Kick start your business in the new year with these digital marketing tips 13/01/2017 Tips & Advice Concerned about bigger businesses having a competitive edge over yours moving into the new year? Or maybe you’re having uncertainties involving Brexit and Trump, which are causing you to hold back rather than focus on Business Growth. Our Recent Survey suggests these are common concerns for SMEs right now; however, you shouldn’t be discouraged as we have some digital marketing tips to get your business primed for online growth in 2017. 1. Build an engaging social media presence Many small businesses make one of two mistakes: focusing on too many social platforms at once, or not having a social media presence at all. When you’re starting out, pick no more than two to three platforms to build an audience for, so that your time and resources aren’t being spread too thin. Choose the best social platforms for your business based on your brand, product and target market. For example, if you run a business that lends itself well to visual content, like a florist or beauty salon, Instragram and Pinterest are good starting points. If community engagement is a focus for you, Facebook is ideal for facilitating discussion between your business and its customers. Whatever platforms you choose, make sure to post regularly, ask your customers questions, and reply to your comments as quickly as you can. 2. Master mobile marketing With the latest StatCounter Data showing that 51.3% percent of people are opting to use mobile devices over desktops to browse the web, it’s important that your website and online advertising are mobile friendly. You can check if your site is suitable for mobile using Google’s Mobile Friendly Test. If it’s not, this will likely have a negative effect on your ranking in Google’s search results. If you're running online advertising, it’s important that you use mobile friendly ad formats. In addition, mobile users typically engage with online content differently to desktop users; for example they are more likely to call, or visit your store directly, than to make an enquiry online. As such, we recommend that you include versions of your ads with call-to-actions that are suitable for users on mobile devices, such as “Call us now!” or “Visit us in store today!”. 3. Set up a Google My Business Page Having a Google My Business Page is particularly important for small local businesses, as it makes your contact details a focus when someone looks up your brand name in Google. We also recommend that you optimise your page to include photos of your business and a brief description of what you offer to help you stand out. Not only will optimising your Google My Business page help your customers find you more easily, but it will also improve your chances of appearing in maps and for local searches like “Italian restaurant near me”: Another benefit of Google My Business is that your customers can submit reviews. A recent Invescpro Survey shows that 90% of people read online reviews before visiting a business. It's much better to have a few negative reviews in a pool of mostly positive reviews than to have no reviews at all. Having no reviews will only lead customers to question your reputability. 4. Optimise your website for search engines Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of optimising your website to rank highly in search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo. There are a large number of SEO strategies that can help you achieve this over time. One important strategy is identifying search terms (more commonly known as “keywords”) that are relevant to your business and that you would benefit from ranking highly for in search engines. Do some keyword research using tools like Web Seer, Google Trends, Moz’s Keyword Explorer, and if you have AdWords access, Google’s Keyword Planner. Consider search volume, competitiveness and relevancy. Once you’ve identified your key target keywords, you would ideally create specific landing pages for these keywords on your site, being careful not to overstuff a page with one keyword as Google may recognise this as spam. Once you’ve created your landing pages, you can then focus on building links back to these from reputable sites. It’s important that you’re very careful to only create content for quality sites, and not to send too many links back to specific pages on your site in a small amount of time, as Google may penalise you for this. Remember that SEO takes time, and it’s unlikely that you’ll see results overnight. But overtime, you will see the true value of this very effective digital marketing strategy. 5. Measure your progress None of the tips above are worth much if you aren’t measuring the impact of your digital marketing strategy. There are a number of simple ways you can do this. Google Analytics is an excellent free tool used for monitoring website performance. If your focus is on organic performance; Google Search Console gives you valuable insight into what position you’re appearing at for what search terms. So what are you waiting for? Get marketing, monitoring and measuring today!