Digital marketing has many forms across many platforms, but all of these items can be reduced to these 5 main pillars. While every small business is different, most will not be able to focus on all five at the same time. It is necessary to evaluate which pillars will provide the results that you need for the budget that you can afford.
- Reputation Management - This includes all of the reviews and things that may be getting said about your business online. Every small business needs to monitor this closely and a recent survey showed that the majority of people trust online reviews as much as a review from a friend. This includes responding to all of your reviews. Most customers are more likely to try a place where the owner has taken the time to respond to reviews. Check out a recent post on The Importance of Responding to Reviews (Good and bad).
- Listing Management - Listings are all of the social media and online business directories that store and display business information. There are a few dozen main sources, but literally hundreds of other directories and locations that store business data. If your information is incorrect in these locations, not only does it affect your search engine rankings it could potential upset customers who call the wrong number or show up at the wrong address. Check out this recent post on What Are Local Listings?
- Social Media Marketing - Now, many social media platforms offer paid services, but we will cover that in a minute. I am referring to the free portion of marketing on social media. The action of sharing useful information regarding your market and organically growing your audience. Many small businesses get this wrong and spam their feeds with offer after offer. Don't be one of them! Throw in a special offer every once in awhile, but mainly just share useful information. You can also pay to market on social media and with Facebook, it's almost required in order to gain visibility these days. Paid social media marketing can be very effective because of the level of filtering you can use. Make sure that if you are going to do this on your own, that you take a few online training classes first to make sure that you get the most bang for your buck.
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization) - This includes all of your on-page and off-page marketing efforts to organically rank on search engines. While this form of marketing can be quite expensive and results are not immediate, I feel that this is the best money spent. The amount of traffic that can be gained by good SEO is priceless. Check out one of our posts on What is SEO? for more details about what goes in to SEO.
- SEM (Search Engine Marketing) - Also commonly known as PPC or Pay Per Click is a marketing method where you pay to show your ads for specific keywords that are typed in on search engines like Google or Bing. While Google is the largest there are a few small less known search ads networks that you can use as well. SEM is actually a great way for small businesses to marketing to a select audiance for a specific product or service that they offer. You can easily set a budget that works for you and when it is gone, it is gone. They key to successful SEM is to monitor your results and adjust your ads and budget as needed. We will be posting more specifically about SEM in the coming weeks. We strongly recommend using "retargeting" through Google as it is fairly inexpensive, but can be quite effective. This is where anyone that visits your website gets tagged and then is shown your ad whenever they visit a Google partner site.
As I said, every small business will need to evaluate which pillars they feel will work best and they try them out. Evaluate what works and what doesn't and repeat. Should you have any specific questions, feel free to contact us or leave a comment below.