It seems like every six months, there’s a new marketing platform, medium or strategy we need to familiarize ourselves with if we want to stay on top of digital marketing. While this fast-paced environment is fine for businesses that specialize in digital marketing, the average small business owner doesn’t have the time or resources to keep up with it all. This can lead them to business owners abandoning digital marketing efforts altogether because they feel like they’ll never be able to stay on top of all of it. But there doesn’t need to be this “either you’re all in or you’re all out” mindset when it comes to digital marketing. Small business owners can still engage in the tried and true methods of the practice without checking the latest digital marketing blogs every day and getting the latest certificate that’ll be obsolete in a few months.
Local Search Marketing
Engaging in local search marketing is probably the easiest way for small businesses to enter digital marketing. In the simplest terms, local search marketing is about making sure that information about your business is both accurate and readily available for people searching the internet.
The overwhelming majority of people searching online will use Google or Bing, so you’ll want to make sure your business information on those sites is correct. You can make a Google My Business Account and claim your Bing business listing for free to ensure your customers will have all the basic information they need to contact your business, like phone number, address and email.
But, Google and Bing aren’t the only places where information on your business is stored. Though they might not get a lot of traffic anymore, there are still many online business directories that people go to when they want to find information on a business. A good way to make sure all your information is accurate with these directories is to do what’s called an “online audit”, where you comb the web to make sure that all the information about your business is current. This is especially helpful if you’ve moved locations or have changed your phone number in the past few years. There’s nothing worse than missing a potential sale just because a customer doesn’t know how to get a hold of you.
Make sure you don’t just have a Facebook. Make sure you’re using it!
Aside from Google and Bing, more and more people are using Facebook to look up and find information about businesses. You’ve probably already made a Facebook account for your business, but just creating one isn’t enough. You should be posting regularly on it to show people searching for your business that you’re active. If someone finds your business page and sees that nothing’s been posted since 2011, it can be a major turn off.
If you’re already posting content heavily on your Facebook Business Page and want to get even more out of the platform, you can try out Facebook Ads. This is a great way for people with little to no digital advertising experience to dip their toes into the practice without breaking the bank. With Facebook Ads, you can narrow down the audience of who you want to see your content into highly-specific groups, plan out your goals, run reports and even set a daily budget, so you’ll never spend more than the x amount of dollars you designate to your budget per day.
Are you mobile-responsive yet?
You’ve probably been on your smartphone or tablet and visited a site that isn’t mobile-responsive. It looked exactly the same as the desktop version and you had to pinch and zoom around the screen to find what you needed. In short, it was probably a pretty bad experience.
In 2020, there are not many things that signal a business is outdated more than having a website that’s not mobile-responsive. Don’t believe it? A study by Stone Temple shows that 63% of US online traffic comes from mobile devices, so if your website looks like the one mentioned above, it’s time to hit refresh on your website’s look.
Since mobile-responsive design is becoming the norm, there are dozens of ways to make sure your site is in line with the standards of today. And the great thing is, you don’t have to know any code or technical mumbo jumbo to do it. If you’re planning on starting from scratch, Wix is a great option. Their drag and drop capabilities and easy to use widgets make it easy for anyone to make a great mobile-responsive website.
Get Personal with It
Email personalization is another simple and cost-effective way to connect with customers. The most common way to personalize your emails is by adding a customer’s first name into the email you’re sending them. This simple addition is shown to increase open rates by 26%. This doesn’t mean that you’ll have to send out 100 separate emails and manually add your customers’ names into each one.
There are dozens of email automation programs that will do all the heavy lifting for you, as long as you import your email list. Sendinblue offers one of these programs and has a free plan that lets you send up to 300 emails per day. Just make sure you send out a test of any personalized email to your co-workers so you can avoid some of these common email personalization flubs.
Bring in the Chatbots
Chatbots are computer applications that can recognize speech and communicate with people. While this technology may seem futuristic and creepy, chatbots have actually been around for a long time. (Since 1966 actually) They’ve caught mainstream attention over the past few years for their ability to help companies’ customer service efforts. It’s even estimated that by 2022, chatbots will cut business costs by $8 billion.
You’ve probably interacted with a chatbot if you’ve ever communicated with a company through Facebook Messenger or used the chat function in the lower right-hand corner of a company’s website. Chatbots are mainly used to answer the simple questions people may have about your business, like your hours of operation so you or any customer service reps you have can be freed up to handle the more involved customer questions you may get.
While there are some highly-advanced chatbots out there, there are also some more cost-efficient models that let small business owners in on the fun. Hubspot offers free chatbot software, so you’re able to test out if you think chatbots are right for your business’s website.
Interested in bringing one or all of these products into your marketing strategy? Get in touch with one of our 600+ locations nationwide to see how Proforma can help you achieve your marketing and overall business goals.