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12 Small Business Digital Marketing Tips

March 30, 2022

Are you a small business looking to expand your reach and grow your audience? Trying to get your head around digital marketing for your small business but don’t know where to start? You’ve come to the right place.

Knowing how to make the most out of digital marketing is one of the biggest challenges that small businesses face. In most cases, they do not have the expertise and budget required to develop a strong and expensive digital marketing strategy.

However, getting your name out there is the key to success and digital marketing is how you achieve it.

With that in mind, we have put together this guide with 12 small business digital marketing tips that will help you take advantage of your digital space and take your company to the next level.

1. Know your audience

Many of the steps that you should take when it comes to kickstarting your small businesses’ digital marketing strategy are very similar to those steps when you first started your business.

For example, you need to decide who is your audience. Many small businesses make the mistake of trying to make ‘everyone’ and ‘anyone’ their target audience. But this is an ineffective way to look at your digital marketing, as your company likely does not have the budget or the resources to target mass markets.

Remember that ‘the riches are in the niches’ so as a small business you can make the biggest impact and have the most leverage if you start small and stick to a niche. Your niche will depend entirely on your individual business and just because your competitor has a particular niche, that doesn’t mean that yours will be the same. But, we will talk more about your competitors later!

Once you have identified your niche you need to work out how to reach your target audience and understand their problems, priorities, and pains. As soon as you know what drives their purchasing decisions you can craft your communications and marketing resources to appeal to them directly.

A great way that you can get to know your audience is to create a buyer persona. This is a research-based fictional character that represents the general user or buyer type of your business. This is a great marketing tool that will make it easier for you to think like a customer and target your digital resources directly at them.

2. Set your goals and objectives

One of the reasons why it can be so difficult to know where to start when it comes to digital marketing for small businesses is because there are so many different directions you can go in. While this can make it tempting to try and do everything all at once, taking on too much may result in weak strategies across the board.

Instead, you should identify where you can use digital marketing strategies to ensure the biggest impact. Consider the effectiveness of your current marketing and where are the significant blind spots in your existing approach? Ask yourself:

  • Do you have an online presence?
  • Are you relying too much on referrals and traditional forms of marketing to stimulate your growth?

We recommend that when you start your small business internet marketing you set a performance goal. Focusing your resources and any budget you may have on a specific key area will help you achieve that goal. In time, as you see progress towards your specific goal, you can expand your efforts and branch out.

3. Have a good website

The expectations of online users have changed considerably in recent years, and users now expect a fast-loading, mobile-friendly and easy to navigate website at the click of a button. And if you can’t provide that? They will simply go elsewhere.

Therefore, having a website that looks professional, ticks all the right boxes and has good web design as a good user experience is one of the main assets every small business needs to offer.

Your website is where you can showcase your business and tell users who you are, what you offer and also acts as a channel of communication for potential customers. While social media accounts may go in and out of style, your website is here to stay and is worth the investment.

Of course, one of the main reasons why having a good website is so important is because it can generate traffic. Not only this but it is also the platform to send traffic driven by marketing adverts.

But, don’t make the mistake of thinking that your website is a brochure. Instead, you want it to be an engaging and informative space that will retain visitors and convert visitors into customers.

Think about what is on your website that would make a visitor want to stay and look around?

4. Differentiate from competitors

So we mentioned competitors briefly before and while you may be desperately trying to stand out from others in your industry, you always need to keep one eye on what your competitors are up to. Competitor research is an essential tool in digital marketing for small businesses.

Start off by researching your competitors and having a look at what they are doing and how they are showing themselves within their online presence. This could mean how they talk about themselves on their website or how they position themselves within their ads.

Once you know what your competitors are offering you can differentiate yourself from them. Some areas of differentiation include:

  • Services
  • Price
  • Product
  • Distribution

We would recommend that aim to set yourself apart with your branding so that your company don’t look too similar to any of your competitors and your brand can be easily recognised.

5. Utilise reviews and word of mouth

Your business’ reputation has never been so important and with consumers able to log online and review your business within seconds, every good word counts. The reputation that you have online as a small business can be a deciding factor when a prospective customer is wondering whether to use you or not.
In fact, research carried out in 2022 stated that 30% of people said that reviews were a key consideration when judging local businesses.

Similarly, word of mouth can have a huge impact on your business which can be a big part of your small business’s internet marketing. Customer delight can help generate repeat customers and encourage them to leave positive reviews and tell their friends about you. Any good reviews you get, make sure to utilise them in your digital marketing efforts!

6. Improve local SEO

As a small business, SEO may just be the scariest acronym out there (as well as HMRC!). But if you are a local business then it is one of the most important. Local search is a really powerful tool and statistics show that around 46% of all Google searches are regarding local information.

With that in mind, if your business isn’t optimised for local SEO then you could be missing out on potential customers to your competitors. Local SEO is so important as it is what keeps your small business relevant and noticed.

There are a number of digital marketing strategies and techniques that you can use to improve your local SEO. For example, link building is particularly effective and to give you a few ideas here are some places where you can build local links:

  • Newspaper and local media websites
  • Local bloggers and influencer partnerships
  • Awards/festival sites
  • Sponsorship sites
  • Generic and industry directories
organic search results for wedding cakes near me on Google

7. Invest in local search & social ads

While SEO is a dominating part of online marketing for small businesses, if you are in need of a little extra boost and have some budget to spend, then you could consider investing in advertising on search engines, known as PPC.

PPC stands for pay-per-click advertising and refers to a model of marketing whereby advertisers pay a fee every time one of their ads is clicked. It is kind of like buying site visits instead of attempting to organically generate them (like you do with SEO). If you sell specific products, then sponsored product listings are also a great way to get in front of high-intent customers.

Search engine advertising is one of the most popular and effective forms of PPC but you can also get paid social ads which use social media platforms to generate clicks and views.

But before you consider spending money on PPC you should ensure that your website is engaging with an optimised landing page to help boost conversions and make your investment more likely to pay off.

screenshot of wedding cakes near me search results of paid ads

8. Create interesting content

The internet is a noisy environment. So when it comes to creating content you need to ensure that it is as engaging and interesting as possible. Otherwise, it simply won’t get the traction you want.

Content creation is a very competitive industry, especially if you looking at small business internet marketing, so you need to consider and develop a content strategy that will drive optimum results.

Remember that your content is unlikely to rank on the first results page of Google, especially if you are a small business going after broad terms that are related to your company. Not only would this require a considerable budget but ranking higher for a broad term doesn’t always equate to more customers or a boost in sales.

This is why it is so important that you have good blog content that will attract the attention of a user, and intrigue them enough for them to want to further explore your website. If you can offer visitors something useful, engaging and interesting, then you will automatically boost your chances of converting them into a customer.

However, it would be a mistake to assume that creating content refers to just blogs. Instead, other forms of content, such as hero content across a variety of platforms are growing in importance. For example, social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and TikTok embrace visual forms of content and are helping small businesses gain a lot of attention.

In fact, research has indicated that 81% of people have been so convinced by a brand’s video content that they have gone on to buy a product or service.

9. Develop a social media presence

Following on from the importance of creating interesting content across different platforms, it is crucial that you have a developed social media presence if you want to see maximum results.

As a small business in a digital society, it is simply no longer enough to just have a company website, you need social media too. Traditionally, social media might have seemed like just a bit of fun where you can connect with friends and have some fun.

But now, social media marketing strategies are amongst the strongest tools in digital marketing for small businesses. Not only can it help you get noticed, allow you to engage with potential customers and boost how you rank on search engines, it can also give you direct access to your target audience and potential customers.

Yet, it is worth noting that social media marketing strategies are changing all the time with different trends and regular updates. I mean, who isn’t perplexed by Instagram’s constantly changing algorithm?!

Therefore, we recommend that instead of trying to grow a presence across various platforms, decide upon a primary social media channel and stick to it. The channel that you should focus on depends on which is most relevant to your business and where your customers are most likely to be.

For example, B2B businesses tend to focus on channels such as LinkedIn or Twitter, while B2C businesses focus on Instagram or Facebook. By having a primary social media channel you can manage it more effectively than if you tried to find the resources to manage multiple platforms at the same time.

10. Value existing customers

As a small business, you may be focused on trying to grow your reach, find new ways to develop your customer base and entice new customers. However, it is crucial that you don’t forget about the existing customers you already have.

The customers you already have are responsible for where your business is now, so make sure that you appreciate them. While you may decide to do great new customer offers with discount codes and promotions, this could alienate the customers you have already secured.

Research has shown that it costs on average five times more to acquire a new customer than it does to secure an existing one. This explains that you shouldn’t cease your marketing efforts once an individual has converted into a customer.

Instead, you should look for new opportunities with your existing customers, such as upselling, cross-selling and repeat purchasing. Make the most of the relationship that you have already built with your existing customers and see the value that they already like, trust, and know your brand.

11. Develop email marketing

Email marketing for your small business is a fundamental digital marketing strategy that is essential to your company’s success. While you may feel overwhelmed when it comes to first developing your email marketing, it isn’t as complex as you might think.

While it is great news if your digital marketing techniques are converting website visitors into leads, it doesn’t necessarily mean that those leads are ready to hit the ‘buy now’ button. But you don’t want to lose contact with them either.

Therefore, by having an email marketing strategy in place you can keep in touch, stay in potential customers’ minds, and nudge them closer to purchasing. It is an effective tool that helps you communicate with both existing and new customers and keep them in the loop with the services/products and offers you have available.

12. Partner with local influencers

Your local area may be full of potential customers who are interested and have a need for the services/products that you have to offer. However, if you want your small business to grow, then you need to know how to reach them. This is where influencer marketing comes in.

It isn’t only the big businesses that can implement influencer marketing, and by reaching out to some influencers in your local area, you could grow your reach and raise awareness for your brand.

This is a growing area of digital marketing that doesn’t appear to be stopping anytime soon. So whether you have products on your online store that a local mummy blogger would love or a restaurant that a nearby food blogger could review, consider influencer marketing for your small business.

Final thoughts

Many small businesses make the mistake of assuming that a successful digital marketing strategy is only accessible to big businesses with big budgets. But in reality, there are many small-scale and affordable online marketing techniques that you can use that will have a considerable impact.

If you are struggling to implement a successful digital marketing strategy for your small business and would like some help, book a free consultation with our team of experts. They can get your digital marketing campaign off the ground today!

About The Author

Toby Devonshire holding a laptop

Toby Devonshire

SEO & Web Design Specialist. Founder of Blank Slate Digital

With years of experience working with some of the biggest names in the world, my career in digital marketing is driven by a deep-seated passion for growing businesses.

As the founder of Blank Slate Digital with a specialised focus on joining the gap between SEO and web design, my journey in digital marketing has nearly all been self-taught, now I want to share this knowledge with you.