Digital marketing can be a scary word for a lot of local businesses. We’re so used to our classic radio, print and TV advertising that when it comes to online marketing – it feels a little unnecessary. “If we really want to brand ourselves and grow as a company, shouldn’t we just stick with what works?”
Fear not! It may seem a little strange, but it’s not as scary as you think. Not only is going digital easier than you imagine, only once you go digital can you truly experience the magic of online marketing. That first cup of coffee in the morning? Amazing. The first time your kids have breakfast before their soccer game? Priceless. But that first time you see your business grow online – now that’s mind-blowing.
What is Digital Marketing?
Digital Marketing is one of the most important aspects of modern-day marketing, and it’s a process that can be both frustrating and rewarding. Digital Marketing is a wide spectrum of different channels to promote a brand, product or service via the internet.
Marketing can be broken down into two different categories:
Online Marketing – Using digital channels like Google search, social media, email, search engine optimization and their websites to connect with their current and prospective customers
Offline Marketing – TV commercials, radio ads and print are all examples of offline marketing channels.
Why does digital marketing matter for local businesses?
The world has become more interconnected than ever before. Online platforms have made it easier for people to connect with each other and form a virtual community. People don’t only use the internet for their personal needs, but also for their business matters.
This is where digital marketing comes in. Businesses can use digital marketing to reach out to the right audience, sell their products and services, and gain profit.
Benefits of digital marketing for local businesses
If you run a local business, then you know how important it is to stay relevant. Especially in this era where most businesses are now turning towards digital platforms. You need to be able to compete with other brands that are taking advantage of digital marketing strategies.
When you start using digital marketing, it will not only help your brand gain exposure, but also allow you to grow your business in many ways.
How to Evaluate Your Current Digital Marketing Efforts?
When I’m evaluating a local business, I use multiple tools and audits to get a clear picture of where they are right now. The first step is always an SEO audit to evaluate their website, content and links.
Competitor Analysis – To understand how you compare against your competitors in terms of rankings and traffic. This is where you learn what keywords they’re ranking for and if there are any big gaps that you can take advantage of.
As amazing as it might seem, digital marketing is not some kind of magic bullet that starts shooting customers in your direction the moment you turn it on. Despite what many “experts” will tell you, there is no immediate gratification you can expect from a well-planned and executed digital marketing strategy.
How Can You Optimize Your Budget and Improve ROI?
If you’re not getting the return on investment you’re looking for from your digital marketing efforts, it’s time to rethink your strategy. A strong digital marketing plan can help you grow your business and reach its goals.
Keeping up to date on your KPIs and analytics is vital for gaining insight into your business’s performance and customer base. If you don’t know how successful your email marketing campaign was last month, how much people spent on your website, or what your most popular product is, you won’t be able to optimize your strategy.
Most business owners struggle with their budget, especially if they aren’t seeing their expected ROI. “Should I continue to invest money in my digital marketing campaigns or should I focus on something else?” is a common concern.
Once you define what success means, then you can determine the best way to achieve it. For example, if your goal is to increase sales leads, start by looking at how well your current website conversion rate is performing and the cost per lead of each marketing campaign. If your goal is to increase sales revenue, look at how often people visit your website and what percentage of visitors actually purchase something from you. Once you understand how well you’re performing in each area, then you can move forward with determining where to make improvements.
What are the best digital marketing strategies for your business?
Today, the trick is to figure out a way to market your business in a way that will actually be effective and efficient. Because not only does it have to be done, but it has to be done the right way.
So, what are some of the best digital marketing strategies for your business?
I’m glad you asked!
Small businesses often ask us what digital marketing strategies are the most important for their business. The answer is not a one-size fits all, but here are some ideas:
- Use search engine optimization to improve your search ranking in Google, Bing, and Yahoo!
- Leverage your social media channels.
- Build up your email list.
- Start blogging.
- Use Google Analytics to track the performance of your website.
- Run Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads on Facebook, Twitter, Google AdWords, and Bing Ads.
- Run an email marketing campaign.
Herein lies the essence of the guide: digital marketing for local businesses is about engaging your audience. The above set of tools, tips and examples will guide you on an effective path towards growing your business. Don’t forget to have a good time while doing it!
All this to say that while digital marketing is a great sphere of business and is a good way to get the word out about your business, it’s far from the silver bullet that can magically solve every ounce of advertising woes you have. Just use what you have learned above and continue to adapt as needed. It involves work, but if you treat it like a real business, then it will generate revenue for you. At the same time, never neglect your core business and make sure to understand how each online strategy can benefit your brick-and-mortar presence.