Approximately two out of three small businesses use digital marketing.
Yet this report shows that only 22% of them are happy with the results they get.
These statistics suggest that most business owners understand the value of digital marketing. They also tell us that many of them are struggling to use it.
To them, it may feel a lot like getting behind the wheel of a Porsche and staying stuck in first gear.
Of course, you could hire a digital marketing agency, but that comes with its own set of challenges. Business owners aren’t sure how to hire the right agency or hold them accountable. Most end up disappointed.
After a few bad experiences, they decide to manage the marketing themselves. Others continue to rely on networking and referrals.
Did you know only 1 in 5 businesses are happy with digital marketing?
In this article, you will learn how to make smarter decisions about digital marketing. Whether you choose to do it yourself or hire someone to help, this information is invaluable.
But first, let’s look at a few problems you must overcome if you want to be successful with digital marketing.
PROBLEM: Constant Algorithm Changes Make Digital Marketing More Difficult.
The digital realm is a complex, ever-changing environment. It always will be. This fact alone creates a massive challenge for the 21st century marketer.
Many digital platforms use an algorithm to deliver content for search inquiries. These platforms analyze data to determine what people are looking for online. The goal is to provide the best qualified content in search results.
These algorithms change all the time, sometimes daily. This makes it difficult for marketers to figure out exactly who will see their content or to what extent.
An advertisement that got a lot of responses yesterday may not work so well tomorrow. A blog post that ranked on the first page of search results may fall off the radar in a month. A website that attracted thousands of monthly visitors may have a sudden drop in traffic.
As one example, Google released a major update in May 2020. This made it even tougher for small businesses to market online.
Digital marketers must watch ad campaigns and websites for sudden changes. If this
happens because of an algorithm update, an adjustment to the campaign may be needed.
This much like trying to hit a moving target and requires a lot of time and effort.
PROBLEM: Each Digital Platform Is Unique. As a Result, Many People Misuse Them.
Digital marketers must understand how each platform functions. They must also know which one will be the most effective for what they want to do. What works well on one platform or channel will not always work on another.
Each channel caters to a different audience. For example, if you’re a photographer, you may have more success on Instagram or Facebook. But web designers for small businesses may find that LinkedIn is a better option.
Social media channels are the most common digital platforms, but there are others. Some examples are Google, Amazon, Trip Advisor, and Reddit. The number of platforms will continue to grow, which means you will have to work even harder to keep up.
PROBLEM: Most Business Owners Are Not Skilled Marketers.
In this article on in-house marketing, I wrote that most business owners don’t have time to become expert marketers.
But if you hope to build an online presence that gets results, you will need to be a skilled marketer. Otherwise, you will miss out on a lot of opportunities while wasting money on bad marketing.
In the rest of this article, you will learn how to overcome these challenges and use digital marketing tactics to grow your business.
SEO and Organic Traffic
There are millions of websites on the Internet. Getting ranked on Google can feel like an impossibility.
Small business owners want more leads online but don’t have enough traffic coming to their websites or social media profiles. You can’t generate leads or brand awareness without a significant number of visitors. (Also referred to as traffic).
But getting that traffic isn’t easy. Changing algorithms make it harder to connect with your target audience.
Search engine optimization (abbreviated SEO) is more complicated than it once was. Depending on your niche, it could take six to nine months or more to get organic traffic with SEO.
Many businesses hope to get traffic by having a website and making a one-time investment in SEO. But it’s going to take a lot more than that.
How to Manage SEO and Organic Search: Give It Time or Pay.
SEO is still important but you cannot over-expect. It takes time to build consistent traffic online. You must track SEO weekly or monthly. Correcting errors and improving your website’s performance is an ongoing process.
But let me guess. You need traffic fast, don’t you?
Well, don’t worry, there is a shortcut. For those who want to speed up the process and get traffic to your website now, you have the option to pay for it.
That’s right, you can pay digital platforms to place your website and social media pages in front of an audience. You can also target specific groups of people you want to reach. This increases your chances of finding prospects and leads.
If you do this, be sure to target people who are best qualified to become customers. You may want to consult with a professional. DIY marketers can start by going here.
Content marketing is designed to create awareness and interest in your brand. The end-result is to get leads and sales. The most popular forms of content are videos, blog posts, and infographics.
But did you know that more than 2,000,000 blog posts are published every day?
The odds that someone will find your content are fairly low. Besides, content must be good to convert visitors into paying customers.
So, creating content by itself isn’t enough. To do the job, it must be valuable content your viewers and readers actually want to consume.
How to Manage Content Marketing: Educate and Establish Authority.
A successful content marketing strategy cultivates new customers for your business. You should have material for people who have never heard of you before, those who know you well, and everyone in between. This will help generate more interest in your brand, products, and services.
Provide content for people who want to learn more about your products and services. For instance, a health coach could design content that explains which diets work best. They may also have content for people who have diabetes or high blood pressure. The possibilities are endless.
Another important aspect of content creation is keywording. Keywords in your content help search engines understand who it is for.
For example, content marketing is a keyword I have used in this section. Google will scan this article and detect that keyword. When people search for “content marketing”, this article may come up as one of the results.
The keywording process is a bit more complex than this, but this should give you an idea of how the process works.
Creating valuable content people will find interesting comes with experience. The more you do it, the better you will get.
Social Media Marketing
When it comes to social media marketing, the most common approach people take goes like this…
A computer-savvy person in the office posts a photo, quote, or random company event on social media.
A couple of people “like” the post.
On a good day, a dozen or two will like it. A few people comment on it.
So, the company will keep posting because at the very least, they are “getting their name out there.”
After all, isn’t that what branding is about?
No, it isn’t.
Random posting on social media isn’t consistently effective because there is no real plan in place for success (notice a trend yet?).
Most businesses don’t know how to use social media because they don’t know how to target visitors. Nor do they know how to retarget those who chose not to buy right away. They don’t know how to go after the right audiences to improve the quality of their prospects. And they don’t know how to track analytics or other data that can help them improve results.
If you don’t know how to do these things, I would urge you to learn more before you do any more social media marketing.
Before we move on, let’s answer another important question…
How Many People See My Posts on Social Media?
Many businesses use social media as their primary digital marketing tool. Unfortunately, it’s getting harder to reach your audience.
Did you know that only about 5.5% of your business page followers will see your posts on Facebook?
That means that for every 100 “likes” on your business page, only five or six of those people will see your posts. And it’s likely that less than half will read it or comment.
These numbers are similar for other social channels.
How to Manage Social Media Marketing: Be Intentional
Use social media to position yourself as a valuable resource. If you can help your audience with their problems, they will begin to see you as an authority on the subject. The best business-customer relationships are based on trust. Social media provides an avenue for building that trust.
It’s also important to know which channels to use to reach your prospects. Business-to-Business (B2B) products and services may have more success on LinkedIn. Business-to-Consumer (B2C) companies may fare better on Facebook or Instagram. The key is to find out which channels your audience uses and market to them on those channels.
Include a call to action, which asks the reader (for blogs) or viewer (for video) to take some type of “next step”. This could be to sign up for an email list, fill out a form to receive more information, or to buy something.
Give them a reason to keep engaging with your brand. Remember that “likes” alone don’t put money in your pocket.
For most businesses, paid ads are a hit or miss venture. This is usually because paid ads are a complex process. It is something that requires a great deal of know-how and a lot of trial and error.
Even experienced ad specialists don’t know what will prompt people to respond or to what degree. An exception to this could be an advertiser who has spent a lot of time working in a specific niche. But for most, success comes with a lot of testing.
It’s easy to throw money away on paid advertising. Ads can become a source of frustration after a few failed attempts.
How to Manage Advertising: Proceed with Caution.
This topic deserves an article of its own, but advertising success boils down to:
- Well-written copy or content that resonates with readers or viewers
- A well-defined target audience
- Ad design (structure, image, call-to-action, etc.)
- Realistic expectations—think of success as 1 in 10, not 1 in 2
- Testing, testing, and more testing
Everything I have discussed in this article are categorized as digital marketing tactics. But remember that strategy trumps tactics. Start with a well-planned brand marketing strategy before you spend one dollar.
To create a great strategy, use a forward-thinking approach. Simply determine what you want to do first, then figure out the best way to do it.
Now, take a moment to catch your breath.
This is a lot of information but it takes a lot to be successful with digital marketing.
Of course, there is no way I could cover everything here. If you have questions, email me personally at email@example.com.
The conversation with me is free. The mistakes you could be making with digital marketing aren’t!
Until next time,
P.S. Click HERE to schedule a FREE consultation with me BEFORE you spend one dime on digital marketing. Find out what will have the most impact on your business and avoid wasting money on the things that don’t!