We’ll teach you how to perform internet marketing services for your small business!
Marketing is one of the essential pillars of any business. In small businesses, digital, or internet marketing can be used cost-effectively to target customer’s who are unfamiliar with your brand but match the demographic of your existing customers. This effectively gives all small business owners a chance to compete in the advertising space as large competitors in their local markets. For the above reasons, and others we will explore, the following article details common small business internet marketing channels and answers common questions related to carrying out internet marketing from the perspective of a small business owner taking on their own marketing duties without the help of an outside consultant.
Centre of your internet marketing – the website
The destination of any small business internet marketing plan is either a specialised, efficient form to pass on their information as a job lead (or ‘conversion’). However, this form must be placed on a website, and in-order to provide the best first impression to any would-be viewers of your small business website, it should be a visually impressive website that showcases your values and professionally represents your business, products and/or services.
In addition to being visually impressive and feeling “right” in terms of your brand and marketing, it is also vital to know that your website has a strong technical foundation in the website hosting infrastructure and also in respect of how it is set up to represent website content (for instances, news items posted on the website) towards search engines and other large website crawlers that will scan and index the website.
As emphasised in the prior paragraph, it is essential to get a website vendor that is competent in both areas and can make the design, function, experience and ‘feel’ fantastic – that is a lot of balls to juggle!
Forming a Small Business Internet Marketing Strategy
Before approaching every vendor on the first page of your preferred search engine, it pays to sit down with the other key stakeholder(s) (presumably either just yourself or your business partner), and decide what your approach to the vendors, stated goals, other expectations, and of course, budget, will be. Do you have any inclination towards a particular social media or internet marketing platform? Should you ask for the consultants’ experience input (always, yes). And ultimately, should you decide to engage with an external consultant at all? As this article is in the content of a small business owner, we’re going to assume a limited budget and therefore our advice is that while you should reach out and have several conversations with web design or marketing agencies, we think it’s a good time for a introduction chat and to lay the foundation for future work together, but in the first instance, there is simply so much that can be achieved from putting your personal time and effort (sweat equity) as opposed to further spend or monetary investment.
5 Small Business Internet Marketing Tips
- Understand the challenge of working with a limited budget with unlimited opportunities
- Establish a basic presence on all internet marketing channels linking to your website
- Understand the importance of learning and improving on one internet marketing channel
- Understand the importance of your own hard work, time input and how to capitalise on that to generate work leads at zero marginal cost
- Watch the competition and better what they’re doing.
8 Small Business Internet Marketing Channels
Since we’re going at it alone as the marketing manager of our own small business, we’re going to have to do a bit of study to have a baseline understanding of each online location that could possibly direct potential customers to our centrepiece (the website).
Search engine results in Google taken on 07/18/2022 searching for "plumbing services texas" - note the listings in the screenshot required zero internet marketing budget, they are achieved through Google Organic SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) results.
They say cash is king, but in the world of internet marketing, it really is Google organic search that is the king of channels (generally speaking). The ability to get your website content on the top spots in search results, and visibility within your local area, will dictate your websites’ ability to provide you with business leads at $0 marginal cost (except for the opportunity cost of your personal time and input foregone, there will be no additional cost once your page is ranking, and whilst it retains its rank). Meaning that, if you target a keyword, such as a “cheap rental las vegas”, then once you have that high search position, naturally many people will find you when seeking out an affordable car rental.
The above is just the beginning though, as details below, building up links from external, credible website is also necessary to get visibility for the keywords that will really drive you local customer traffic. This means you need to consistently write and provide more background and interesting information on your businesses subject matter, weekly if possible, until Google (or other major search engines) have taken their time to evaluate, clear and index your website within their results.
The best thing I can say is just have faith in the process and continue to write many informative articles with pictures on the subject, naturally including your target keywords scattered within, and eventually, you will find yourself ranking for the keyword, assuming you’re using a website builder that is sound fundamentally and geared for SEO such as Dazzly.
Another crucial factor is building up online reviews, in-order to do this formally with Google, you should create a Google my Business Profile, and then follow the additional steps in our long-form SEO article which we highly recommend you read if you wish to up-skill in this area.
Screenshot taken at the same time showing the Google Ads for companies choosing to spend marketing budget on the search term "plumbing services texas".
Google Paid (Google Ads)
While we rarely recommend it from the outset, a focused campaign with a few specific keywords may prove very lucrative for your brand. For broader campaigns, we recommend monitoring them closely to reduce wastage. For small businesses, the best bet is to run a Display Remarketing Campaign which advertises people who have already been to your website. Similarly, it can target people who haven’t been to your website before but also match the demographic of the former group, allowing you to effectively show your brand to many new similar people.
Social Media Organic
Most of us are already building an organic profile on social media, it just happens to be for ourselves. What we need to adjust to, is creating relevant, informative content that would attract your potential customers via your business social media account. As a first step, we recommend creating your business social media account and linking it back to the website with some initial posts and content. Remember, strategize first to maximize your return-on-investment (ROI), so Social Media Organic may or may not be a significant internet marketing channel depending on the nature of your small business.
Social Media Paid
Similarly, to Google Ads above, campaigns that use visual banner ads and can target people who have similar characteristics to your existing customers is a better strategy than advertising to the masses, which can be very expensive and may make little financial sense depending on your revenue model. The other paid facet of social media is influencer advertising, a specialised service and topic in of itself, and beyond the scope of this article. We recommend checking out organised platforms such as Afluencer to easily connect with micro or smaller social media influencers (and some large ones too!).
YouTube Organic can be a surprisingly effective channel to get some enquiries from international and other customers who are not familiar with your brand. We have seen some customers succeed through posting very niche videos detailing specific aspects of their offering that have mass appeal, such as the ability to take Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) payments on their ecommerce website. Sometimes, things that you first perceive as small differentiating factors, can turn out to be the most important unique selling points of your business, product, solution or service.
This is the simplest paid option and is managed via your Google Ads account as an additional challenge for video display re-marketing advertising. We recommend having a variety of video lengths in-order to be able to take advantage of any video and placement opportunities that may be available (to reduce your overall CPM).
Local Internet Platforms (newspapers)
If your small business receives any invitation or opportunity to be included in any local print or digital publications, then be sure to get the publisher to include a link back to your website within that internet/story. This is vital because it indicates to search engines that you’re a credible website if other local news websites are willing to publish content on your business. It will also signal other things/connections to search engines based on the content of the article (such as the fact you make great pies from your bakery in San Francisco etc).
Sponsored content (podcasts/online radio)
Again, this is slightly more advanced/niche, but you can directly approach websites such as Spotify or content creators on YouTube to try to get them to create sponsored content for your brand. This can be a very cheap and effective way of generating content as well as social reach concurrently. The only down-side is that it can consume a lot of manual time in reach-outs and unproductive conversations that ultimately result in no revenue, but such is life for anyone doing cold sales or outreach – you hustle and make it happen to get the placements and brand exposure you need.
5 Small Business Internet Marketing Facts
- Internet marketing for small businesses is hard
- With Google Organic, expect to put in months of time to see success
- SEO platforms such as SEMRush are worth the spend but only once you need them
- a. A lot can be gained by writing, publishing, and linking (internally and externally) as well as building up general SEO and credibility factors as detailed above.
- You don’t need to spend a dime to get new customer’s online
Like anything in business, if it wasn't hard, it wouldn't be worth doing! Analysing those who have visited your website, and deploying straight-forward, visual adds, with appeals to the benefits from the customer’s point-of-view, to re-target them (or the same customer demographic within your local service area) is a sure-fire way to acquire new works leads and subsequently, loyal and repeat customers, without having to spend a fortune in internet marketing budgets each month.
Where can I build a website for my small business internet marketing?
At Dazzly, we offer the friendliest website builder software in the world, it even works great on mobile devices for those small business owners on the go! We invite you to give Dazzly a try, for 14-days, entirely free of charge, and no credit-card required. All you need to do is select a website template and you can have a website preview built in-front of your eyes in a minute or two.
In conclusion, as a small business owner, you should question whether you should use an external independent internet marketing service for your small business or whether you should be upskilling internally (even if that means the business owner themselves). Devise a strategy to focus your budget on your local area and existing custom demographic to maximise the changes of success. Ration your budget carefully by using a quality website builder software and investing your limited funds into advertising spend (don’t get caught out by expensive web design companies). Finally, make processes and policies of adding new website content and focus solely on one digital channel (whether paid or unpaid) until you’ve mastered it, or until its consistently returning sufficient return on investment (ROI). We recommend starting with the channel that seems to have the most intuitive appeal or connection to your customer demographic.