Digital marketing isn’t optional.

The fact is that only Eighty-four percent of businesses have a content marketing strategy as of early 2021. Sixteen percent don’t.

If you’re one of the people who has put off digital marketing or have done it haphazardly, it’s time to get serious about it. You may have claimed your Google My Business listing, which counts as digital marketing. But, unfortunately, it’s also the bare minimum you can do.

So, with that in mind, let’s talk about why every small business – including yours – needs digital marketing and which strategies we recommend.

What is Digital Marketing? 

Some small business owners don’t understand digital marketing. That’s part of the problem, so let’s start with a definition.

Digital marketing is the sum of your efforts to promote your business online. It may include:

  • Email marketing
  • Blogging
  • Search engine advertising (PPC)
  • Social media posting
  • Social media advertising
  • Business listings
  • SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
  • Video Marketing

The key to making the most of digital marketing is choosing the most likely strategies to deliver the desired results.

Target Local Keywords 

The first thing you need to recognize is that everything is local in the world of digital marketing. You will lose if you try to compete for the exact keywords used by big corporations with huge marketing budgets. But, on the other hand, you’ll get far more bang for your buck if you think local.

Local keywords should combine industry-specific words that identify what your business does and local words that let people know where you are. For example, a dentist in Minneapolis might target phrases such as:

  • Minneapolis dental practice
  • Twin Cities dentistry
  • Emergency dental care Minneapolis

You get the idea. You want the words you target to be specific to your business and location. Google prioritizes local search. Optimizing your website and ads for local keywords will give you the best possible chance of connecting with people in your area.

Claim Your Local Listings

A big part of digital marketing is creating a consistent online presence. For example, a person who finds you on Yelp should have access to the same information about your business as someone who searches for you on Google or navigates directly to your website, thanks to a referral from a friend.

Local listings such as Google My Business, Yelp, Angie’s List, and others act as online directories. They’re there to help people find the businesses they need. If you haven’t done so, you should claim every listing for your business. Once you’ve done that, it’s time to update and standardize all information to create a seamless presence.

Use Social Media Wisely

Social media should be part of your digital marketing strategy. As of 2020, 3.8 billion people worldwide use social media. In addition, your customers use social media.

The trick, of course, is to know which social media options your customers prefer. B2B companies should focus on LinkedIn. Any company with a visual or aspirational product would do well to invest in Instagram and Pinterest marketing. Most small businesses can benefit from having a Facebook presence.

Once you’ve decided which social media accounts to create, you still need to use them wisely. That means using organic posts and advertising to connect with your target audience. For example, small businesses can focus on local customers by using carefully-chosen hashtags and participating in community events such as Throwback Thursday.

Don’t Forget to Email Marketing

Email marketing isn’t the new kid on the block. However, it is still one of the most cost-effective digital marketing strategies. It’s particularly effective for keeping existing customers engaged and returning to your business.

If you don’t already have an email list, you can build one by creating content to give away and advertising it on Google or social media. But, of course, if people want to download the content, they’ll need to provide you with their email addresses.

You can get the most from your email marketing by creating unique content for the people on your list and combining it with exceptional coupons and giveaways.

Advertise on YouTube

YouTube advertising is something that many local businesses miss out on because they don’t understand how effective it is. Yet, total consumers say they have learned about a new product from seeing an ad on YouTube.

Marketers agree that pre-roll skippable ads are the most effective format for YouTube ads. However – anecdotal – we’ve noticed an increase in the number of short, non-skippable pre-roll ads we’re seeing. This is because consumers are less likely to mind sitting through a 15-second ad they can’t skip than an ad that’s longer and not skippable.

Google owns YouTube. That’s one reason that YouTube is an excellent option for retargeting customers who have visited your site without buying anything.

Encourage Reviews

You already know that reviews are essential. However, it would be best if you considered them a necessary part of your digital marketing strategy.

If you’re not already doing so, start encouraging customers to write online reviews. You can ask them in person if you have a brick-and-mortar store or, if you have an email list or Facebook account, ask them to leave a review and link to your preferred review site.

Optimize for Mobile

It’s safe to say that in 2021, all digital marketing will be mobile marketing. Of course, we don’t mean nobody accesses a website or social media on a computer. Still, it’s a fact that mobile search has surpassed desktop search, and almost everybody has a smartphone.

In practical terms, that means you’ve got to be sure that your website is optimized for mobile. Ideally, you should have the following:

  • A mobile responsive design that looks equally good on any device
  • Mobile-friendly content
  • Clickable buttons

No mobile user should need to zoom in to hit your call to action button or scroll horizontally to read your blog posts. But, on the other hand, there’s no excuse for ignoring mobile users – so don’t do it.

Digital marketing is here to stay – and it’s time to take it seriously. By focusing on the marketing strategies we’ve mentioned here, you’ll be able to differentiate your business from competitors and attract a steady stream of new customers.