5 Ways to Use Digital Marketing to Grow Your Small Business

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By Travelers
7 minutes
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Learning how to use digital marketing for your small business is a must today. Compared to traditional forms of marketing, such as radio, TV or print ads, digital marketing can cost less and be more efficient to plan, execute and update. Plus, you can track how effective your tactics are and measure what types of marketing messages resonate with your target audiences.

Here are five ways to grow your business online:

1. Choose the Most Relevant Social Media Platforms to Reach Your Prospects

Social media presents a huge marketing opportunity for your business, because it’s where your customers likely spend much of their time. Seventy-nine percent of people in the United States have a social networking profile, and many visit their accounts daily.1 Using social media allows you to connect directly with your target audience to spread the word about your business, drive traffic to your website and ultimately increase leads and sales.

The ever-increasing number of social platforms today can feel overwhelming when you’re first starting out. To keep your efforts manageable, focus on one or two platforms, depending on where your audience is likely to be. For example, if you have a business-to-business (B2B) company, a professional networking site such as LinkedIn® or online forums related to your specific industry might make the most sense. And when it comes to content, post regularly and include relevant photos and videos, actionable tips, quotes and fun facts related to your business that your viewers will value and share.

2. Create an Email Marketing Strategy

Email marketing has long been a tried-and-true, cost-effective way to build and nurture relationships with your customers, with 64% of small businesses using this tactic to reach customers these days.2 Here are three keys to email marketing success:

  • Personalize Messages. Whenever possible, add a personal note or include a customer’s name or their business’s name in the email. Adding personalized product recommendations to marketing emails can increase sales conversion rates by 25% to 35%.3
  • Focus on Mobile. Another reason interest in email marketing has increased is that consumers now access their emails on the go using their smartphones. With that in mind, be sure your emails are designed to display well on mobile phones, as this helps entice recipients to open your messages.
  • Create a Compelling Message. Keep the content short and direct so your prospects immediately understand your key message and include a specific call to action that compels them to take the next step.

There are many email marketing apps on the market today that make it easy to manage every aspect of an email campaign, from design and mailing, to tracking performance and managing subscriber data. Some even offer plans free of charge, which is a great way to get started using the basic functionality.

3. Optimize Your Website to Rank in Search Engines

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of improving your website to help get your webpages listed near the top of search results pages. This helps increase the number of visitors to your site, which improves the visibility of your business to relevant audiences. The primary means of boosting SEO is to deliver quality content that contains the top keywords your target audience uses to search for information on the products and/or services businesses like yours offer. And if the great content you created attracts other high-traffic, reputable websites may want to link to it (this is known as gaining “backlinks”) that can help your site’s page rankings improve even more.

One key to SEO is to talk about your products and services the way your customers do, using phrases that they are likely to type into a search engine. For example, instead of “flotation device” think “life jacket.”

4. Test and Learn with Online Advertising

With paid online ads, you can reach a large, targeted audience for a fraction of the cost of ads placed in traditional media. Options include pay-per-click ads that appear in search results and display ads that appear on website banners and other strategic internet locations. You can also place low-cost targeted ads on various social media platforms. Test and learn with different headlines, calls to action and keywords to see what drives the best results.

Online business directories and listings such as Yelp℠ and Google Business Profile are other forms of online advertising for your business. They generally have high visibility with online viewers and they’re free, so it’s probably worth your time to claim your listings and review and update your business information. Be sure to include a link to your website so viewers can learn more about your company. Any links to your content from other sites may also benefit your site’s SEO.

5. Encourage Customer Reviews

Online reviews are a powerful form of word-of-mouth advertising and are an important component of every small business marketing plan. Consider these steps to help you use online reviews to your best advantage:

  • Encourage satisfied customers to share their positive experience, whether on social media, through online business directories, a poll or survey on your website, or other online review platforms you choose for your business.
  • Check your reviews regularly and respond to all comments quickly. This lets your customers know that they’ve been heard and that you care.
  • Just as much as word-of-mouth advertising can help your business, it can also hinder it –depending on what the reviewer has to say. If you receive a negative review, respond in a polite, professional manner, and publicly ask the customer to contact you offline. If you’re able to resolve the issue, post a follow-up comment briefly describing the outcome. Your efforts will help protect your reputation, retain existing customers and reassure potential ones.

A well-thought-out and carefully executed digital marketing plan can help put your business growth on track, but it also has risks. For example, a competitor could sue you claiming you used their slogan in your digital advertisement, or that an ad or piece of content you published disparaged their product or service. So be careful when you post content online. Be sure your content is original and cites reputable sources, and refrain from commenting on competitors. Smart business owners reduce their risks by having General Liability insurance. Among other risks, it can help protect your business against the costs of claims against libel or disparagement, or infringement of copyright, title or slogan in your advertisement, because you can still be sued even when you’ve done nothing wrong.

Find an insurance agent today to make sure you have the protection your business needs.

Be a Tech-Savvy Small Business Owner

Being tech-savvy means having a particular skill in an activity that is conducted using technology of some form. Whether it is learning how to review analytics about your business or building a business website, as a small business owner you can learn to be more tech-savvy regardless of your level of technical expertise. These may be obvious suggestions, but here are some winners when it comes to finding ways to boost your technology skills:

  1. Books. Professional technical books are available in a variety of formats, from downloadable audiobooks to e-books or print versions you can find online and in bookstores. Try doing an internet search for the best-selling small business books, making sure they have a section on technology skills. Look for popular titles that offer actionable and relevant insights you can apply to your small business.
  2. How-To Videos. Nowadays, it’s easy to find videos that offer quick training guidance and tips on most topics. Tech-savvy skills are no exception to the endless list of online training videos available to view. You can find them on popular social media sites that host videos, such as YouTube. Simply do an internet search using the key words describing the tech skill you seek to learn more about and include the words “how to” in your query.
  3. Tech Media Sources. A variety of tech insights and information is literally available at your fingertips online. Identify your go-to tech-related media outlets to learn from; then follow them to keep up to date on evolving skills you can adopt.
  4. Practice! Learning a new skill takes time. Be diligent in practicing the tech skills you need, so you can master them and put them to use growing your small business.

Travelers offers some great online resources to help small businesses advance in their industry. Start by learning how to protect the things that are most important to your business. Learn more about small business insurance.


1 https://www.statista.com/statistics/273476/percentage-of-us-population-with-a-social-network-profile

2 https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/email-marketing-stats

3 https://www.salesforce.com/resources/articles/email-marketing-guide

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