Digital marketing is becoming increasingly prominent—especially now, with COVID-19 driving more people online instead of frequenting brick and mortar establishments. Knowing how to effectively reach your target audience through digital marketing techniques will help you achieve success not just during the pandemic, but afterward, as well.
The shift to digital marketing has been taking place for some time. For business leaders who invest in digital marketing tools, 56% attribute at least half their earnings to online sales. It’s tempting to cut back on spending during these uncertain times, but doing so could cost you a valuable opportunity. If you want to keep up with industry leaders, you should consider doing the opposite and boosting your spending. Surveys show that 40-59% of large national brands plan on increasing their digital ad spending. Not good news for small businesses, many of whom are reluctant to add costs to their budgets.
Here’s a little tip: you don’t need to spend a large chunk of money on digital advertising, and instead of hiring a creative agency, much of the work can be done in-house. Here are some simple but effective ways to strengthen your digital presence without breaking the bank.
- Update your Google My Business listing. Setting up a listing is important, but many businesses don’t do a good job of updating it. Any time you make changes to your business—be it new operating hours, a change of address, updated phone numbers or website, etc.—update your listing immediately. This one costs nothing but ensures your customers will still be able to find you easily.
- Improve your social media presence. Nowadays, most companies understand the importance of social media—but many don’t utilize it effectively. The number one step you should take is to make sure you’re utilizing the correct platform for your business. Instagram is great for a restaurant with showy dishes, but LinkedIn won’t do them much good. As with your Google My Business listing, be sure to make updates to your social media accounts as they occur.
- Respond to reviews. Reviews play a vital role in small businesses, providing one of the best ways to grow clients (and, on the flip side, having the potential to seriously hurt business when they are consistently poor). You should never ignore reviews—even bad ones—but make sure you respond properly. In the case of a positive review, this means responding right away to show your appreciation. When a review is negative, take a little time to formulate a response rather than acting on emotions. Wait 24-48 hours and then apologize for the poor experience without laying blame. If you feel amends can be made, by all means do so.
And whatever you do, do not incentivize positive reviews. That may seem like an easy way to generate a large swath of positive feedback, but you’ll find that platforms like Yelp, Google and Facebook penalize accounts that are reported for incentivizing reviews.
Digital marketing continues to grow in popularity. With many small businesses struggling during COVID, it may be tempting to cut back on your budget and focus your efforts elsewhere. Instead, try these simple yet effective strategies for boosting your digital presence and increasing online sales.