5 Digital Marketing Tactics Small Businesses Should Be Using Now
Last Updated on September 15, 2023
The landscape of business is once again changing—and fast! Articles, ads, and sales pitches offering the latest and greatest AI tools are coming at you with the urgency of a storm front. But you don’t have to get swept away in the currents. Even groundbreaking new technologies are built on core principles.
To keep your digital foundation strong and secure, you need both strong roots and constant refinement in your marketing tactics. As an execution agency, we deliver both, without wasting time on overwrought brand strategy.
Here are the top five proven digital marketing tactics we recommend to small businesses to shore up their digital foundations and set them up for future growth.
- Clarify your messaging
- Update your website
- Invest in digital advertising
- Incorporate video
- Don’t overlook SEO
#1: Clarify your messaging to ignite the hero’s journey
Craft a clear and inviting message to resonate with your customers. To do this, make your customers the heroes who are conquering their challenges by choosing your product or service. Through the StoryBrand approach, we apply the elements of good stories to marketing. Humans are naturally drawn to stories where there’s something at stake and a hero to root for. (Especially when they are the hero!) You will win more leads when the story centers on the customer.
Practically speaking, this means the copy addresses the customer’s problems, how your product/service will solve their problems and help them succeed, and gives them a plan to get started. During the messaging process, we often uncover differentiators or new ways of thinking about the business that require significant shifts in design and copy for the website.
A key part of your brand story is honing in on your unique point of view. Why? Carving out your niche will help you stand out.
One of the best ways to stand out is to stand for something. We’ll use ourselves as an example. USDP has always been a digital agency (never print), suited to guiding nearly any type of company. For a long time, that distinction made sense. But as we’ve evolved, we realized our sweet spot is helping small companies, and that’s what separates us from agencies who charge a minimum pay-to-play of 100K or more. After careful thought, we now refer to ourselves as an execution agency that partners with small businesses. It’s an important distinction to us, because there are tons of terrific small businesses out there who need help to grow. What’s your sweet spot?
#2: Update Your Website
Because the website is the hub of your digital universe, whipping it into shape is top priority. A website redesign or refresh with USDP always begins by locking in new customer-centric messaging (see #1). Why? Because core messaging drives the types of content that should appear on the home page—and the way you talk to your customers. That means, at minimum, redesigning the home page, and at most, overhauling the website. The work can be done in phases, beginning with a streamlined home page.
How long has it been since you redesigned your website? Does it draw people in or turn them away? How is it contributing to leads or sales? Have you invested in SEO to attract people searching for your solutions? Has your target audience changed? If it’s been 3 years since you’ve changed your site, or you’re noticing dwindling conversions, a refresh should be on the table.
When working with our clients, we get to know their goals, audience, and business, and then craft a plan to update the site to deliver results and increase growth. As part of the plan, we’ll also consider your technology platform, security issues, user experience, and brand strategy.
#3: Invest in digital advertising to hit the gas on lead generation
Digital advertising covers many topics, but these are the digital marketing tactics we recommend for small businesses: paid search and programmatic advertising.
Paid search advertising allows you to kickstart lead generation efforts and attract potential customers, even before you’ve made any changes to your website. Paid search advertising, or pay-per-click (PPC), enables you to display targeted ads on search engine results pages, reaching potential customers who are searching for products or services similar to yours.
For small businesses with limited marketing budgets, paid search gives you control over your ad spend. You only pay when someone clicks on your ad, so your budget is used efficiently.
- Precisely target your desired audience based on specific keywords, geographic locations, time of day, and more
- Increase the chances of generating high-quality leads
- Track the performance of your ads in real-time, monitoring key metrics such as click-through rates (CTRs), conversion rates, and return on investment (ROI), so you can adjust campaigns
Programmatic advertising helps drive targeted traffic and is great for small businesses operating on smaller ad budgets. Programmatic advertising is an automated method of buying and selling digital ad space in real-time through sophisticated algorithms and data-driven technology.
Three major reasons to use programmatic ads:
- Enhanced targeting capabilities allow you to specify the interests, demographics, and online behaviors of ideal customers.
- You gain access to a vast network of publishers and ad exchanges—far beyond traditional advertising channels, Google, Facebook, or LinkedIn.
- Continuous monitoring and analyzing of ad performance in real-time (done by AI), lets you optimize campaigns to spend on what’s working.
#4: Try Video
Over 80% of people prefer videos to reading text. Unquestionably, video dominates. And the demand is only going to increase. And thankfully, video no longer requires a massive production budget. With a clear goal, a script to guide the video shoot, a talented videographer, and a reasonable budget, you’re set.
With video, you can rapidly convey information that connects with customers and elicits a more emotional response. (And even the most logical among us make decisions based on emotions.)
Depending on your goals, you could use video as a digital marketing tactic to explain how a process or product works, capture customers’ singing your praises, or give potential employees the vibe of your company culture. USDP offers a range of video production services. We can start small and measure the feedback and receptivity to determine how much you should be allocating to video marketing.
#5: Don’t overlook SEO
Think of SEO like oil changes in your car: essential maintenance to keep your marketing machine running at its peak.
Improve your search engine ranking by implementing SEO techniques. When you optimize your website for SEO, you stand to rank higher than competitors who haven’t prioritized it. That means people will see and click on your site more often. Have you been paying attention to keywords and rankings? See how your website ranks.
One way to improve rankings is to write SEO blog posts, focused on keywords your customers frequently use to search for your products or services. AI can be used to adapt existing content. Do you have presentations or outlines of ideas? Do you have a direction in mind? While AI is far from perfect, it can be used to fast forward a first draft, summarize long information, and expand on an outline. From there, you can edit to improve the content, rather than slogging it out. For small businesses, saving time on marketing is like drinking water—it’s essential. Then you’re free to focus on other high-value activities, like talking with customers, productizing your services, or creating new products.
SEO is a long-term strategy. While it may take time to see significant improvements in search rankings, the efforts tend to have a lasting impact. As your website gains authority, earns high-quality backlinks, and builds relevance, its organic visibility and traffic continue to improve over time. You can also optimize videos for SEO to get those ranking in search results, too.
Improving your digital marketing tactics is a journey. By clarifying your message, updating your website, investing in digital advertising to drive traffic and leads, trying out video, optimizing your site for SEO, you can energize your business and connect with your customers more deeply.