Why Every Small Business Must Have a Digital Marketing Strategy

Is it Time to Tweak Your Digital Marketing Strategy?

Consumer and B2B buying behavior and buying process has changed dramatically — has your digital marketing strategy evolved as well?

Is it time to tweak your digital strategy?

Research indicates 93 percent of B2B purchases start with an internet search, and that buyers are anywhere from 60-70 percent of the way through the buying process before they ever reach out to brands to discuss available options or are willing to engage with a sales person.

Small businesses must master use of the same resource buyers are using to get educated in order to get their attention earlier in the buying process.

Thanks to the internet, consumers increasingly have the ability to research solutions to solve their problems and meet their needs and desires without the aid of salespeople, catalogs or even physical store locations. With mega brands readying the launch of digital grocery stores and delivery, it’s conceivable that people who want to avoid shopping in brick and mortar stores completely may be able to achieve this desire.

Some independent small businesses – some whole industries – have been slow to develop a digital marketing strategy. In fact, many local, independent small businesses don’t even have websites yet. In light of changing consumer behavior and the prevalence of smart devices that lead an estimated 90 percent of mobile searchers to visit the business they found online, no small business should be without an internet marketing strategy.

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If you’re an independent, local small business owner, chances are you claim that “word of mouth” is your best marketing. Notwithstanding the fact that many who claim this are really just saying that word of mouth is their only marketing strategy – local search marketing is the new word of mouth.

If the success, growth and profitability of your small business depend on your ability to reach and attract members of your target markets in your local area, you need to have a digital marketing strategy that reflects this priority.

The cornerstone of your digital marketing strategy is still having a small business website. To get found online in searches by local customers, here are five marketing musts that should be part of your digital marketing strategy.

5 Ways to Tweak a Small Business Digital Marketing Strategy

1. A website with your own business-related URL that includes your business name or keyword for your business or city (think about the types of phrases people would type into an online search to find a business like yours).

2. Website content that includes keywords (words or phrases that people would type into a search engine when looking for a business like yours) and that is visually appealing, readable and easy to navigate. Think about taking people who arrive on your website on a tour based on the types of things they are most likely to be looking for.

3. Fresh content. No longer can you create a website and leave it alone for years; search engines give preference to sites with fresh, frequently updated quality content. You can add new pages by publishing new articles on your website’s blog several times a week, creating web page versions of your email newsletters, and adding landing pages with rich content and a call to action (or CTA) telling site visitors what they should do next (i.e., download something, visit your business, call you, etc.)

4. Infuse your content with the right keywords, especially if you rely on local business. If the success of your business depends on attracting customers within a local geographic area, make sure that you feature the name of your city, neighborhood, or geographical areas from where you draw local customers in the content on your website.

5. Last but certainly not least, a responsive design, mobile-friendly website.

Content-rich websites optimized in accordance with the best practices as noted by the major search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.) create digital “magnets” that work to attract web traffic. It tells the search engines what your business does and what types of internet searches should be directed to your site.

Creating a website that works like a magnet for online search is critical, but your small business internet marketing strategy also needs to include a way to “push” the content out to consumers, not just leave it up to your small business website to “pull” them in. This type of small business marketing strategy is what is commonly referred to as “content marketing.”

The types of internet tools that help to push your content out, getting it in front of more people and giving your site more “authority” with search engines include blogs, social networks, content curation sites and email marketing. We will explore some of these other small business internet marketing tools at greater length in future articles.

Website development can be costly and creating continual fresh digital content may also require outsourcing or hiring someone, which are just a couple of the reasons that many small business owners have not yet invested in the types of websites that function as magnets for internet search traffic. However, it is vital that every small business has a website that works this way if they want to succeed in attracting local customers.