This year has been a whirlwind, to say the least. In today’s climate, it can be difficult to make the transition from “how things used to be” to “how things are.” From full-scale digital marketing to simply adding your business to Google, there are many tools and strategies to get started in the digital world.
We understand that the search for the right “tools” can be difficult – in fact, there are over 8,000 tools available. 8,000.
I’d like to share with you a simple list to help you navigate the “new” a little easier (rather than searching through a list of 8,000).
Brick and Mortar and More
The last decade has truly pushed “creating a digital presence” to the top of the to-do list. The call for digital was there before 2020, but now it is needed more than ever before. Many small businesses found that their largest pain point in the transition from brick and mortar to digital was that they felt “behind” or “out of the loop” (pun intended).
To let you in on a little secret – most companies feel this way when they are making the transition from traditional marketing to digital marketing. They feel unprepared or unsure, and they often established their company using methods that they grew up with or seem more comfortable. This typically includes mail-campaigns, billboards, commercials, or community pin-boards at the local community center. Fear can stop progression, and, often, this is where the problem lies.
Digital Avenues you Should Use and Why
High Quality Website
Back in 2014, Forbes released an article stating how important it was to have a website. That’s 6 years ago. And as of July 15, 2020, there were nearly 1,800,000,000 websites (and counting).
Everyone can have a social presence, but without a good website, you’ll likely be looked over. The true importance of a website is a blog within itself, but if you’ve been online in the last two years, you know that companies like Squarespace and Wix have been popping up – advertising that they are making website creation easy.
WordPress should be your go-to for website creation as it allows you to add a strong SEO presence to your pages and a mobile-friendly option. Squarespace and Wix have been known to overlook this strategy with the idea of “DIY” or “easy”, so eventually, if your long-term goal is SEO focused, we advise you to go with a WordPress site. If you’re not in the position to hire a company to build a custom website, the latest themes will hold you over as you work through this transitional period. Keep your business facing the future.
As of July 15, 2020, there are 1,785,364,574 websites on the internet (and counting).
Your website is often the first impression your business gives to potential clients. Having one that can be easily navigated on mobile and provides essential information your clientele often search for will allow you to make a lasting impression.
To start, social media is not for every business. Does it make sense for your industry or audience or clientele? Look at the various platforms that are available and choose accordingly. Don’t over exert yourself by spreading yourself too thin on platforms that your clientele don’t use. Have a B2B business? Aim for Facebook and LinkedIn. B2C? Get personal with Instagram and Twitter.
Additionally, it doesn’t necessarily matter how many likes you have, or how many shares. On an SMB level, the most important thing is to establish a consistent and reliable presence. Typically in the process of Googling a company, the social media profiles will pop-up in the search, as well. Social media platforms are designed to capture the attention of visitors, and they are a familiar platform for multiple generations. If you have a consistent and interesting social media presence, this is going to encourage a potential client or customer to see you as reliable – again, only if it makes sense for your industry.
Email marketing is the same as social media. Does it make sense for your industry? Does it make sense for your sales? If you’re an e-commerce business, for example, having a monthly “Specials” email is great for your customers. Additionally, if you often make announcements, write blogs, or provide information that you know your audience finds interesting, Email Marketing is a great platform for you.
My highest recommendation would be MailChimp – they provide a free version of their service for a certain number of contacts, it’s easy to use, and it’s reliable.
Oh yes, video. Youtube. Vimeo. I cannot stress this enough – video is so, so, SO key to marketing now. In fact, more than 66% of consumers prefer video over reading, and I am certainly part of that statistic.
We all feel uncomfortable in front of the camera at first – most of us grew up without one in our pocket. So when we’re looking to make a brand or company or nonprofit more personable, pulling out your phone and sharing a quick Instagram or Facebook story adds a certain “invitational” level to make your audience feel like they are part of the action.
Copywriting & Content Marketing
Did you know, 80% of small businesses fail? So how can you bring more people from offline to your online presence? Content marketing.
If your business is in the position to have interesting blog pieces, absolutely create a blog platform. Don’t feel like you have to write a blog, though. If you are going to spend the time putting one together, it needs to be worth the reader’s time. Having a generic blog on a generic topic is not going to drive traffic to your site.
80% of small businesses crash and burn within the first 18 months.
If you are in the position of needing a blog but don’t have time to write one, or it isn’t your cup of tea, there are plenty of freelancers who have experience in your field that you can utilize. Platforms like Upwork can offer a portfolio of work and give you the opportunity to find a copywriter in your industry.
Don’t have a graphic designer on staff? Don’t have a creative bone in your body? It’s okay – when in doubt, use authenticity! Your phone is one of the most powerful tools around – there’s a saying, the phones we have in our pockets are more powerful, from a tech standpoint, than the rocket that sent Armstrong to the moon.
If you’ve read our blog, Web Trends of 2020, you’ll know that stock imagery is on its way out. What do people want to see? Authentic photos. They want to feel like they are part of something. This can also be seen as an amazing platform to invite your clients or customers to engage with your business online — ask for photos, ask for experiences and share them on your site and social media. Showcase what your services or products can give to your audience – this will encourage them to be more engaged with your business and want to share.
The Importance of Google
Google My Business
Most business owners know that Google is king – at least for now. If you have a business, it is vital that you have your Google My Business account established if you have a brick and mortar business or “office” location that isn’t your home. Google My Business is the first step in establishing yourself as a reliable source for those who search for businesses like yours. Ever search for “restaurants near me”? Those businesses have a Google My Business account that qualifies them to clearly and distinctly display in your search results. Head to our blog here to learn more about Google My Business and Google Maps.
According to pwc, 70% of consumers use their phones to find the nearest store.
Finally, the king of all kings in terms of modern data collection – Google Analytics. Now that you have a beautiful website, it’s important to install either a Google Analytics plugin or, if you know-how, to install it on your site. This platform is free and provides you with all of the traffic information you could possibly need while you’re in the stage of establishing your online presence.
Our Gift to You
Establishing a digital presence is vital in surviving today’s climate. Not only does it give you an additional method of reaching your audience base, but it also allows you to reach a larger audience than you may have thought possible! We’ve assembled a handy downloadable guide to take you through the basic online marketing process.