Digital Marketing Overview For Small Businesses

digital marketing

Image credit: Pixabay/905513


Digital marketing will stay as long as the internet is there.  Businesses will continue to use it to market their product and service.

But is it suitable and effective for small businesses?

The answer is a big YES.  Let us see why it is effective for small businesses.  But before doing so, we need to know what digital marketing is and what its components are.


What is digital marketing?

Digital marketing is the marketing of products and services using digital channels and techniques to reach target customers.


What are the components of digital marketing?

Digital channels

Digital channel is a medium for communication or passage of information intended for target customers using digital techniques.  It includes the following:

  • Website

This is the collection of web pages dedicated to specific subjects and purposes.

  • Blog

A website or web page that discusses specific topics.

  • Social media post

User-generated and interactive content posted on social media platforms.

  • Email

Written messages exchanged over the internet.

  • Online ad copy

Marketing promotional messages addressed to target customers and delivered through the internet involving a publisher (the website content owner) and an advertiser (who provides the advertising content).

  • Video

An electronic medium used for recording, playback, and display of moving images.

  • Webinar

A seminar, lecture, or presentation delivered over the internet using video and which has interactive capabilities.

  • Podcast

A series of digital audio files that can be downloaded and listened to using a computer, smartphone, or other electronic devices.

  • Infographic

Graphic visualization of information intended for mass communication.

  • Long-form online articles – ebook, white paper, case study, research report

Lengthy written articles based on detailed research and studies intended to inform and help readers understand specific topics, subjects, or issues.


Digital techniques

Digital techniques encompass all methods, tactics, and systems used to reach target customers online such as:

  • Search engine marketing (SEM)

The process of gaining website traffic and improving visibility in search engine results page through paid online ads.

  • Search engine optimization (SEO)

The process of improving traffic to a website or web page from free or organic search results on search engines.

  • Content marketing

A type of marketing intended to attract, acquire, and retain customers by creating, publishing, and distributing contents that are useful, relevant, and engaging for a target online audience.

  • Social media marketing

The use of social media platforms to promote a product/service, create awareness, or gain website traffic.

  • Email marketing

The use of electronic mail in promoting a product/service and acquiring, converting, and retaining customers.

  • Inbound marketing

A type of marketing that focuses on attracting, converting, and retaining online customers through useful content which is relevant and appropriate to each stage of a buyer’s journey.

  • Marketing automation

Use of software or web-based solutions to manage and automate marketing tasks and processes.

  • Online (or digital) advertising

A form of marketing and advertising using the internet as a medium to deliver promotional messages to a target audience.

  • Mobile marketing

A multi-channel online marketing activity directed at a target audience on their smartphones, tablets, and other handheld electronic devices via website, email, SMS, MMS, social media, and mobile applications.

  • Online PR

Influencing targeted audience through online content much like traditional PR but on online space.

  • Influencer marketing

A type of marketing in which a popular, reputable, or authoritative person is engaged to drive a brand message to a target market over which the said person has a recognizable influence.

  • Affiliate marketing

Performance-based marketing in which affiliates or network members market a product or service and get paid usually in the form of commission.

  • E-commerce marketing

E-commerce marketing is an activity of generating sales of an online store using digital marketing techniques.


How does digital marketing help small businesses?

Digital marketing can be effectively used for any business big or small in any industry catering to both the B2B and B2C sectors.

Digital marketing is very suitable for small businesses.  Having a working knowledge of the above digital channels and techniques can enable a small business to market its product/service in a cost-effective manner.

What are important to consider are the creation of a business’ buyer persona and creation of content appropriate to each milestone in the buyer’s journey.

A good understanding of the buyer persona can enable a business to anticipate the needs, problems, or pain points of its customers.

It is crucial to publish content that suits the customers’ need to address their challenges and to make an informed decision as they move through the awareness, consideration, and action stages of their buyer journey.

Using digital marketing, businesses can monitor results of their online marketing efforts in real time like how many people have visited its website, what pages were viewed, where website traffic came from (devices and location), what actions were taken (or not taken), or what touch points contributed to driving website visits and closing the sale.

Considering these data, a business can immediately know which is working and which is not and then make the necessary adjustments to make its digital marketing more effective.

Businesses can also collect (with the website visitors’ explicit consent) information which can be used for other or future marketing efforts.

Online metrics include the number of people reached, out of this number how many clicked to visit the business website, and out of those who visited the website how many were converted into paying customers.  Correlating online revenue, profit, and expenses for a particular campaign, a business can compute for its return on investment in digital marketing.

Businesses can see and analyze the results of its digital marketing in real time and much faster than offline or traditional marketing.

A small business can implement digital marketing even on a shoestring budget.  What matters most is the investment in time and effort plus a determination to learn digital marketing.

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