I am not going to drone on about how COVID-19 has changed the way we use online. This is well documented now and, to be honest, it has just thrown digital into the business universe much quicker than many businesses have been able to keep up with it. I even wrote during the first lockdown why-now-is-the-perfect-time-to-set-up-your-business-and-get-it-online The truth is digital marketing and your digital presence should have been a factor for your business at least 6 years ago and if you still think your business doesn’t need to be online, you are DEAD WRONG! More and more people are investing in digital marketing for their small business and these blogs are going to break down why digital marketing areas are so important to you and your small business, starting with your website and search marketing.
Your Website and Search Marketing
Most searches about businesses, products and services start with a research search on Google. In fact, 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine. Not only this but with Google holding 90.46% of the search engine market share worldwide, you can see why people want their websites to be found on google. That’s where part one of this blog comes in, you need a website. Without a website, you are not being found on the main search engine where people are searching for you.
Google receives over 63,000 searches per second worldwide, so even if your business is a very, very small percentage of that, remember that’s the number of searches happening PER SECOND! This only scratches the surface of your digital presence so If you don’t have a website and are already thinking where do I start then you should read our blog on 5-must-have-pages-for-a-small-business-website.
Still not convinced you need a website? Then read more on 10-reasons-why-your-small-business-needs-a-website.
SEO & SEM
So now you have a website, you can be found on Google but you’re not being found. This is where Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) or Search Engine Marketing (SEM) comes in. SEO focuses more on making sure your website is liked by google and moving it up the search rankings for keywords. SEM is utilising search engine advertising routes such as Google Ads to be thrown in front of the searcher. Which one would I say is more important? The SEO. My background is in SEO and I’ve spent a lot of time researching it. The only problem I have ever had with SEO is that it is not an instant win. It’s an investment in you and your website and is a constant process. That’s why I would say using SEM is great initially and very good for brand awareness if you are a new product or service that a lot of people would not initially search for.
We have some quick-SEO-fixes but by quick, I mean they are easily fixable, not that your results will change overnight. To help with doing your SEO, you should have a plugin installed, either YOAST or RANKMATH are great choices for helping you fix your SEO on-page problems.
FAQs and Blogging
We are still nowhere near finished with our website and Search Marketing. Remember 93% of your potential customers only visit your site for research purposes. That’s not saying they won’t come back, but if you don’t provide them reasons to come back then they won’t. This is why your content is important and why you should always be producing fresh content on your website. Providing your website with fresh content tells your customers that you are still an active business. It also tells Google that you are an active website and this is great for SEO. A Frequently asked questions page (read our blog on the-ultimate-frequently-asked-questions-about-an-faq-page) and blogs are very important for your website, customers and your Search Engine Ranking Position (SERP).
Blogging is one of the most difficult things to be consistent with but if you know people are asking questions about a certain subject in your sector then you need to let people know that you have the answer. Whether it is teaching them how to do it themselves or sharing examples of how it works, show them why you are up there as a contender for that business. Blogging and FAQs are more tailored to long-tailed keywords. This is helpful when people use “Hey Siri”, “Ok Google” or “Alexa” to ask full questions. People do, of course, still type full questions into Google or ask about tips for… and facts about… which brings up blogs or FAQs. To learn more about blogging read writing-blogs-for-business-owners.
Email Marketing and Your Website
There is still so much more you could do with your website but I am going to finish with email marketing. Email marketing is still one of the highest return on investments (ROI) you can get involved with. The simple thing is, if people are interested in your product, services or advice then you can ask them to sign up to an email newsletter which provides them with up to the minute information.
Building your client list has never been easier with the likes of MailChimp providing you with a CRM and automation to your customers. The reason why email marketing is so good for your ROI is that you are targeting an audience who you know are interested in you and your business. Read more about email-marketing-how-to-get-started.
LOCAL SHOPS FOR LOCAL PEOPLE
Even if you class yourself as a local shop and think you don’t need to be online, YOU’RE WRONG.
You should know that being online is still all about being local. When you search something on Google it often asks for your location so it can check what is available locally. You don’t even have to type in the name of the town or the words “near me” anymore. Below you’ll see a screenshot of a search I did on just the word restaurants. I allowed google access to my location and it did the rest. Remember, although Google is technically a search engine it is also technically the biggest online directory in the world.
And finally, if you do or do not have a website, you should be putting yourself on Google My Business (GMB) as these always show at the top of google for locality searches. This also means people can leave you a google review, which will improve customer trust and build your reputation.
So even if you do or don’t have a website, you can still get yourself found on the worlds biggest directory and search engine and get found. However, investing in a website and doing the above digital marketing techniques will improve your digital presence, improve your credibility and reliability to your customers (and potential customers) and WILL provide you with ROI. Improve your digital presence now, whether you tackle the problems yourself or outsource them to a professional.
The next part of Why Small Businesses Need Digital Presence More Than Ever will focus on Social Media.
Do you have any other tips or think we are wrong? Let us know in the comments.