Are you tired of hearing about miraculous digital marketing strategies that cost more than your business’ worth to implement?
Yep. We are too. Effective digital marketing does not have to be expensive, nor does it necessarily require a whole team to implement. By adopting an uncomplicated, direct approach to your digital marketing, you will soon find that even the most low-cost of tactics can be mighty effective in the right hands.
Understand where to focus your efforts, and you’ll soon find that your efforts yield results. Our six-point guide to SME digital marketing should set you off on the right foot if you’re looking for guidance in this daunting and often complicated world.
1. Focus your energy
It’s not quite as zen as the heading suggests, we’re afraid. If only it were enough to meditate for half an hour, willing your website to Google’s summit.
We are, instead, talking about finding your niche. It’s probably something you’ve heard a thousand times over the years, but it’s so important in the world of digital marketing. Where do your customers come from? How do they find you? How do you want your customers to find you? What makes your company different? Once you know the answers to these questions, it becomes a lot easier to understand what that focus should be. You can target a particular audience, try to rank for certain keyphrases, and be confident that you’re posting relevant content.
Don’t try to cast the net too wide as an SME. If you don’t have the resources to dedicate an entire team to the different aspects of digital marketing, that doesn’t mean you’re doomed to fail. It just means you need to prioritise, and you’ll only know what to prioritise by collecting and interpreting relevant data.
2. Understand SEO
SEO doesn’t have to be as scary as it sounds. ‘Search engine optimisation’ may sound like something best left to people with PHDs, but you can achieve plenty for your own business by learning the basics.
For one, knowing how to carry out proper keyword research will give you a massive head start on 90% of your competitors. If you can work out which search results are the most relevant for your business, you’re already ahead. From there, it’s a case of doing everything you can to get your website up to that magical #1.
Prioritise your local presence early on by making the most of your Google Business listing, and gradually build up your authority as an industry expert. Relevant, high-quality content and a tailored site structure are also essential if you’re going to get anywhere.
To get you started, though, we’ll quote Google’s very own philosophy: “focus on the user and all else will follow”. It may sound a tad pretentious, but it actually makes a lot of sense. Google isn’t doing its job properly if the wrong sites are appearing for searches, so it’s asking us to help it out by making our websites helpful for the intended user. If you’re ever in doubt in the world of SEO, just ask yourself whether what you’re doing helps the intended customer. If it does, then you’re probably onto something.
3. Tidy social media presence
Time for some brutal honesty: you’re probably not going to get hundreds of thousands of followers on social media. You’re an SME, not a football club, so there’s a limit to what you can achieve in terms of following.
To be honest, though, that’s potentially a good thing. The last thing anyone wants is a high-profile social media fail of theirs to end up doing the rounds. Much better to keep it simple, and devise a targeted social media strategy to suit your business and customer base.
Consider what’s great about your product or service. We’re guessing there’s something, as you’re still in business if you’re reading this article. If what you have to offer is visually appealing, then it’s worth investing some time in developing an Instagram or Pinterest account. If it’s highly informational, then produce content and connect with people on LinkedIn. Crucially, your social media channels need to reflect the company they’re representing, and an Instagram account full of gifs probably doesn’t reflect a group of solicitors.
Finally, it’s important to take some time to tidy up your social media accounts. What do we mean by that? Simply ensure your profiles are on brand and free of any filler posts. You don’t want any ‘waffly’ content (unless your business is related to waffles, in which case that’s exactly what you want). Every post you create should have a purpose; if it doesn’t, it’s not right.
4. Email marketing
Yep, this one still makes the list. It’s not for everyone, and it may not quite be the talk of the town that Tik Tok is, but we’re willing to bet that it will bring you more success than a zany, 60-second video.
The key with email marketing is understanding the buying process. You need to know where your audience is at in their customer journey before you fire off a load of emails that end up in the spam folder. If you’ve just had a meeting with a potential customer, send them an email. If they don’t respond after a week, follow it up and, if they still haven’t responded some time later, remind them that your incredibly generous discount runs out before long.
Since the data protection act of 2018, it’s been absolutely essential to only store data with the relevant party’s express permission.
Often wrongly overlooked as a ‘tactic’ in its own right, an internal review push can have long-lasting benefits for your digital marketing strategy. Google Business, Yelp, Yell, and Trustpilot are all great options (we always harp on about Google Business because we’re in the SEO world, but all platforms have their place). Just be sure to research the relevant platforms for your industry, as not all will be appropriate.
Contact both current and previous customers, and ask them if they’d be happy to spare a minute or two to leave you some feedback. Generally, you’ll find that anyone you’ve done a good job for will be more than happy to help. We would only advise that you draw up a short template to send out with clear instructions for whichever platform you’re pushing. People are far more likely to play ball if everything they need is right there in front of them. Far fewer will go out of their way to do the dirty work for you!
The benefits of a good stack of online reviews in a few different locations are far reaching and, in many ways, irreplaceable.
There is just one cautionary note to this tactic: don’t be drawn in by the allure of fake reviews. You’ll get caught out, and undoing the damage is far more time consuming than any digital marketing strategy you could think up.
We all know what networking is, and what it can do for business. Build real-world relationships with real people, and you’ll dramatically increase your chances of converting a potential customer into a paying one.
Doesn’t sound too digital yet, does it? But consider this: one of those real-world connections may already have the online presence you’re so desperate to attain. Do a good job for that connection, and some of that could rub off on you in the form of an endorsement. That could come in the form of a social media post, a backlink (link from their website to yours), or a collaborative offer. All three could prove extremely useful if your new best friends have an established, reputable online presence.
Clearly this tactic has its limitations, and isn’t enough to transform your fortunes on its own. You’d still need to have a website you don’t mind showing to people, and that means putting the work in as outlined in the previous points. It’s certainly worth considering, though, as an endorsement online can go a long way in getting you that initial spike in traffic.
Active Internet Marketing (UK)
If you would like to learn more about any of the suggestions above, or simply want someone to run your suggestions by, feel free to give Active Internet Marketing (UK) a call on 01604 765 796.
We’re based in Northampton, just off the M1, and have helped deliver effective digital marketing solutions for SMEs across the country.