Grow your business with digital marketing

Digital marketing is now a mainstay for small businesses of all types across the country. As the world continues to move online, having a well-planned digital presence can make a huge difference in attracting and retaining more customers. To help you get the most from your digital efforts, we’ve put together our top tips for digital marketing.

Get the basics right before spending money on advertising

Before you start running campaigns on Google or social media, there’s some housekeeping you need to do first. These steps will help you look more professional, improving the success of your campaigns when you do start paid activity.

Update your website

There’s no point driving lots of people to your website if it puts people off as soon as they arrive. There are lots of free website creation tools that can help you get a modern looking site. Some of the biggest companies in the world still use these tools (Sony, MTV and Disney to name a few) so don’t think they’re just for bloggers in their bedrooms.

When creating your site, make sure you fill out the information page properly. This will help your company appear in the results if someone searches for your company online. If you have a site already, try googling your business and see what info comes up.

The tool should also let you fill out your metadata. This is a fancy name for the sentence or two that appears on Google describing your website. It also appears if someone shares a link to your site on social media. It can be different for every page on your site, so make sure you complete it for each.

Is your homepage selling your business?

75% of people will judge the credibility of your business based on your website’s design. There’s bunch of design tips you can use to make it look fresh and user-friendly. Here are a few of the key points:

Think about the user

Don’t clutter the page, have a clear message to focus on. When a new user lands on your website, you need to be able to answer these questions: Who you are, what you do, and what they can do next. You only have about 6 seconds to do so, therefore your homepage needs to be snappy and clear.

Headline and subheading

Give a summary of your value proposition in a line or two. What does your business do and why should they choose you? For example “40 years of healthcare from trusted, local professionals” or “International delivery for valuable items – guaranteed service or your money back.”

Often companies include additional points as bullet points or tick marks. These can either show the services you offer or key features of the service. This can be useful to show the user they’re in the right place for what they’re looking for, but remember keep it to the essentials so the page doesn’t get cluttered.

Have a clear call to action

Now users know what you do, you need to tell them what to do next. This could be to call for a quote, click to your online shop, or fill out an online form. The language you use here can make a huge difference to the number of responses. Try to give something of value in exchange for their action, for example:

Instead of “Contact us” you could have “Call our team now for a free, no obligation quote”.

Instead of “Fill out our form” it could be “Fill out our form and we’ll give you a call back within an hour”.

Try to direct them to one course of action and make it super clear. Fewer options means less confusion and better conversion.

Think about mobile

Make sure your website looks good and works on mobile. In the last 10 years, internet use on mobile phones has risen from 1% to 52%, and is only set to continue rising. If you’re using one of the tools mentioned above, it should adjust for mobile users automatically. Make sure you check and test though, or you could be missing out on a big slice of potential business.

Set up Google Analytics

One of the big advantages of digital marketing is the ability to track and measure the success of your campaigns. You can test different styles, track ROI and put money behind what works.

Google Analytics is a free tool that will help you do just that. It’s simple to apply to your web pages and will help you track where users come from (Facebook, Google, email campaigns etc), which pages they visit, how long they spend on your site and much more.

Want to know if your Facebook campaign drives more sales than your email campaign? You can track users from each and see which convert better. You don’t have to be an expert either, there are tutorials and guides for every step to make it accessible to all.

Set up Google My Business

Google My Business is another free tool for businesses to manage their online presence across Google in one place, including Search, Maps and Google+. By having your profile set up, when someone searches for your business it will display your business information. Make sure it has the correct opening hours and contact details.

Businesses that verify their information with Google My Business are twice as likely to be considered reputable by potential customers, and with over 1 billion searches on Google every day, there’s a lot of them out there.

Use paid search to gain more customers

50% of people don’t realise that there are adverts on Google. If you’re one of them, search for something like “Accountants in Bristol” and you’ll see that the first few results have ‘Ad’ next to them. These are all paid adverts and, should you wish, you can have ads like them too.

This type of advertising is called Paid Search, or Search Engine Marketing (SEM). If you’re short on time the main tool to use is Google Ads, but don’t forget about Bing Ads too (7% of searches in the UK are run on Bing).

Once set up, you can create ads that appear when people search for certain keywords. You’ll pay for every time a user clicks on your ad, known as Pay Per Click (PPC). Good keywords to start with are either your company name, or your business or product type and location eg “Shoe repair in Tamworth”.

If other companies are using the same keywords for their ads, this will drive up the price. Put daily spend caps on your campaigns so you stay within budget. Start with exact match keywords on the search network only (not the display network). Once you’ve tested the waters you can start try expanding.

How to make your ads

Just like your homepage, you need to get across the critical information as quickly as possible. Try to have something eye-catching in the headline, like your main selling point. Then include your other features or selling points below.

Remember you need to include a clear call to action like “Get a free quote now”. Do a few searches to see what others do so you get a feel for it. It’s also best practice to start each word with a capital letter to make it easier to read.

You’ll then have options for targeting. Think about your customer base, how can you target them using things like location, age or time of day? The better your targeting, the more efficiently you can spend your budget.

Reach new customers with Facebook ads

Facebook is another key weapon in the digital marketing mix. Read how to get started on Facebook advertising to learn all the basics for your first campaigns.

If you want funding to grow your business with digital marketing, check your eligibility for finance in 30 seconds at fundingcircle.com.