Better digital marketing in 5 steps.

Digital marketing is easy and cost effective for small businesses, right? After all, most prominent digital channels are free to use, and all you have to do is post. Right?

Eh, not exactly.

While there’s some truth to that statement (isn’t there always?), the reality is much more complicated. The truth is that digital marketing can be easy, if you know how to focus your efforts. And it can be cost effective, if you know how to maximize your dollars.

But how do you know the things that you need to know? If you run a small business, you’re already wearing a lot of hats. Learning how to make a splash in a crowded digital space might not be something you can take on yourself. In that case, we know some people who can help. In the meantime, let us offer a few tried-and-true tips to start focusing your digital marketing efforts for maximum impact.

1. Perform a digital audit

This can be a big, intimidating job, but trust us; it’s worth it[JAG3] . First, create a list of your digital channels (website, social media channels, even email campaigns if you’re into that sort of thing). Then, review the status of each channel. Do you use it frequently enough to justify any costs (in dollars or manpower)? Is there audience engagement? Again, this can be a big job, especially if you’re not sure of your goals for each channel.

We recommend that you focus on the channels that are most important to your business. It takes time and resources to update your channels, so don’t try to be everywhere. Once you have identified the accounts that you will focus on, it’s time to make updates.

When posting or creating content of any type, adhere to your brand standards (Don’t have those? We can help there, too!) and be sure that your website and social channels are consistent in imagery and messaging. Update your profile image with your brand logo, and use a high-quality cover photo, video, or design that represents your business. Be sure to size the logo and cover photo to the suggested specs and resolution.

2. Assess the health of your online presence

Are you engaging with your audience? This is especially important on social medial. A neglected social feed can be more damaging than not having one at all. So make sure that you engage regularly.
Most studies suggest that a business should post once per day (and no more than twice per day). You want your audience to be aware of you, but you don’t want them to be annoyed by you. There’s a fine line between consistency and spamming, although quality content moves that line in your favor every time.

But engagement is a two-way street. If you’re consistently engaging your audience and they’re not engaging back (according to your goals), something should change. And that something is likely your content.

3. Improve your content

You know the old saying. A photo is worth a thousand words. Well, it’s always been a nice abstract idea but it’s literally true when it comes to digital marketing. Content viewership increases more than 85% with video, images and graphical elements. Learn how to incorporate these media elements within your digital channels.

Content doesn’t have to be costly or overproduced. It just needs to be relevant to your audience. Again, that’s easier said than done, especially if you’re already stretched thin just keeping the business running. But good, relevant content is the engine that turns all the other wheels. If you need help, even just to get the engine started, we can help.

See samples

4. Budget for growth

Here’s where the “cost-effective” part of digital marketing comes into play. ”Free” is almost always cost-effective, if you incorporate our first three tips into your attack. But free also only gets you so far, and if that phase of your plan is effective, you’ll need to pump some dollars into the campaign to meet bigger and better goals. The good news is that it doesn’t even necessarily take a lot of dollars to move to the next step, and if everything else is line, you can almost double your money. So consider a paid media campaign. Small businesses earn an average of $3 in revenue for every $1.60 they spend on Google AdWords. For a small business, every dollar counts. This is a good way to make them really count, and then count the dollars.

5. Try new platforms

The beauty and the beast of social media and digital marketing is that the landscape is always changing. This is great for you, because it means there are always new channels for telling your story, and this makes it easy to cut and run if a channel isn’t working out. But it can be daunting, because there is always a new channel to consider, and it’s tough to gauge which things will be the next BIG thing. Remember Google+? No? Us neither!

If your content is on point, it never hurts to try a new channel, if you have the time and resources to learn its ins and outs. You can always move on when the next thing happens.

See Results

6. Ask for help

If it hasn’t become clear by now, we believe that digital marketing is a must for any business, big or small. But not everyone has the resources to adequately harness the power of the mediums. If you find yourself needing help creating a plan, executing that plan, or (most importantly) creating content, don’t be afraid to ask for help. An experienced digital marketing crew that specializes in helping companies optimize online media can be just as cost effective as the online media itself. Let us focus on digital, so you can focus on your business.

See how it’s done.

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