The Digital Age Is Here: 5 Tips for Small Businesses

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As a small business owner, you’re used to being pulled in different directions. Whether it’s sales, buying, dispatching or people management; you wear many different hats and the thought of adding another to the mix can be overwhelming.

Over the last 10 years, the growth of digital marketing has been astronomical, propelled further by the rise of social media, search, mobile and video advertising. The average company spends about 75% of its’ marketing budget on digital, compared to only 2% back in 2014.

If used properly, this marketing method can be very cost-friendly and invaluable to small businesses. We’re here to offer 5 tips for getting your business started on the road to digital success.

  1. Website

It was shocking to hear in 2017, that 2 million small businesses in the U.K. didn’t have a website. It’s estimated that this is costing these businesses a total of approx. £343 billion in lost revenue each year which, considering the current economic climate, is worrying.

It’s understandable to see why this is the case; many small U.K. businesses have been operating successfully since way before the dawn of the Internet – however, having this modern marketing method is a must in our world today. This platform will help tie your digital marketing channels together and let’s face it – no one reads your ad in the Yellow Pages anymore.

It doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg; there are plenty of options for business websites out there. Many web agencies offer flexible plans to suit most budgets, or if you’re tech savvy you can easily create your own site on a platform like Wordpress or Wix. Either way, there are plenty of guides online to help you get started.

  1. Google

No – it’s not just a place to find restaurants or the local bus times – Google is an infallible digital marketing tool today.

Google My Business is the best place to start – a free online tool that allows you to register your business details, so you can be easily found by customers online. You can customize details of your business giving the most up to date information or even put yourself on the map (literally) with Google Maps. For a couple of hours work, this is an invaluable tool to have.

Search ranking rules the roost when it comes to Google. When a customer is looking for terms related to your business, the higher you rank in the search engine results – the more exposure and engagement your business will have. There are multiple methods to boost your search ranking, both paid and unpaid. This channel can be time-consuming, it may be worthwhile investing in some help from a marketing agency, so check out your options.

  1. Social Media

78% of all British adults have a Facebook account – so why not engage with them? A strong social media presence is key to allow customers multiple ways to interact with your brand.

Due to the recent algorithm changes at Facebook and Instagram, paid social advertising is the way to go if you want to reach your audience. It’s free to sign up and user-friendly, with a bit of practice anyone should be able to master paid social ads. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn are the main platforms you should be looking at, but depending on how you want to engage with your audience, YouTube can be a valuable asset too.

  1. Opportunities for Multichannel Marketing

Depending on your industry, there’s a wide range of websites readily available to extend your reach and benefit your business.  

Multichannel selling has transformed the retail industry as it’s now easier than ever to sell your goods on platforms beyond your website. Favourites include Amazon, eBay, Notonthehighstreet, and Rakuten. All of these sites listed include a built-in digital marketing tool allowing you to connect with your customers through email or targeted advertising.

Similarly, there are plenty of service based websites such as Just Eat, Booking.com, and Treatwell, who have the ability to get your business in front of much larger audiences online too.

  1. Email

Due to the growing popularity of social media and google search advertising, many are starting to question the importance of email in the digital age. However, the ROI (return on investment) of this channel is one of the highest in digital marketing, so is definitely worth looking into.

Email marketing now extends beyond the odd annoying email landing in your inbox that gets ignored and then usually deleted. You can specifically target customer groups that you think would be interested in your product or service, and you can even re-target previous customers of yours with add-on or repeat purchase offerings.

There are a variety of paid and unpaid email marketing platforms available for use; Mailchimp is very user-friendly and ideal for those new to digital marketing. By using a platform like this, you can see the results from your email campaigns, making it easy to see what works and what doesn’t.

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