Digital marketing tools are a boon to smaller businesses. E-mail, SMS messaging, social media, SEO work and careful investments in search engine marketing all offer scalability and 24/7 flexibility.
For companies with tight budgets, where owners have more time than money, smart marketing scalability is critical. Testing channels, new content and messaging are all attainable if the business has the time to dedicate to constant tracking and adjustment.
The Foundation of Digital Success is the Website
Your digital home remains your website, which must be a responsive website design that adjusts to each device. With 50% or more of your site visitors arriving via smartphone (as high as 70% for some industries) you need look good across all internet browsers.
Websites must be mobile responsive by 2019. Upgrade an older site to make it so, especially e-commerce sites. Is it as easy to order your products or services through the phone as it is via desktop or laptop? Mobile e-commerce accounted for 34.5% of total US e-commerce sales in 2017, and this is expected to grow to 53.9% by 2021.
How to Leverage Social Media to Amplify Website Power
A tight budget forces you to focus social media marketing on just the channels you can manage well. Select two or three to start with, matching them to those customer personas that offer the best ROI.
Step One: Own your Google my Business, Bing Places and Yelp Profiles
Even if you don’t do business locally, your organic search results rise when you actively manage these properties.
- Fill the profiles in completely using key search terms.
- Add photos regularly. If you don’t sell a product that lends itself easily to images, share photos of staff, trade show, happy customers, etc.
Step Two: Choose social media channels wisely to keep your workload manageable
Here are some basics that will help you focus:
This is a great way to interact directly with a wide range of customers. You’ll want to post daily to gain traction.
Instagram and Instagram Stories are more visual than other social platforms, and popular with younger demographics. It works for luxury and lifestyle brands, food and fashion companies that can share a lot of imagery.
Facebook users skew older. But, Facebook has made it harder to organically reach customers without spending money on ads. Still, boosted posts and highly targeted ad campaigns will drive up reach and site traffic.
In the example shown, Commodore Events promoted their Wedding venues using boosted social posts and a small, drip ad campaign over a two-year period with great success.
Pinterest is a visual medium with a target audience of women between the ages of 18 and 49. The platform has some good tools like the ‘buy’ button which allows a purchase with just a click of a button.
LinkedIn is a professional platform that is more for job-seeking, networking and finding clients. B2B service providers like it. Its ad tools tend to cost more.
- YouTube, Tumblr, Snapchat and other social channels
YouTube remains king of videos. Is Tumblr still a viable channel with only 5 million accounts? Has Snapchat figured out how to help businesses access their audience more efficiently? Are there other channels that might work? It depends on your business goals and target audience. Do the research!
How to Build a Social Media Following
This is the hardest part of social media marketing, where a big investment of time pays off.
Share great content.
Be interesting, entertaining, informative about two thirds of the time, and creatively promotional the rest of the time.
JMT Beauty, a beauty salon supplier, is a great example of a smaller company using social media to stay connected with their audience.
They post product specials, and share news of interactions with customers at trade show events.
Post multiple times weekly to all channels. Social posts have short shelf lives.
- Stay organized with a content calendar that rolls at least a month out.
- Use productivity tools like HootSuite, eClincher to simplify posting tasks.
Zepto PCS™ is another company that makes great use of social.
They filled the room for a presentation at an industry conference simply by boosting social media posts.
Look for followers and reach out to them.
- Follow people to invite them to follow you.
- Tag people within your posts to get their attention, and encourage them to follow back.
- Research influencers in your target marketplace. Follow them and ask to connect. Some channels, like Instagram and LinkedIn, let you explore followers of your followers. This can lead to more attractive prospects.
Offer “follow us” social links and Share widgets.
Every outbound e-mail should offer social icon links. Your site header and footer should offer them.
All site pages and blog posts must offer the reader the a button to share the content with their followers.
Vary your Calls-to-Action
The goal is always to attract visitors to your site. But you don’t want to dump everyone on your home page, as that will get old fast for engaged followers. So mix it up:
- Create landing pages for specific campaigns with CTAs.
- Bring people to blog posts via social posts. Use product/services pages as featured links in social posts.
- Have some content “gated.” White papers or reports require registration to capture the contact information of people who exhibit a higher level of engagement.
Check metrics constantly!
What campaign is most effective? How should you adjust? Set up Google Analytics and use conversion tracking tools to stay focused on what is working.
You won’t hit a viral home run every day with social media campaigning, but keep the content flowing to capture every chance for that to happen!