. It makes sense when you think about it.
How many times have you purchased from a website after going through their Instagram? Do you see now how online marketing creates a trustworthy bond between the brand and the customer?
Digital marketing is important in this day and age as everything is slowly turning digital and online.
Digital Marketing Methods and Real-life Examples
Yes, digital marketing is growing and it’s an important way of reaching the online world, but how do you really do it? What does it really mean to execute digital marketing?
There are plenty of methods to effectively do marketing whether online or offline, B2B or B2C. In this section, we explain four methods of a marketing method that works in the digital world, giving you a real-life example of a campaign to explain why it was successful and why digital marketing works so well in the market.
Most businesses use email marketing as one channel of effectively attracting and nurturing their audience, because it works.
In 2021, there was an increase in email engagement, as observed by 78% of marketers in email marketing. People are interested in newsletters and on the latest updates from the brand they feel connected to. It is the best way to nurture leads and retain customers as emails keep customers engaged with the brand even when they're not shopping.
The Daily Carnage is a successful daily newsletter.
It works because the goal is to provide useful information to its email list instead of nurture. This type of email provides constant information to marketers that is relevant, useful, valuable and engaging.
PPC, or Pay-Per-Click, is also a great way to attract targeted traffic and your ideal target audience. After all, you want to attract the most relevant customers to your page, who are interested in exploring your services and making sales. Paid advertising online does require a certain budget but it can be achieved cost-effectively with the right keywords, the right budget and the right strategy in place.
PPC is known as a quick and easy way to get customers to visit your website, to increase traffic acquisition and leads to your business.
Snickers ran a successful PPC campaign by targeting misspelled words such as ‘buisness’, and creating a campaign that promoted the message of ‘you’re so hungry that you are unable to type properly’ insinuating that you need a Snickers bar for a snack and to function properly.
It worked because this was not only a PPC campaign but a main advertising method across all channels. It was printed advertising on posters, on TV and on metro banners. It helped Snickers stay front of mind on all channels of communication.
Social Media Marketing
Utilising your various channels of communication with social media, the possibilities are endless in reaching out to as many people as possible. Executing marketing using platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Youtube, your target reach can be quite extensive.
It is important that every business has a strong social media presence. Social media is the first platform a potential customer visits after discovering your website, with 54% of browsers using social media to research products. This is so that they can confirm that your services and products are genuine and high-quality.
It's also a great way to be engaged with your customers, in the comment section or in the chat, and offer better customer service and UX.
Converse won this category by creating a social media campaign on TikTok. It encouraged TikTokers to customise and design their own Converse shoes and post it on TikTok using a branded hashtag #ConverseAllStar, with the incentive of winning tickets to the Converse London All Star Creative event.
It worked because it drew a lot of attention to the brand and engaged a lot of participants, uniting everyone through pure creativity.
Content marketing is a digital marketing strategy that is mostly seen in the form of a blog. Almost all websites have a blog because good quality content attracts readers and potential customers
It is a very strategic way of guiding customers at the top of the conversion funnel, down to purchase. You first spread awareness, then you engage them with relevant and high quality content, and then you convert to sales. There are multiple forms and platforms to endeavour in content marketing, one highly creative one is podcasting.
11:FS drives their digital marketing strategy and brand awareness from their own podcasts. As a company interested in the Financial services industry, the content they produce is all about Fintech, blockchain, insurtech, banking and industry news.
It works as their podcasts target not only everyday people looking to learn about Fintech and the Financial services industry but also their target clients and people they would love to work with. Podcasts are a great way to spread awareness both about your niche as well as your brand as the audience reach is extensive.
How To Do Digital Marketing - Your Essential Toolkit
Marketing is easy once you understand how to go about it. You need to do some market research to clearly define your business objectives based on:
- Your strengths and weaknesses (SWOT analysis)
- Your external environment and how it affects your business (PESTLE analysis)
- Your target audience
- Your competitor analysis.
Your market research will help you clearly define your business objectives, what you should aim for and how ambitious you should be. This is why your business goals should be SMART.
Then, you come up with a marketing strategy that fits your business goals, one that is agile and delivers tangible results.
Ask yourself, what would be the ideal method of increasing my revenue? Will PPC or SEO help me better with traffic acquisition? Depending on your goals, you adjust your strategy.
You might need to:
- Improve your content marketing
- Consider Google Ads
- Automate monthly email newsletter
- Consider SEO.
Possible marketing methods that could work for you and your business are endless as what works for one company doesn’t work for others; you need to test and refine, and find what works best for you. Here I analyse the most well-known techniques to get you started.
First step in analysis
A SWOT analysis can reveal a lot of interesting things about your company. It is an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats to your business.
This analysis can show you what you’re good at, your strengths as a company and what you should capitalise on that will get you closer to your goals. Also, what you’re not good at and what is threatening your company. When conducting your SWOT research, ask yourself:
What are you good at? What do customers love about your service or product?
What is your weakness? What should you improve on?
Is there any opportunity that you could take on that will boost your brand awareness?
Any threats to your image or brand that could harm you? Is there a sector in your business that you need to pay attention to, to avoid internal damages?
This is an important step before building your strategy, as you want to know as much as possible about your strengths and weaknesses as an entity and brand.
Second step in analysis
A PESTLE analysis can reveal a lot about the external environment that your business is operating in. A marketer can really understand which factors coming from the external market impact the business positively and negatively.
The word PESTLE simply stands for the six main areas market research should be based on.
Every time you question each factor, look at it from this point of view:
Are there any political factors intervening with my business? Any policies or regulations that would force me to do business differently?
Are there any social factors, such as career choice or age distribution across demographics?
You have to look at the impact all external factors have to your business and how they affect your progress, looking from the point of view of these angles.
Third step in analysis
It’s time to define your ideal customer and audience. It’s important to know who you are speaking to through your communication channels and who you are selling to in order to stay relevant.
A useful framework to identify your target segment is STP which stands for Segmentation, Targeting and Positioning.
You first segment your market audience based on criteria such as demographics, behaviour and place. This is the start of creating customer personas that will help you identify who you attract in your business, evaluate whether it really is your ideal customer and help you with your marketing strategy in attracting that specific segment that converts.
After segmentation specific targeting follows. During this step, you have to think about how you will target them.
What is your segment’s pain?
What sort of value can you offer to the market?
Is it what your audience wants and needs from you?
It is very important that your offerings are not generic but relevant, intentional and useful to your audience, for successful targeting and more purchases.
Positioning is the last puzzle piece to STP. Based on your audience interactions with your brand and their needs, you differentiate your product and services and make a different and better offer in the market. Refining your positioning helps you
- avoid competing with the big dogs in the market and wasting time and money on your efforts
- But instead, create a unique offering that is competitive and what your audience will find valuable.
STP is a crucial part of doing digital marketing right and creating a strong marketing strategy that will deliver results.
Fourth step in analysis
A descriptive competitor analysis will help you not only define your competitors, but also what they’re doing right in their marketing initiatives, what techniques work for them and how you measure up to them.
Your competitor analysis report should include:
- Your identified competitors
- The products and services
- Their marketing techniques and how they make conversions
- Observe their content strategy whether it’s a blog or social media engagement
- Note how they spread brand awareness and increase their brand visibility
- And lastly perform a SWOT analysis to identify their strengths and weaknesses.
These tips will help you get a real picture of your competitors and how they perform well in the market. Using this information, you are able to differentiate your brand and product, be unique and compete in the market.
Next steps after analysis
Digital marketing is straightforward once you have done your market research and you have the insights that will help you create your own marketing strategy and generally market yourself more effectively.
There are several methods that you could use in your marketing initiatives, all based on your target market, your competitive environment and your strengths as well as weaknesses. Do you see now why you need market research in your life?
As a digital marketing agency helping ambitious businesses and SMEs grow the smart way and scale up, we swear by the following four marketing techniques. These techniques, if done right and if tailored to your business goals and market research, can double your website traffic and maximise your ROI.
Here are four marketing methods we stand by and use with our clients in their digital marketing:
Improve your content marketing
Content is a very broad term and it can include blogs, podcasts, video creation, webinars, ebooks, infographics and many more. Anyone can create entertaining and useful content such as these.
Content is King and it can generate a lot of traffic and quality leads to your website and business. For instance, by improving the content for our client and using the educational power of blogs, with one targeted blog we managed to increase traffic by 62% and conversion rate by 46%.
It also adds a lot of credibility to your business. For example, if your business is an e-Commerce skincare brand, you could create short videos on how to use your products or blogs on the benefits of skincare and their ingredients. This type of content instantly translates to the customer the idea that your business is professional, knows a lot about skincare and it’s trustworthy.
It is a great way to add value to your business and stay relevant.
Consider Google Ads
Google Ads or Pay-Per-Click (PPC) is a great way to attract targeted traffic to your website. The catch? You have to have a budget for this as there is a Cost Per Click for each search term you’re bidding for.
PPC looks something like this:
Do you see the ‘Ad’ sign next to the top listings? That’s a PPC campaign. When you type ‘black shoes’ on Google, these listings come up; first the ads then the organic searches from Next and Office.
PPC sounds complicated but it’s not. It allows you to stay at the top of a search, have more visibility on SERPs and attract targeted and interested traffic to your business. For instance, people looking for black shoes will come to your website specifically for black shoes if you were running a PPC campaign.
Automate monthly email newsletters
As it was explained previously, there’s a lot of potential in sending emails to nurture your audience and stay front of mind. Emails work better than any other digital channel for marketing purposes.
You need to clearly define what you want to achieve out of your email campaigns. Is it more traffic to your website or a specific blog? Is it more sales? More revenue? By defining exactly what you want to achieve you are able to strategise and see how you’ll get there. You can start by creating a campaign plan.
The content of your emails should also represent the wants and needs of your target audience. For high Click Through Rates and Open Rates you need to create emails that your audience will find valuable. This is why it’s important to get to know your customer.
Next, email building, tracking and automation enters the picture, with platforms such as Mailchimp. Automation generally helps you with scheduling emails on time and thus constantly nurturing your receivers. Tracking will help you gather all the data you need on who opened your emails and interacted, giving you a good insight into what works best for you.
SEO, in order to be successful, needs to be done right. It is a process that needs patience and consistency. It has many benefits from generating quality leads, ranking on page one on SERPs to growing your business organically.
SEO is not just keyword research and website optimisation but there’s more than that. It includes the technical side by fixing website issues, such as page speed, focusing on SEO content generation and link building. SEO experts know that if you neglect one element of SEO then the whole strategy doesn’t work. You need all parts of the engine to be running smoothly for the car to go forward.
SEO, if done right, works the best for all businesses. Which is why as a marketing agency we specialise in it and believe in its abilities. We know what works and what doesn’t. We wouldn’t be an accomplished SEO agency if our expertise didn’t bring results for ourselves too.
We generate 63% of our traffic and leads organically, by using SEO practices in our digital marketing for our agency.
Digital marketing is not rocket science
Digital marketing shouldn’t be scary! Anyone can do marketing and see effective results.
Set up your goals, do your market research to figure out where you stand as a business and figure out the best approach on how to get there. There’s a variety of digital marketing methods that you can utilise such emails, SEO to social media marketing - you have to figure out what works best for your business and target customer.
Expert in SEO and with over 15+ years of experience in the Fintech industry, I share my tips and insights on how to market your Fintech successfully and how to do SEO right.