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A Guide to Digital Marketing for Small Businesses


As a small business ourselves, we love helping other small businesses reach their full digital marketing potential. While you may have a small operation, there’s no need to keep your digital presence small (in fact, it’s the best way to beat out some of the big guys).

The key to digital marketing success as a small business is to have a full stack of strategies on your side for maximum growth. Here’s what you need to know to get your small business’s online presence to shine.

It All Starts With Messaging

Effective marketing starts with a clear message. Before you can spread the word about your business, you have to know what to say. 

Through a messaging strategy, you’ll find the right words and tone making your digital marketing more focused and impactful. This includes how you talk about your business to different audiences, how you present yourself as the clear answer to their needs, and how you help make their lives easier.

We highly recommend working with a professional marketing team to help define this messaging on your behalf. Not only will they help you get this message right before starting your marketing efforts, but they might be able to bring a perspective that you never considered.

Make Your Website Your Central Hub

No matter how active you are on social media or how well known you are in your area, those strategies alone can’t outweigh the value of a business website. Think of your website as the digital storefront of your business; it’s the one place online where you are completely in control of your message, brand image, best salesman, and everything in between. 

Your website doesn’t have to be huge (though it should always morph and grow alongside your business), but it does need to be user-friendly and clearly state why you’re the obvious choice for someone to choose your business. 

As you continue to build out your other marketing efforts, your website will be the central hub to where you will direct people back to.

Create More Content Through a Blog

An easy way to make your website more robust while also creating valuable content for your audience is through your blog. 

Finding topics to write about is always one of the hardest parts, but a great way to generate topic ideas is through keyword research. By identifying quality keywords and phrases that your audience is putting into search engines like Google, you can create content around those queries (which will help improve your website’s search engine optimization or SEO for short). 

Let’s use a bakery as an example. They had discovered that a lot of users are searching if “bran muffins are healthy.” The bakery then creates a blog post that talks about all of the reasons why bran muffins are healthy or unhealthy (and placing their keywords in all the necessary places), and they then distribute this post through their other marketing channels (more on this later). 

By doing this, not only are they creating SEO-optimized content that points back to their website, but they’re also positioning themselves as the “go-to” bakery for more knowledge about baked goods (okay, now we’re hungry).

Master Your Local SEO 

Gaining exposure online is one thing, but if local traffic is important to your small business, then you need to perfect your local SEO.

Local SEO is pretty simple; you just need to make sure your business’s name, address, and phone number (“NAP”) are identical on all online local directory listings. And, when we say identical, we mean IDENTICAL. 

If your address is listed as “8675 Lala Lane” on your website and “8675 Lala Ln” on another, that’s a problem. In addition, if you use tracking phone numbers to see how customers contact you, those varying phone numbers across directories will negatively affect you as well.

It’s a timely process to correct any of those issues, but we’d argue that local SEO will pay off in the long run. Google is a great place to draw people to your small business—just be sure that they’re being led to the right place.

Stay Social with Social Media

Businesses of all sizes should be active on social media. It’s a place where you can distribute content from your website and a great way to reach your target audience where they spend their time.

Not all social media platforms are appropriate for all businesses, so you will want to take the time to understand what makes the most sense for your strategy

  • Does your audience look for your services on LinkedIn more than on Facebook? 
  • What kind of content are they drawn to? 
  • Are there any competitors doing social media successfully? 

These are all good questions to ask when it comes to leveraging social media platforms effectively for your small business

Don’t Forget About Email Marketing

Even if you’re bombarded with hundreds of emails a day, don’t sleep on email marketing. In fact, almost 70% of businesses use email marketing, making it the third most popular digital marketing method (behind social media and having a website). 

When you develop your email marketing messages, keep these tips in mind:

  • Keep emails short 
  • Make your calls to action clear
  • Write a compelling subject line
  • Design your emails in a single-column format
  • Embrace white space so it’s easy to click on buttons
  • Don’t sweat unsubscribes—they can actually be good 

Small businesses like yours are more than capable of being competitive online, and the best thing about digital marketing is you can easily measure your efforts and easily pivot your efforts.

If all of this sounds overwhelming, confusing, or you’re just not sure how to start, contact us for a free consultation. We’ll be happy to show you how easy it is to shine brightly on the web! 

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Brooke Desmond

Communications Manager
With a passion for all things digital marketing, Brooke aims to give a unique perspective on the latest trends and ideas in this ever-changing space.

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