What Is Digital Marketing?
Digital marketing is advertising and messaging delivered through digital channels such as search engines, websites, social media, email, and mobile apps. Each channel gives your business a chance to get in front of the right audience.
Traditional marketing encompasses TV, billboards, print magazines or newspapers, signage and brochures.
Digital marketing, on the other hand, uses an entirely different set of tools. It's an approach that can combine both organic and paid marketing methods to drive more traffic to your website and increase conversions.
Why Digital Marketing For Small Businesses Is Important
Technology has created a vast marketplace with many channels to reach your target audience. Even if you don't sell products online, you need a solid digital marketing plan to get your message out and attract prospects to your business.
Digital channels and technologies provide enormous growth opportunities.
Here are 3 top statistics that show why digital marketing for small businesses is essential:
89% of Australians are active internet users
81.5% search online for products and services
79.9% own a smartphone
Your target market uses digital channels to find solutions, search for products, and buy things.
Digital marketing helps you reach the right audiences affordably and measurably.
10 Proven Digital Marketing Tactics For Small Businesses
From search engine marketing to social media advertising, there are many digital marketing strategies you can use to attract customers.
But you don't need to try everything.
If you focus your efforts on the right types of digital marketing, you'll get more success.
Here are the top 10 digital marketing tips for small businesses.
1. Own Your Online Presence With a Website
Your website is the hub of your online marketing strategy and the face of your small business.
It's where your potential customers find out who you are, what you sell, and how to get in touch with you.
Your website can generate a stream of new customers from search engines and act as a 24/7 salesperson for your small business.
Image alt text: Web design landing page example
It also makes your small business more trustworthy. For example, nearly 85% of people think a business with a website is more credible than a company that only has a social media profile.
A website also enables you to create branded email addresses.
You can ditch your personal Gmail account and look more professional with a branded email like:
A digital marketing or web design agency can help you build your website. They will also be able to help you with the technical side.
For example, you can install Google Analytics to track your website visitors:
Image alt text: Google analytics digital marketing tool
This data can provide crucial insights into your digital marketing strategy. You'll be able to see where your visitors come from, how long they stick around, and how many convert.
If you want to learn more about what you need to track and measure, read our guide on digital marketing metrics.
2. Claim Your Google Business Profile
Claiming your Google Business Profile is easy. It's also one of the most effective ways to ensure potential customers can find you online.
Google accounts for 94% of the search engine market in Australia.
You can create a free Business Profile that shows up when people search for your company or local businesses in your market.
Here's how it appears to searchers:
Image alt text: Google business listing example
A Business Profile helps people quickly find out more about you, including your:
Products & Services
Images of your business
It also makes you appear more professional and trustworthy. People are 2.7x more likely to consider your business reputable if you have a complete Google Business Profile.
Your Business Profile also shows how your past customers rated and reviewed your business.
Image alt text: Local business reviews example
Google reviews play an essential role in buyer decision making. Almost 80% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
You can encourage your happy customers to leave reviews with links in your emails and on your website.
For in-store customers, you can encourage Google reviews at the checkout and on your packaging and sales receipts.
When a customer leaves a review, make sure you respond. Thanking a customer for a positive review can help to build rapport and boost customer loyalty.
If you receive a negative review, thank the customer for their feedback, apologise, and communicate how you plan to improve.
Constructive feedback can be great for your business.
A couple of negative reviews can also be beneficial. If your business only gets positive reviews, people question the legitimacy of the rating.
A study published in TechCrunch revealed that a rating between 4.2 and 4.5 stars is ideal. The above-average score appears more authentic.
3. Improve Your Google Ranking With SEO
Where does your website appear in Google results when you search for your products or services?
If you don't make it onto the first page, you'll struggle to generate organic traffic and sales.
Image alt text: Search engine optimization example
A recent study revealed that less than half a per cent of searchers go to the second page of search results.
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the process of improving your website so that users and search engines see it as the best result for your target keywords.
It's one of the most effective digital marketing for small business tactics.
There are lots of factors that Google takes into account when deciding where a page should rank on the search engine results page (SERP).
But it really comes down to one thing.
Google wants to show users the best web page for their search query.
Let's say you were searching for a Mexican restaurant in Perth.
If the top result were an Italian restaurant in Sydney, it wouldn't be very helpful.
But it would be useful if Google showed a Mexican restaurant in your area with good reviews, easy-to-find contact information, and an intuitive website.
SEO is about making your website appear as the most relevant, authoritative, and easy to use.
It starts with keyword research to find out the terms your ideal customers use to find your products and services online.
You can then implement on-page and off-page SEO strategies to improve your ranking.
SEO is one of the most cost-effective ways to use digital marketing for small businesses. According to Databox, 70% of companies generate more sales with SEO than pay-per-click (PPC) advertising:
Image alt text: Online marketing strategies comparison
Check out our guide to SEO to learn how you can outrank your competitors in search results.
4. Use Paid Advertising To Get Faster Results
It can take time to realise the benefits of SEO. With paid advertising, you can start to drive traffic immediately.
You can use advertising platforms like Google Ads and Facebook Ads to make sure your business reaches the right people.
One of the key benefits of paid advertising is that you can narrow in on the people most likely to be interested in what you have to offer.
You can bid on the keywords you know potential customers use to find businesses like yours.
Image alt text: Paid search PPC marketing example
This allows you to get your offer in front of the right people at the precise moment they are searching for a product, service, or solution.
You can also use precise targeting capabilities to narrow in on specific audience segments, including demographics, interests, and more.
For example, Facebook Ads allows you to target users based on lifestyle triggers.
If you sell baby and parenting products, you could use Facebook's granular targeting options to make sure your ads are displayed to new parents.
Image alt text: PPC social media marketing campaign example
You can also use pay-per-click (PPC) advertising to retarget people who have already engaged with your business.
Retargeting enables you to show your ads to users that have already purchased from your store, visited your website, or engaged with your business.
This can be an effective way to recapture lost sales, increase customer retention, and stay top of mind.
5. Use Content Marketing To Connect With Customers
Content marketing is focused on consistently creating and distributing relevant and valuable content around your business offerings.
It encompasses various formats, including blog posts, podcasts, social media content, video content, quizzes, white papers, demos, guides, reports and more.
The goal is to attract new users who will become customers. It can also be an effective way to retain existing customers.
A company blog is a great way to demonstrate your expertise, build trust, and attract potential customers to your website.
Here at Perth Web Design, we publish lots of blog posts and articles on digital marketing and web design:
Image alt text: Content marketing blog post example
Your content should be SEO-optimised to increase the chances of it being found.
Keyword research can help determine which topics your customers want to know more about.
Image alt text: Digital marketing for small businesses tool
Then, you can create content around the topic that helps them understand the problem and highlights your product as a solution.
Content marketing provides value to prospective customers. You can increase brand awareness and nudge leads down your sales funnel.
Publishing content on your website is one of the most effective ways to use digital marketing for small businesses.
But you can also get your content published on influential third-party blogs and publications.
This is a super-effective way to build quality backlinks and improve your off-page SEO.
Like the example below, you can also add the logos of the publications you have featured on your website.
Image alt text: Guest post link building example
When users see you have been featured in a publication they know and trust, it lends credibility to your business.
6. Prioritise the Social Media Platforms Your Customers Use
Nearly 80% of Australians are active social media users. On average, we spend 1 hour 46 minutes per day on social media platforms.
Social media can be a great place to promote your business, engage potential customers, and drive traffic to your website.
Facebook is one of the most popular social media networks in Australia. But that doesn't mean you should dedicate all your digital marketing efforts to the platform.
Over the last five years, younger demographics have switched to other platforms.
Image alt text: Social media platform usage by age group
You need to choose the right platforms before investing time and budget into social media.
If your target audience is Baby Boomers, it doesn't make sense to grow your social media presence on Snapchat.
Once you've narrowed in on the right platforms, you can build your presence through organic posts and paid promotion.
Image alt text: Social media strategy visual content
It's important to remember the "social" aspect of social media marketing.
Posting valuable and entertaining content can help you grow your following and reach.
People are less likely to engage if you try to push products in all your social media posts. Nearly 25% of Australian social media users have unfollowed a brand in the last 12 months because it posted too many ads.
7. Convert and Retain Customers With Email Marketing
Email digital marketing for small businesses is still super-effective.
According to Campaign Monitor, the average open rate and click-through rate for marketing emails in Australia are higher than in any other region.
Image alt text: Email marketing statistics in Australia
You can use email marketing to distribute your content and nudge prospects through your marketing funnel.
It's also a great way to stay top of mind and encourage repeat purchases from your existing customer base.
In a recent survey, nearly 60% of people said that marketing emails influenced their purchasing decisions. Over 50% also stated that they purchase products or services from marketing emails at least once per month.
Image alt text: Email marketing impact on purchasing
Before you can send out marketing emails, you need an email list.
Collecting contact information as part of the checkout process is the easiest way to grow your email list.
But to get potential customers to opt-in to your email list, you'll need a lead magnet.
Lead magnets are free digital products or services that you give away in exchange for contact details. A lead magnet can be a free sample, white paper, subscription, newsletter or a free trial or consultation.
They're a great way to create sales leads and convert browsers to buyers.
Keep in mind that some lead magnets take time and money to create. These include white papers, guides and webinars.
Freebies, consultations and access to private groups or your newsletter, on the other hand, are quick to create and can be just as effective.
Once you have a substantial email list, you can segment your list according to their interests, buyer lifecycle, and other data points. This helps you keep your email marketing messaging super relevant and personalised.
8. Make Digital Customer Service a Priority
Customer service is an integral part of digital marketing for small businesses.
Most customers expect to be able to contact your businesses across online and offline channels. In fact, 64% of people would rather message than call a company.
On social media, users expect fast responses when they reach out to a business. A recent survey revealed that 46% of people expect a response immediately or within an hour of sending a question or complaint:
Expected response times for social media questions or complaints:
Image alt text: Customer service expectations on social channels
Responding promptly helps people get the information they need to make a purchasing decision. You'll miss out on sales if you're late to reply.
The fundamentals of your marketing strategy should be making your small business easy to find and easy to contact.
You can improve customer service on your website by making sure your contact information is easy to find.
Chatbots are an excellent way to handle common customer questions and direct users to the information they are looking for.
Image alt text: Business page chatbot example
The chatbot can connect the visitor to a live customer service representative if a question is too complex.
9. Take Your Small Business Global
A staggering 4.66 billion people in the world are internet users.
With courier and distribution services amping up across the globe, cross-border commerce is easier and more affordable than ever.
As of 2022, cross-border ecommerce is estimated to account for 22% of total global ecommerce sales:
Image alt text: Cross-border ecommerce statistics
If you can sell your products internationally, there's no reason not to tap into new markets.
Before investing heavily in a new market, it's important to test the waters. You can judge customer demand by selling on international marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, and Wish.
When you're ready to go all in, you can implement international SEO to make your website accessible and help your new audience find you faster.
10. Measure and Optimise Your Campaigns
When you pay for a radio or print ad, it's hard to measure the impact it has on your business.
With digital marketing, you can see precisely what works and what needs improvement. It's even possible to adjust your strategy in real-time.
Many digital platforms and content management systems have built-in analytics features. You can also integrate Google Search Console and Google Analytics.
Image alt text: Google search console digital marketing
These tools provide holistic insight into all aspects of your campaign performance. You can see results as they happen and tweak your content or marketing efforts on the go.
This allows you to keep learning and testing to make incremental improvements. Your marketing strategy generates more leads and sales, and you achieve better ROI.
You can also spy on your competitors.
Image alt text: Free tools for competitor analysis
Competitor analysis tools can reveal your competitor's SEO performance, backlink profile, and more.
This is a great way to identify keyword opportunities, untapped audiences, and ways to differentiate your brand.
How Digital Marketing for Small Businesses Can Help You Grow in 2022
Growing a business doesn't happen overnight. But with these digital marketing tips, you can build your online presence and scale your small business.
Don't be afraid to try new strategies, and make sure you measure everything to know what works and what to improve.
If you need some help creating an online marketing strategy for your business, contact our expert Perth digital agency team.
We help businesses like yours get found online and grow their customer base on digital channels. Get in touch for a free consultation today.
Digital Marketing for Small Businesses FAQs
How Much Does Digital Marketing Cost?
The cost of digital marketing can vary according to the channels and tactics you use. It also depends on your unique business circumstances. For example, if you're launching a new product, you can expect to spend more to create buzz and quickly reach as many people as possible. Generally, small businesses allocate around 10% of their revenue to marketing.
How Do I Get Started With Digital Marketing for My Small Business?
Every successful marketing strategy is built on a deep understanding of the target audience. Before you invest in any marketing channels, you should create buyer personas. These are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers.
When you know your ideal customer, you can determine the best channels, content, and messaging to reach them. This helps you cut through the noise and target the people most likely to buy from you.
You can also enlist digital marketing agencies like PWD to help devise and implement a strategy.
How Often Should I Update My Website?
Keeping your website updated is an important part of digital marketing for small businesses. You need to make sure your web copy is up to date and that your customers can find out about your latest products and services. Regularly publishing fresh content also enhances your SEO performance.
Which Social Media Channels Should I Use?
The right social media marketing channels will depend on where your potential customers spend their time online. For example, LinkedIn is the best place to reach decision-makers if you sell to businesses. On the other hand, Instagram is one of the best platforms to reach Millennial consumers.
Once you have determined the best channel, the next step is to research which types of content generate the most engagement and plan your social media strategy.
How Long Does It Take To See Results?
You can get faster results from your digital marketing campaigns through paid media and PPC advertising. But you will need to pay for every click or impression. Once you stop paying for ads, the traffic dries up.
SEO and email marketing can take longer to achieve results. These organic strategies involve growing your own audience. However, these digital marketing techniques can deliver sustainable website traffic and conversions for a more extended period.