9 of the Best Small Business Digital Marketing Strategies

9 of the Best Small Business Digital Marketing Strategies

May 9, 2022
(Reading time: 7 - 14 minutes)

There are numerous strategies when it comes to determining the best digital marketing for your small business. Should you focus on search engine optimization or pay-per-click ads? What about social media and influencers?

This post will discuss why you need digital marketing, the importance of digital marketing for small businesses, and some of the best digital marketing for small businesses.  

Why You Need Digital Marketing

Over the years, I have spoken to many small businesses owners who struggle with investing money into marketing their business. Allan Dib, the author of “The One-Page Marketing Plan,” says this about marketing in general:  

Many business owners fool themselves into thinking that if their product is excellent, the market will buy. While “if you build it, they will come” makes a great movie plot, it’s a terrible business strategy. It’s a strategy that’s expensive and comes with a high rate of failure. History is littered with technically superior products that commercially failed. A few examples include Betamax, The Newton, and LaserDisc, to name just a few. Good, even great, products are simply not enough. Marketing must be one of your major activities if you’re to have business success.

John Wanamaker is credited with coining the phrase, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” And this is often true when it comes to more traditional forms of advertising and marketing. This isn’t to say that they don’t have their place; however, digital marketing is one method that allows you to track your spending. 

Many small businesses are realizing this and heavily investing in digital marketing. According to a survey by The Manifest, they found that:

  • 88% of small businesses invest in social media
  • 54% of small businesses use email marketing to facilitate personal connections with their clients. 
  • 56% of small businesses plan to use more website marketing to strengthen their content offering. 
  • In 2020, 32% of small businesses used video marketing to engage and captivate consumers. 
  • 76% of small businesses believe their digital marketing efforts are effective in achieving their goals.

9 of the Best Digital Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses

Below are nine of the best digital marketing strategies for small businesses like yours. While all of these techniques have been tested, implemented, and guaranteed to work, not all of them will work for you. I recommend considering all the strategies below and trying out a few. You will be able to tell quickly which ones will work best for your small business.

1. Create a Google Business Profile Listing

Creating or claiming a Google Business Profile (GBP) listing is one of the first things any small business should do, not to mention it is 100% free! If you’re unfamiliar with it, the listing shows to the right on a desktop view or at the top on a mobile view (see the example images below). The listing provides you, the searcher, with basic information about the business, such as the address, hours, phone number, website link, reviews, etc.

Create a Google Business Profile Listing

On the right-hand side, you can see the Google Business Profile listing for Cube Creative Design. Image source: Google

A Google Business Profile listing is an extremely useful way to provide potential or current clients with essential information about your business. To edit the listing, all you have to do is claim your listing (if one already exists) or create one for your business.

Once you've completed your listing, you have a lasting digital marketing strategy at work through Google. A word of caution, don't forget that if any of this information about your business changes, you'll want to update your listing to reflect those changes.

(Add Module for GBP HELP)

2. Encourage Clients to Leave Online Reviews

Another completely free digital marketing tip and arguably as good as claiming your GBP is to encourage clients to leave reviews on your GBP or other review sites related to your business or industry.

Online Reviews Demonstrate Social Proof

According to Bright Local, “90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business.” Users will seek reviews across many different channels, online and offline. 

In addition, reviews can and will directly impact your bottom line. Take a look at these statistics to see how reviews can influence your business’s revenue.

  • 90% of users need less than ten reviews to form an opinion about a business.
  • 50 or more reviews per product can mean a 4.6% increase in conversion rates (Source: Econsultancy)
  • 9 out of 10 customers are afraid to buy from a company that has no ratings at all (Source: BrightLocal)
  • 70% of people trust reviews and recommendations from strangers (Source: Nielsen)
  • 88% of consumers trust online testimonials and reviews as much as recommendations from friends or family (Source: Big Commerce)
  • On average, testimonials on sales pages increase conversions by 34% (Source: Impact)
  • Displaying reviews can increase conversions by up to 270% (Source: Spiegel Research Center)
  • 83% of people trust reviews over advertising. (Source: Nielsen)
  • Businesses who reply to reviews at least 25% of the time have an average of 35% more revenue (Source: G2)

If you are not investing a little time and resources into gathering and managing your reviews, you may be walking away from more sales for your business. People are more willing to trust a product or service when they see lots of positive online reviews, while negative reviews have the opposite impact. 

To learn more about Online Review Collection and Management, check out this page all about it.

3. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

This might sound strange; however, one of the most powerful ways of bringing constant visibility to your brand and small business isn’t through traditional paid media. 

While mass media ads have been the primary way most businesses market themselves, no paid ad will be as strong as seeing your website, services, or content at the top results when a searcher Googles a related keyword.

Being well positioned in search engines and subsequently on the search engine results pages (SERPS) is the best way of getting organic traffic and building trust since it is the first contact a searcher has with your brand.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) refers to the techniques, actions, and tools that help your brand climb those rankings.

Its goal is to make Google recognize relevance and value in what you and your small business have to offer so that when users search for specific keywords, Google will favor your brand.

Therefore, SEO is critical when it comes to digital marketing for small businesses.

4. Pay-Per-Click Marketing

Pay-per-click (PPC) ads are online advertisements where the business only pays if the ad has been clicked on. These ads will often be placed on the search engines (Google, Bing, Duck Duck Go) to show up for searches focused on specific keywords or tied to a geographical area to capitalize on the local intent.

These ads will appear on search engine results pages (SERPs) across numerous platforms (mobile, tablet, desktop, etc.). Positions vary based on the search engine, but they are usually at the top of organic results. All PPC advertisements are tagged with the word “ad.”

Where Do Local PPC Ads Appear

One of the biggest of PPC ads is that you only pay for results (actual clicks to your website or content) and that you can target ads toward a specific geographic location.

The cost of PPC marketing can vary significantly depending on how much the company is willing to invest in advertising. Pricing is based mainly on keyword competition. Popular keywords with high competition will cost you more. 

Key Statistics about Searchers and PPC Ads

  • Text ads are the most popular, with 49% of users clicking them (Source: Search Engine Land)
  • PPC Ads Can Boost Brand Awareness 80% (Souce: Wordlead)
  • More than 50 percent of people between the ages of 18–34 can’t differentiate between an ad and an organic result on Google (Source: Search Engine Land)
  • 46% of clicks go to the top three paid ads in search results (Source: WebFX)
  • 66% of buyer-intent keywords are paid clicks (Souce: Wordlead)
  • 75% of users click on ads to find authentic and relevant information (Source: Curvearro)

Want to learn more about PPC Ads and Local PPC Ads? Check out this page all about them.

5. Social Media Marketing

Social media platforms like TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Twitter are prevalent. Millions of people use these platforms every day to connect with friends and family and contact their favorite brands.

But What Is Social Media Marketing (SMM)?

According to Buffer,

Social media marketing is the use of social media platforms to connect with your audience to build your brand, increase sales, and drive website traffic. This involves publishing great content on your social media profiles, listening to and engaging your followers, analyzing your results, and running social media advertisements.

In other words, SMM is focused on the personification of your small business or brand. 

Many small businesses want to use social media to push their products or services and forget the “social” part. Therefore if you’re going to do SMM, it is essential that you are accessible to users of the platforms to answer their questions and interact with people.

Key Statistics About SMM

  • Almost all small businesses (88%) invest in social media. (Source: The Manifest)
  • 96% of small businesses use social media in their marketing strategy.
  • 41% of local businesses depend on social media to drive revenue.
  • 80% of consumers use social media to engage with brands.
  • 74% of consumers rely on social media to guide purchasing decisions.
  • You can get a 42% ROI on social media (Source: Contentive: 2018 B2B Marketing Survey Findings)
  • The majority of all generations rely on social media for their business: Millennials (91%), Generation Xers (91%), and baby boomers (85%) use social media for their business. (Source: The Manifest)

To learn more about Social Media Marketing, check out this page about it.

6. Content Marketing

In the 1970s, it was said that the typical person viewed 500 to 1,600 advertisements every day. In 2022, there aren’t any official numbers available. However, the average person is expected to see between 6,000 and 10,000 advertisements each day. So it's no wonder that ad blocking software is used by 11% of the world's internet-connected population. Quick confession: your’s truly runs one and has for years!

What is content marketing?

Content Marketing Institute says,

Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable client action.

In other words, content marketing is an extremely popular marketing strategy, particularly for small businesses. Many small businesses will include a blog section for sharing helpful information with their clients, which is a big part of their content marketing strategy. They may also combine it with dedicated landing or service pages and geographical or local landing pages to further help answer search questions and drive traffic to their website.

Why content marketing is essential to small businesses

  • It fosters trust more effectively than interruption/disruption methods (e.g., ads)
  • Content aids in the ranking of websites higher in search results
  • It lowers the cost per lead
  • It generates versatile collateral that can be utilized across all marketing and sales channels

7. Search Engine Marketing

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a marketing strategy that uses paid advertisement to link the name of your website or business to a list of keywords that customers might use in their search engine for services. It also incorporates SEO, Content Marketing, and PPC.

8. Email Marketing

The email was initially invented in the 1970s and is still one of the most prominent and used communication channels. 

Email marketing uses the power of email to promote your small business. It helps cultivate relationships with potential clients and keep current clients informed and updated on your small business and brand. 

Email Marketing Statistics

  • 64% of small businesses use email marketing to reach customers. (Campaign Monitor, 2021)
  • 4 out of 5 marketers said they’d rather give up social media than email marketing. (Litmus, 2020)
  • 87% of B2B marketers say email is one of their top free organic distribution channels. (Content Marketing Institute, 2020)
  • More than half of small businesses (54%) plan to use email marketing as part of their digital marketing strategy in 2020. (Source: The Manifest)
  • The global e-mail marketing market was valued at $7.5 billion in 2020 and is projected to increase to $17.9 billion by 2027. (Statista, 2021)
  • There are 4 billion daily email users. This number is expected to climb to 4.6 billion by 2025. (Statista, 2021)
  • More than 306 billion emails are sent and received each day. (Statista, 2021)
  • Across all industries, the average email open rate is 19.8%, the click-through rate is 11.3%, and the bounce rate is 9.4%. (Constant Contact, 2021)
  • Launching a mobile-responsive email design can increase unique mobile clicks by 15%. (MailChimp, 2019)
  • Mobile-friendly email is the second most-used tactic email marketers to improve their performance. (HubSpot, 2020)
  • Although people primarily check email on iPhone devices, Gmail is still the most-used email service, with more than 1.5 billion users (CNBC, 2019)
  • Nearly 22% of all email campaigns are opened within the first hour of sending. (GetResponse, 2020)
  • 99% of email users check their inbox every day, with some checking 20 times a day. Of those people, 58% of consumers check their email first thing in the morning. (OptinMonster, 2020)
  • 74% of Baby Boomers think email is the most personal channel to receive communications from brands, followed by 72% of Gen X, 64% of Millennials, and 60% of Gen Z. (Bluecore, 2021)
  • 91% of women in the US use email, compared to 89% of men. (Statista, 2019)

9. Start Using Video Marketing

Videos will cause the average user to spend 88% more time on a website. Therefore it can help your small businesses dominate your digital marketing efforts.

Although creating an engaging video requires more time, professional software is not necessary to create a great-looking video. Often the less polished, the better traction you can get.

If you are a small business on a budget can create videos that fit your audience’s needs and expectations by utilizing a smartphone and editing on the device. 

Video Marketing Statistics

  • 32% of small businesses are looking to invest in video marketing. (Source: Oberlo)
  • In 2020, the number of people watching digital videos in the US reached 244.4 million — hitting year-over-year growth levels that far exceed what experts had predicted. (Source: Business Insider)
  • 86% of marketing professionals use video as a marketing tool. (Source: Wyzowl PDF file).
  • 54% of consumers want to see more video content from a brand or business they support. (Source: HubSpot)
  • Nearly 8 out of every 10 users have purchased a piece of software or app after having watched the brand’s video. (Source: Wyzowl)
  • Video marketers get 66% more qualified leads per year. (Source: Optinmonster
  • 93% of marketers say they’ve landed a new customer thanks to a video on social media. (Source: Animoto)
  • Video marketers achieve a 54% increase in brand awareness. (Source: Optinmonster)

The Importance of Digital Marketing for Small Businesses

I hope that you realize the importance of digital marketing for your small business by this point.

All the strategies I mentioned above will all work on their own. However, they are much more effective when combined with two or three.

For example, if you decide to do PPC, you need good content marketing, so you aren’t driving people to your home page. Sending them to an optimized landing page is ideal. 

The same goes for email marketing. While you can fill your email with coupons and discounts, people will only want to engage with you to see those when they are ready to buy. However, if you can consistently show value and promote your blog content, you will get a much higher open and click-through rate making your list and emails much more valuable.

Lastly, digital marketing is essential if you want your small business to grow and succeed. Utilizing the right digital marketing strategies for your small business can help you grow by attracting new clients and increasing sales.

Chad Treadway

Written by:  |  May 9, 2022

Chad is our business development manager. He will help you survey your business needs, ensuring you are educated on your options before suggesting any solution. Chad also has several certifications through HubSpot to better assist you with your internet and inbound marketing.

See Chad Treadway's' bio: cubecreative.design/about/chad-treadway