Essential Digital Marketing Strategies for Local Businesses
Despite the unique marketing requirements of every business, there are fundamental tasks that form the backbone of all successful digital marketing strategies. This guide provides a step-by-step plan for implementing effective digital marketing strategies suitable for local businesses and startups new to the digital marketplace.
Consider these three key factors when crafting your digital marketing strategy:
Your campaign components should be low-risk, offering a high success rate at an affordable price. This could involve building a website, or initiating an SEO or PPC campaign.
Your campaign components need to be scalable, capable of growing alongside your business.
Your campaign components should be easy to discontinue should they not meet your needs, ensuring you are not locked into a long-term commitment that isn’t providing desired results.
The elements of your campaign should be trackable, allowing you to gauge your return on investment (ROI).
Your digital marketing plan should be cost-effective, adaptable in line with business growth, and enable performance tracking. It should also provide an easy exit strategy if required. An effective marketing plan is vital for ensuring business success beyond the initial two years.
Low risk, high ROI digital marketing plan
A website is essential. Existing websites may require redesigning to ensure they are mobile-friendly, informative and competitive within your market. When choosing a website designer take time reviewing their portfolio and testimonials from previous clients to ensure value for money and reliability. Prices can vary greatly between design firms, a larger fee does not necessarily guarantee a superior product. For example, a simple 20-page website requiring minimal programming could cost less than $3,000. Trustworthy design company partnerships are key.
Once you have secured a design company, the next step is to find an SEO company. Many businesses wait until their website design is complete before seeking out an SEO company, but this is a mistake. Your SEO agency will ensure your new website is designed with search engine optimization in mind from the beginning, avoiding costly and time-consuming adjustments further down the line. Be cautious of website design companies claiming to be SEO experts unless SEO features prominently on their list of services.
Selecting your SEO company requires careful consideration. Unfortunately, many are either unskilled or dishonest. In fact, only about one in ten SEO professionals possess true expertise in the field. This means that when choosing an SEO company it’s important to speak with previous clients and explore examples of successful search ranking positions they have achieved for other businesses. Don’t be afraid to get technical during discussions with prospective agencies; sales pitches aren’t enough, you need proof of competence. While it may take time to see results from a new website or business venture, good SEO practices provide potentially one of the highest overall ROIs across all aspects of digital marketing.
The third step involves setting up a PPC campaign using Google AdWords as a recommended platform. The benefits can be twofold: driving immediate business and managing growth while waiting for slower components like SEO to take effect. As running an efficient AdWords campaign can be complex we advise hiring a professional.
SEO and PPC should form the foundation of your digital marketing strategy as mastering these areas will increase chances of business success.
Higher Risk Digital Marketing Tasks
Once you are comfortable with search engine management (organic & PPC), expanding your digital marketing strategy could include activities such as Social Media engagement, ReTargeting initiatives, Display Advertising (banner ads), and Blogging/Content marketing.
Blogging/Content marketing - An active blog can expand the reach of your website by providing more content for people to discover. High-quality content can also establish your business as an authoritative resource in your field. Ideally, the content should be written by the business owner or key employees, but outsourcing to a reputable writing agency can also ensure valuable content for visitors.
Social Media - Successful social media campaigns are rare but still worth considering. While social media may not directly lead to new customers, it provides a platform for engagement and referral from satisfied clients. To effectively manage social media, either hire a high-end agency or maintain an active presence in-house with a minimum of two posts per month.
ReTargeting is most beneficial for large companies with complex sales cycles and strong brand recognition. For smaller or newer businesses, PPC continues to provide superior ROI while ReTargeting can offer additional growth opportunities.
Display Advertising - Historically, banner ads have underperformed leading to difficulties in maintaining profitable campaigns. While larger companies may achieve better results, it's not the best starting point for smaller businesses or those new to digital marketing. We recommend Google AdWords for display advertising where you pay per click rather than per impression.
Start with proven digital marketing strategies before exploring less predictable options. Once you have mastered these elements you will gain insight into what works best for your business.
If you don’t yet have a digital marketing agency in mind, SharpNet Solutions is available to assist you with launching your digital marketing efforts.