As a small business owner, you’re likely overwhelmed with numerous responsibilities every day. Whether it is sales, accounting or simply taking care of the day-to-day operations, keeping up with the continual flow of tasks can be draining. Not to mention the strategy behind your business… Many “not-so-time sensitive” things often get overlooked.
Due to this constant time crunch, one aspect of a business that often gets pushed to the side is digital marketing.
Since your time is already in high demand, it is important to focus your marketing efforts where they can make the biggest impact — the digital realm. While it may not be feasible to try to compete in every aspect of the digital landscape, your efforts should be concentrated on a few key areas where a small business can gain an advantage over its larger competitors. In our experience with digital marketing and web design, the following are key opportunities for small business owners:
- Mobile Strategy: If your digital marketing strategy isn’t optimized for mobile platforms, then you are probably missing the mark with a good chunk of your customers.
- Web Design: Your website should be designed so that it is fully functional on mobile devices, which means using a responsive design. As smartphones slowly but surely are becoming a primary access device for browsing the web, it is important that you are offering a seamless user experience between both mobile and desktop. Responsive web design is one of the best methods to ensure you’re doing this.
- Geo-targeting: Facebook offers the ability to serve laser targeted mobile ads to your customer demographic. The best part of this service is that ad delivery is based on their location. Since your potential customers are consistently utilizing mobile devices, this offers a unique way to reach your target audience in specific geographic areas who otherwise might not have found their way to your website.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Ranking well on search engines requires implementing excellent publishing and marketing information known as SEO. This effort has become more important, especially on the local level, in staying relevant online. Many users only look at the first page of the search engine’s results when seeking answers; or they look to the featured panel of Google Search results. Those that rank near the top of search engine results pages (SERPs) have nothing to worry about, but those listed on the pages after see a steep decrease in visits. With Google’s increased focus on quality, high-ranking search results, including websites that provide mobile users with location-specific results, small businesses should focus efforts on local SEO as well as standard SEO to gain an advantage.
- Video: Did you know that the average amount of video watched on YouTube worldwide is an estimated 25 billion hours each month? What!? That is an incredible amount of video and should give some insight as to why this advertising medium should be a priority for your business. Creating engaging video content for platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat can help you effectively reach customers while building your brand awareness.
- Platform Data & Insights: Are you being noticed? A common misconception is that you need to be everywhere, when the truth is that you simply need to be in the places your customers are. If your content performs poorly on certain platforms, then you should reevaluate whether or not to focus your efforts there.
- Timing Trends: In life, timing is everything… That concept holds true for your content as well. Even great content, when posted at inopportune times, is more likely to miss your target audience, which is why you should stay updated on both social and search trends to release content that people are looking for.
- A Content Calendar: A common business mistake when it comes to content is to create and post willy-nilly without any sort of plan. This laid-back style will inevitably produce poor results, while a carefully crafted content calendar produces consistency and efficiency. A calendar provides a visualization of your upcoming content strategy and helps create a flow of content to better build your brand.
A shared problem among small business owners is a lack of understanding of whether their marketing efforts are really effective and reaching their target audience. Make sure you are gaining valuable insights by measuring key metrics with programs like Google Analytics. Then, learn to adjust your efforts accordingly to be effective. You may not have the time or resources to explore every digital marketing strategy, but at a minimum, take the time to place your focus on these key areas to compete as a small business in the online space.