Practical Guide to Simple Digital Marketing for Local Businesses

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Practical Guide to Simple Digital Marketing for Local Businesses

Each business possesses unique marketing demands, however, there are certain fundamental tasks that can be applied across all digital marketing endeavors. This guide presents a basic framework for digital marketing that start-ups and established businesses alike can use when integrating digital marketing into their overall promotional strategy.

Three essential factors to take into account while developing a digital marketing approach are:

Your campaign components should be low-risk in nature. This implies a small price tag but a high probability of success. This could involve building a website, implementing an SEO or PPC campaign, and the like.

Your campaign components should be scalable, enabling them to grow with your business.

Digital Marketing for BeginnersIt should be easy to terminate any component of your campaign. This ensures that you are not trapped in a long-term contract for a solution that isn't delivering the desired results.

You should be able to track the components of your campaign, enabling you to determine your return on investment (ROI).

Your digital marketing plan must, therefore, be budget-friendly, flexible enough to expand with your venture, offer performance tracking options and be easy to exit if required. The effectiveness of your marketing plan is critical in ensuring your business's survival beyond the initial two years.

Low risk, high ROI digital marketing plan

A crucial starting point is developing a website. If you already have one, consider redesigning it to make it more mobile-friendly and resourceful while matching up to competitor sites aesthetically. When seeking designers, compare portfolios and pricing models across multiple providers. Remember that higher prices don't always guarantee superior websites. For simpler 20-page websites with minimal programming requirements, costs should be below $3,000. Your chosen design firm must be reliable as the success of your digital marketing plan heavily depends on a well-functioning website.

Upon securing a design firm, the next step is to find an SEO company. Many businesses wait to complete their web design before pursuing SEO services, which can prove detrimental. An SEO firm will ensure that your new website is search-engine-friendly, thereby avoiding unnecessary expenses of redesigning an already established website. Beware of web design companies claiming to be SEO experts unless they list SEO as their primary service.

Choosing an SEO company requires cautious consideration as majority of them may not deliver the promised results. It's important to scrutinize their work by talking with previous clients and reviewing search ranking examples. Look beyond sales pitches and insist on technical competence. This due diligence will pay off handsomely as mastering SEO is integral to any successful digital marketing strategy and offers potentially the highest overall ROI across all digital marketing components.

Next up is initiating a PPC Campaign, preferably via Google AdWords. While this can significantly boost your business, it can also drain resources if not properly managed, hence professional assistance is advisable. PPC campaigns generate immediate business and facilitate growth management.

SEO and PPC should form the backbone of your digital marketing strategy. If executed efficiently, these two components alone can ensure the success of your business.

Higher Risk Digital Marketing Tasks

Once you have mastered organic and paid search strategies, consider exploring other avenues like Social Media Marketing, ReTargeting, Display Advertising (banner ads), and Blogging. All these options offer potentially high returns when executed well.

Blogging/Content Marketing - Regular blog posts not only help expand your online presence but also establish you as an authority within your field by sharing high-quality content relevant to your audience. In-house content generation by business owners or employees often results in more engaging blog posts. If outsourcing, ensure the content provider can deliver value to your visitors.

Social Media - Despite the hype, not all businesses thrive on social media. It can be a powerful tool when used effectively under specific circumstances but won't work for everyone. However, it does provide a platform for customer interaction and helps build online reputation via satisfied client referrals. Consider either hiring a top-tier social media agency or managing social media in-house actively (minimum of two posts per month).

ReTargeting is effective for complex sales cycles and works best with large, well-established brands. For newer or smaller businesses, focus on PPC which guarantees higher ROI before considering ReTargeting to expand beyond what PPC can provide.

Display Advertising - Historically, banner ads have underperformed due to their CPM-based models making them expensive to maintain profitability. Unless you're a well-known brand, this is not the best place to start your digital marketing efforts. Instead, consider Google AdWords where you pay per click rather than impressions and ensure that your campaign is trackable with clear ROI for each display network.

The above tasks form the core components of any successful digital marketing strategy. While numerous other options exist, stick with these tried-and-tested methods before venturing into uncharted territory and gradually incorporate what works best for your business.

If you're yet to kick-start your digital marketing journey, SharpNet Solutions is available to assist!