Last month I was part of the mentor neighborhood at the Sage Summit. The questions I was asked more than any other all concerned digital marketing.
Obviously, small business owners know digital marketing is no longer secondary to traditional print marketing and advertising and is a great way for them to get more bang for their marketing bucks. But to get the best results, it’s important to keep up with digital marketing trends.
Digital Marketing 101
Here are 5 things every small business owner must know about digital marketing.
1. Your website’s gotta be mobile. Some 71 percent of internet consumption is via mobile, according to ZenithOptimedia, which reports that internet users spend on average 86 minutes a day on mobile internet, compared to 36 minutes on desktop internet. Earlier this year, Google changed its algorithm to give higher rankings on search engine results pages to mobile-optimized websites. The takeaway? Make sure your business website is mobile-friendly. The best way to do this is by using responsive design, which ensures that the website “responds” to whatever device the viewer is using and displays correctly.
2. Local search is key to success for local businesses. Last year marked the first time more searches were conducted on mobile devices than on desktop computers, according to Google. Since many of those searches are done while users are “on the go” looking for local businesses, Google’s search results now favor websites that are optimized for local search. Local search engine optimization (LSEO) is easy. Start by claiming your business location on local search directories. Then make sure that your business’s name, address and phone number (NAP) information is listed exactly the same way on your Google My Business listing, on your website, and on any other local search directories. That means no using “St.” in one listing and “Street” in another. If your NAP varies from one listing to another, search engines may not recognize it as the same business, hurting your search results.
3. Email marketing is still king. Email remains the most effective digital marketing tool for small businesses. But with 86 percent of emails now being opened on mobile devices, according to a study by Kahuna, mobile-friendly emails are essential. When you develop your email marketing messages, think “mobile-first.” After all, a mobile-friendly email will look good on a desktop, but the reverse doesn’t hold true. Keep emails short; include a clear call to action; design in a single-column format; and use plenty of white space so it’s easy to click on buttons or links in the email. You’ll be richly rewarded—the Kahuna study says emails opened on mobile devices have higher click-through rates than those opened on desktops.
4. Online video is blowing up. Online video is one of the hottest growth areas for digital marketing in the coming year. Six in 10 marketers in The 2016 Social Media Marketing Industry Report already use online video to market their businesses, and 73 percent plan to do more with online video in the coming year. Videos that show viewers how to do something, help solve their problems, interview industry experts or provide an insider’s look into your business are all popular ways to attract attention. Put your videos on YouTube as well as your website—creating a YouTube channel is free and exposes your videos to a wider audience.
5. You can boost Facebook results with paid ads. Social media is still sizzling as a marketing method, with Facebook rated far and away the most popular and most effective channel by marketers use. No wonder, since it remains the most popular social network, used by 72 percent of online U.S. adults, Pew But changes to Facebook’s algorithm mean to attract more customers, you need to spring for ads. Facebook advertising is affordable, and the site offers plenty of guidance to help you create effective ads, a wide variety of ad options, and a dizzying array of ways to slice-and-dice your target audience to hone in on your perfect customers. Plus, free analytics tools make it simple to track the results of your ads and fine-tune them for greater success. Already, 86 percent of marketers in the 2016 Social Media Marketing Industry Report say they regularly place Facebook ads, and 57 percent plan to expand their use of Facebook advertising even more this year.
Which of these digital marketing methods are you using? Which are you eager to try?
Digital Marketing Photo via Shutterstock