7 Key Steps to Effective Digital Marketing for Your Small Business

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You’ve got a great product or service idea. You’ve researched the competition, defined your target market, run the numbers, acquired the needed resources and you’re fully committed. You know you’ve got a winning concept. Now, “all” you need to do is build and implement your digital marketing plan.
But suddenly, you’re stuck. You’re an Entrepreneur, not a Marketer. You don’t want to come across like the stereotypical used car sales person. You don’t want to bother people. You’re uncomfortable with the idea of blowing your own horn. You’re not tech savvy. It’s all very scary!
We know how you feel; we’ve been there. So here are seven specific steps to help you build, implement and maintain a digital marketing plan which will reach the right people at the right times in the right ways.
1. Put your customers first
Don’t just tell your customers how great your product or service is. Explain what’s in it for them. What pain points do they have that you can solve? What are they afraid of? What don’t they know that can hurt them? How will their life be better after engaging with you? Sell the benefits, not the features.
2. Determine and articulate your company’s personality
As an individual, you have your own unique personality. In order to be authentic, your company’s image, values and interactions must match yours. Try a quick exercise: Picture your small business as if it was a live person who is the embodiment of you. What are her character traits? Is she loud or quiet? Does she move impulsively or thoughtfully? Why do people like to hang out with her? Does she like to help others? Write down her top five to seven traits.
Once you have a clear definition of your company’s personality, create compatible, compelling marketing messages and materials. They will be true to you and they will attract the customers who you want to work with.
3. Identify and communicate your unique core value proposition
Let’s face it — we all operate in a crowded marketplace. Lots of other companies have products and services which appear at first glance to be comparable to yours. How will you stand out from the crowd?
A great way to get started is to perform a SWOT Analysis on your product/service or company. Once you’ve identified your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats, you’ll have a good idea how to communicate to your customers that you are in the best position to meet their needs.
4. Create a web site with purpose
What is the one key thing you want it to do? Do you want to sell from it? Do you want people to book an appointment? Do you want them to give you their email address? Do you want them to call you? Decide your overall goal and keep that in mind as you design each page.
Every page should include an action button which serves the purpose you’ve defined. Your website cannot just provide product information; it must drive action.
5. Increase your odds of being found online
Be sure to “claim” your Google listing by verifying it on Google Maps. Make sure your listing is accurate. Include some photos which reflect you and your business.
Put common search terms into your web pages. A great way to accomplish this is by including the most common search questions for your type of business on your FAQ page.
Then go to the library and use one of their computers to see your search ranking as others see it. (If you use your own computer, tablet or phone your ranking will probably appear to be much higher than it actually is.)
If you’re not on the first two pages of search results, consider paying a local professional to help you with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SEM (Search Engine Management).
Everything you do online should link back to your web site.
6. Continue connecting with your most valuable customers through email
Your subject line should be forty to fifty characters and include an offer which is valuable to the recipient. A good industry average open rate is thirty percent. Even if customers don’t open your emails every time, they will be reminded about your business.
Be sure to include an unsubscribe option, as required by law.
7. Utilize the right social media platforms
Not sure which social media channels to focus on? In general, if you’re selling to consumers, Facebook should be a key platform. (Just be sure to set up a Business Page — don’t try to use your personal profile.) If you are selling to other businesses, make LinkedIn a key part of your strategy. After that, look at what your customers use. You may hate Twitter, but if that’s where your customers live, you’re going to have to use it. Track the general effectiveness of each platform by using a different call to action on each one. You’ll soon figure out what’s working.
Start with one platform. Use their tutorial and instructional videos to learn how to build an effective profile. Post at least three times per week. Be patient. After thirty to sixty days, take everything you’ve learned and build the next platform. Repeat and enjoy the results.
Get free help for your business by visiting our Central Oregon SCORE chapter to connect with a local certified SCORE mentor.
Ed Weiser is a volunteer mentor with the Central Oregon chapter of SCORE. His other volunteer passions include Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue, Discover Your Forest interpretive programs and Bucket List facilitation.
edw@centraloregonscore.org
centraloregonscore.org

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Ed Weiser of SCORE Central Oregon

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