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The Impact of Digital Marketing on Small Business Growth

The Impact of Digital Marketing on Small Business Growth

Say you just opened your private law practice. And you’re a staff of one.

Sure, business has been pretty good – you’ve got a few high-ticket clients and a slow-but-steady stream of clients.

Or maybe you operate a small florist shop. You initially had to lay off several people during the pandemic. Still, you’ve brought some of those employees back since then, and business has been slowly but surely creeping back up to pre-pandemic financial levels.

In both cases, the business owner is on thin ice.

What if the lawyer loses one (or, gulp, both) big client? As for the florist, what if a shipment gets lost or damaged?

The fact is, owning and operating a small- to mid-size business is challenging, even in the best of financial times. But if you want to stay competitive and continue to grow your business but don’t have the marketing budget of your much-bigger competition, then you need to utilize the power of digital marketing.

Digital marketing levels the playing field for small to mid-size businesses. By leveraging tools such as search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, and effective content creation, small business owners can gain more online visibility, attract more customers, and, ultimately, grow their businesses.

It’s a marathon, not a sprint!

First, an important point: You should consider digital marketing a marathon, not a sprint.

In other words, there’s no miracle, “Hail Mary” digital marketing tactic that will boost you atop the search rankings within a few weeks (or even months). \

It takes time to see the fruits of your labor, and it requires consistency: You consistently post content relevant to your target audience; you consistently post to your social media platforms; you maintain a consistent message in your voice and branding efforts; and you consistently beta test and analyze your efforts to weed out what’s not working.

Stunning digital marketing stats

Still on the fence?

Let some of these statistics about the impact digital marketing has on small businesses do the talking:

  • 98: Percent of consumers who said they used the internet to find info about local businesses in 2022
  • 87: Percent of consumers who said they used Google to evaluate local businesses in 2022; the same percent of customers said they read online reviews for local businesses
  • 85: Percent increase in click-through rate for mobile results compared to desktop results
  • 76: Percent of consumers who say they “regularly” read online reviews when browsing for local businesses.

The fact is consumers get their information about the products and services they buy from businesses that are online. That said, having a static website isn’t enough to make waves if you want to improve your search rankings and increase your online visibility.

Digital Marketing 101: Some basic tips

Of course, increasing and/or improving your online presence is easier said than done. Is your “marketing budget” really just whatever funds you have left over? Is your marketing “team” just you?

That’s OK, you don’t need a six-figure budget or extensive knowledge to make a difference. Here are a few basic tips and techniques that should give your brand a boost over time:

  • Regularly blog: This helps establish you as an authority in your industry. And, over time, those posts add up – to the point that you’ll start seeing your homepage rank higher over time. Look at it this way: A single blog for your business likely doesn’t do much for your site’s rankings. Still, if you publish a relevant blog to your company’s website at least once per week for several years – and with careful use of relevant keywords (see below) – you’ll see your site slowly but surely move up the search rankings.
  • Keywords: Not sure what keywords you should be using? Here’s a simple way around that: Think about what your target audience is typing into a search engine like Google or Bing to find out about your industry, product or service. Local searches are particularly useful (example: dentist near me or dentist near Des Moines or local keywords). A word of warning, though: Using keywords too many times can be considered “keyword stuffing,” whether it’s in a blog post or your website content – and your site could be penalized for that. You need to strike a balance for how often you use keywords and make sure they fit in naturally.
  • Indexing: This falls under the “tips and tricks” category because of the role blogging and keywords have on your site’s online visibility. Indexing is the process by which search engines like Google or Bing crawl and store web pages on their services. When a search engine bot crawls a webpage, it then analyzes the page’s content, keywords, hyperlinks and other elements to determine what that page is about. The info is then stored in the search engine’s “index,” a massive database that stores information about billions of web pages. So, when someone searches for something online, the search engine uses its index to deliver the most relevant pages to the user. This is particularly relevant for small businesses, as indexing means their site can be found by potential customers searching for relevant keywords. This increases the site’s visibility and potential for generating leads and sales.
  • Be “social” on social media, not “salesy”: Social media is important, too, but it won’t help much if all or most of your content screams, “Buy me, please!” That can turn off your audience and hurt your credibility. Instead, create valuable, shareable content that provides information, solves problems, or entertains your followers. Engage with your audience by responding to comments and messages, and use social media to build relationships with customers and community members. And remember to use it as a way to promote your latest blog content! One last tip regarding social media: Know your audience – and what social platforms they’re most likely to use. A bankruptcy attorney might not get much traction on TikTok, just like the candy shop likely won’t fare as well on LinkedIn.

Digital marketing trends

Blogging, utilizing appropriate keywords and properly leveraging social media are the basics – things anyone can do with a bit of time and effort. It’s also the same tactics digital marketing services in Fort Myers, FL would use, only they would do so on a more advanced level with a strategic plan tailored to your business needs.

Here are a few other tools you can add to your digital marketing toolbox:

  • ChatGPT: Don’t use it to blog, as the content isn’t great (yet) and Google could penalize you if it thinks the content is spam. However, ChatGPT can help you with keyword analysis, come up with blog titles, help write product descriptions and even help write emails for another digital marketing tool, email marketing. It’s also being used to help produce short-form content (SMS marketing and social media).
  • Google My Business: When you search for a local business online, the first page includes three businesses at the top and a map to the right. If you click the “More businesses” link, you’ll see an even bigger list of those companies. Those are all businesses that use Google My Business, a free service.
  • The awesome power of influencers: This is the one surefire way to supercharge your online visibility. If you can find someone in your industry or niche with a strong/large social media presence to tout our products or services – whether it’s a like, comment, retweet or even a paid-post – then you should see a spike in page views (and, hopefully, sales).
  • Video: If you have a cell phone and a laptop, you can create videos – and, frankly, that’s how many consumers prefer to get their content, especially younger consumers.
  • BONUS TIP – Quora: This one has gained traction in recent years, but it also comes with a warning. Quora is a question-and-answer social media platform. You can ask questions or answer them, and – here’s the best part – you can include your company’s website in your question or answer. However, that answer must be helpful and relevant, as overtly promoting your business or spamming links in your answers will likely result in your account being flagged or banned. At the very least, your responses or questions could be removed. That said, as long as your questions or answers provide something of value, then this is a great way to reach a larger audience. Then make sure you include links back to your home page in your profile, as some people may visit your profile page if you answer or ask enough questions or give great answers.

The bottom line? Your small business needs digital marketing

Again, simply having a static website isn’t doing anything for your business. It’s like buying a sports car but never leaving the garage.

But if you can consistently stick to a few digital marketing tactics, you should expect to eventually see a bump in traffic, which in theory, should also lead to an increase in sales and/or clients. And, when in doubt, connect with a digital marketing partner who can take care of all this – and more. Discuss your online goals and budget to see if you can find a digital marketing agency in Fort Myers, FL, that’s right for your particular needs.