Every small business now understands that having a presence online – through a dedicated website and relevant social media pages – is something the modern consumer has come to expect of the brands they deal with. And while easy access to free website building platforms and social networks has made this a lot easier in recent years, it’s also made it harder to stand out from the competition.
This applies not just to your potential customers, but through the signals you send to search engines that affect your ranking when someone searches for the product or service you provide – and that’s where digital marketing comes into play! Here we take a look at the basic aspects you should be focusing on if you want your brand to stand out online and get a real return on the time you spend promoting your offering in the digital world.
Make sure your website basics are right:
A lot of small business owners fall into the trap of wanting their website to look perfect before they get it live or upload new content. While your site definitely needs to be easy for humans to read and navigate, aesthetics doesn’t mean a huge deal to search engines. And a great-looking website doesn’t count for a lot when no-one gets to see it because search engines are ignoring it! Here are a few good boxes to tick off:
- Have your own domain name related to your industry or product
- Make sure your site is mobile-friendly
- Check your site loads quickly
- Have solid SEO basics in place
If you identify issues with any of the above, prioritize getting them right before you even think about embarking on an organic or paid search marketing campaign. There are thousands of useful resources out there to help you for free if your budget is tight and learning about SEO can be a very rewarding experience. Getting familiar with free tools like Google Search Console is the place to start. Here you’ll get insight into your current visitors, receive tailored suggestions on improving your site’s SEO performance, and find additional tools that will help you plan additional content.
If you’re short on time or find the technicalities a little taxing, getting a professional SEO company such as Ruby Digital on board is another option. You can be as involved in the process as you like, with the peace of mind that comes with knowing the experts are overseeing the technical details!
Create quality content
Once the basics are in place, creating useful, quality content that provides a rich source of information is the single best strategy in growing your website presence and attracting new visitors and potential customers. This is what’s called organic traffic – and while it requires some time and effort, it delivers long-lasting results and costs you nothing – which is great for small businesses that don’t have a big marketing budget.
While your main focus should be on creating content for your human visitors, you do want to take search engines into account. Every piece of content you add should have a specific focus around the keywords you want to rank for. Once you have a clear topic and direction in mind, write for humans. This way, you end up using your keywords naturally in a way that appeals to people and search engines. It also makes it more likely that you’ll include long tail keywords without even thinking about it!
Try to include as much detail as you can so your content answers a broad spectrum of potential queries related to the topic. You also want to try and put out new content regularly, so there’s a reason for people to keep coming back. It also sends signals to search engines that your site is active and therefore likely to contain up to date information.
Use social media as a customer service tool, not a promotional platform
Ten followers who actually engage with your brand and end up turning into paying customers because they’re genuinely interested in what you have to say are worth infinitely more than 10,000 followers who are nothing but numbers. Focus on the social networks that align with your business best, and make sure you keep a close eye on them. Increasingly, customers use social networks as a way to get in touch with brands and ask questions about their product or service – so make sure you’re getting back to them quickly and professionally. Use social media as a place to engage and encourage discussion rather than as a sales platform, and you’ll see meaningful results!