Digital Marketing for Small Businesses

Toni Bowers


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9 Rules for Digital Transformation in the Enterprise

Many businesses assume that digital marketing is just an easier, cheaper alternative to big, high budget ad campaigns. So they set up a Twitter feed and a Facebook page and hope that things just develop from there. But digital marketing is much more than using social media sporadically. It is an extension of your traditional marketing strategy, one that just happens to use a different set of tools.

Many businesses are not well-versed in how to use digital marketing to reach certain goals. In fact, many businesses don’t even know what goals they want to reach.

Vanessa DiMauro, CEO of the digital strategy firm Leader Networks, and one of Forbes’ Top 40 Social Marketing Masters, knows all about how businesses can make meaningful progress with their brands using digital media.

Plan Wisely, Measure Accordingly

DiMauro emphasized how important it is to identify your digital marketing strategy before you begin. She suggests first setting your “go-to-market strategy,” a blueprint detailing how your company will reach its customers and win a competitive advantage. In other words, what do you want to accomplish with digital marketing? How will your organization’s social business strategy align with its strategic objectives and how will it leverage DM for business benefit? What tools do you want to use?

When setting your digital media strategy, DiMauro suggested you start by asking yourself these questions:

  • Who is our audience?
  • What platform does our audience build community around?
  • What does success look like to us?
  • How will we track our results?

Smart Insights offers what they call a RACE planning framework that summarizes the key online marketing activities that need to be managed as part of digital marketing. The RACE pneumonic stands for

Reach > Act > Convert > Engage

Beware of Falling Prey to Numbers

DiMauro cautioned against the lure of what she calls “vanity metrics” (a large number of followers and likes). She says, “A million followers doesn’t necessarily translate to successful outcomes.” If you pursue the goal of just driving up your number of Twitter followers, for example, then you could be wasting a lot of time.

The better strategy is to spend time and effort really engaging the followers who have the power to buy your services. Instead of just counting your followers, DiMauro suggests, a better strategy is to “capture what’s being said about your company and then engage with those users.”  You can do this by:

Googling your company. When people have a bad experience with a brand, they like to talk about it. Monitoring blog posts and comments for your company name allows you to not only see what kinds of things are being said but it lets you reach out to a disgruntled member and work on remedying the situation.

Setting up Google alerts. By using specific keywords and phrases, you will receive e-mail notices whenever your brand and other search terms are mentioned. These alerts include links so that you can read the content and respond.

Finding the social media your audience uses. If you’re a restaurant, you might want to engage people on Yelp. If your company has a product that would benefit from people seeing it in action, post videos on YouTube.

In 2015, a German supermarket chain called Edeka released a touching Christmas-themed video ad showing an elderly man alone at Christmas because his grown children were too busy to visit. The video was the most viewed Christmas ad on YouTube, racking up 33.5 million views within a week. The success of the video shows just how engaging users can take off.

Using Twitter. With Twitter, you can microblog news about your company. Then you can use an application like HootSuite or TweetDeck to follow hashtags and search terms, and receive updates as they come in. Type the name of your company in your Twitter app and you’ll see results from people who have mentioned your brand recently.

You can get creative with Twitter. According to a story on CIO, in May of 2015, Dominos let customers request delivery of their favorite pizza by tweeting a pizza emoji to its @Dominos Twitter account, or by using the hashtag #EasyOrder. Not only did this action get a lot of pizza orders, but the tweet-based order system earned Domino's media coverage from the likes of Forbes and Good Morning America (a Titanium Grand Prix award at Cannes).

Not an Instant Reward

DiMauro says that, because social media is so instant, people expect immediate results from using it. She says to give it time for relationships to develop online. “Gaining trust of an audience is a six- to nine-month lifecyle.” That’s because you have to find the right people and then engage, nurture and educate those people so they become true fans of your brand. They will carry those positive messages forward to more people.


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Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Aug 29, 2016 4:40 AM Bharat Rawat Bharat Rawat  says:
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Oct 4, 2016 1:02 AM smartsocialbrand smartsocialbrand  says:
Thanks for explaining the importance of digital marketing for small businesses and how to start it and digital marketing plays an major role now a days to promote business online. Reply
Nov 2, 2016 10:39 AM stuartbens stuartbens  says:
I appreciate you for your post. It explain us lots of facts about how a Digital Marketing plays a vital role for the promotion of Small Business. Thanks toni for such an informative post. I recently found one website that explain the basic of Digital marketing and also how we can do it correctly. If you wanna check it out go through digital marketing courses Reply
Nov 7, 2016 1:24 AM Klaus Klaus  says:
The necessity of effective marketing strategies is patent. Proper marketing strategies embrace the key to the victory of any business venture. With the widespread approval of the internet, online marketing has grown to become one of the most wanted after options that are now united in the core strategies of the small sized initiatives. Reply
Dec 16, 2016 6:32 AM Braden Bills Braden Bills  says:
It makes sense that digital marketing could help a small business. It's not something you can stay on top of without professional help! It's important to plan your digital strategy before executing it, though. Reply
Dec 28, 2016 10:13 PM Steven Miller Steven Miller  says:
Thank you for writing this article. Small to medium businesses are always on the back foot when it comes to implementing the latest technology and marketing their products digitally. This article can act as a guide for every small business looking to expand digital presence. Reply
Jan 20, 2017 2:19 AM Neha Joshi Neha Joshi  says:
Small businesses should typically prefer limiting their reach till business portal like IndiaBizClub and few social media platforms that are widely used in the locality. That way, you can focus better on your products rather than mere marketing. Because good marketing with bad product is disaster Reply
Feb 21, 2017 9:09 PM ITM Digital Marketing ITM Digital Marketing  says:
Informative article, Toni. ITM Digital Marketing Institute offers digital marketing course. The course consists of 232 hours of in-class training with 35% theory and 65% practicals. It was founded to meet the digital marketing industry requirement and develop digital marketing professionals. Reply
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Sep 22, 2017 3:34 PM william william  says:
Such a great article. The blog is very informative and mind blowing. Thank you for sharing your important information. Reply
Oct 19, 2017 8:32 AM jackthomson123 jackthomson123  says:
Its true that using only social media is not a digital marketing the online digital marketing is much more then that Reply
Oct 19, 2017 8:34 AM mac bryan mac bryan  says:
The online digital marketing is important for all kind of business now day whether its small or big many type of business are doing digital marketing by using explainer vidoes Reply
Nov 15, 2017 6:56 AM pulse pulse  says:
Thanks for these informations about digital marketing for small businesses and how to start it and digital marketing plays an major role now a days to promote business online, increseasing traffic and collecting leads Reply
Jan 1, 2018 3:47 AM  Shaheer Shaheer  says:
I appreciate you for such great article.Thanks for sharing. Reply
Mar 24, 2018 7:35 AM Digital Marketing Digital Marketing  says:
The phrase: "Not an Instant Reward" stated in the article is really true. This shows that digital marketing is something that needs patience and hard work but as time goes by the productivity of the campaign will surely all be worth the effort. Reply

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