Digital Marketing Checklist for Small Businesses
Today more than ever, it’s super important that your business is visible online. The first place customers go to find a business like yours is google or other search engines. If you’re trying to find a mechanic, the first thing you do is google “Car Mechanic Near You” and look for the business closest to you with the most amount of reviews. Your potential customers are also spending a lot of time perusing Facebook and Instagram, so creating relative and interesting content on those platforms can help you get more exposure as well.
When a customer does find you via your website, they’ll be sure to look at your product offerings or services, pricing, and find out why your products are unique compared to your competitors. That means having a fast, mobile responsive, and easy-to-use website is critical to getting sales. Without further introduction here are the top things your business needs for digital marketing.
Build Out Your Website
If someone finds your business, the first place they go to learn more is your website. I could talk about what you specifically need on your website but every business is different. The main things you need are a simple navigation bar to take users to different pages, a contact page, and your phone number at the top so they can call you at any time.
Many people ask where they should go to build their website and for us the answer is simple, WordPress. No other platform offers the design and user capabilities that wordpress can offer. Websites like Shopify, Wix, Squarespace, and others all have their own proprietary software. That means they host the websites on their platform and control the app and plug-ins in their app stores.
WordPress is open-source, which means that anyone can create a plug-in and you can host your website on your own hosting platform. Also there is an extremely large development community, meaning there are more prebuilt solutions in terms of themes and plug-ins than any other. This means you have a lot more flexibility in creating exactly what you want on your site.
Setup a Facebook and Instagram Page
We recommend that anyone who is trying to build their business, start your social media with Facebook. Facebook has the most active users on the platform, so people are more likely to find your business through their platform.
Instagram is a close second, however if your product is not as visual as a fashion-line or restaurant, Instagram might not be as important as Facebook. That said, Instagram is one of the fastest growing social media platforms, so we believe that you should take a little time to set it up and do it correctly.
On Facebook, posting can be effective when you tell an interesting story or capture attention through a great visual or video. Facebook is meant to be a source of entertainment, so don’t try to sell forcefully. Maybe publish interesting information about your business such as new locations or products. Tell a story about a customer or the growth of your business. Simple.
Instagram posts are meant to capture the eye with bright visuals and colors. That’s why it’s great if you have beautiful or visual products. If not, that’s ok too. If you’re a social media marketing firm like us, you can post stock photos with interesting facts or information about your business. Or you can make videos telling users helpful tips or information.
We also recommend that anyone trying to grow their business through paid marketing use Facebook first. Facebook offers a large user base and amazingly detailed targeting to get your business seen by millions.
Putting Your Business on LinkedIn
Any business professional these days knows that LinkedIn is the source for industry information and networking. Creating a LinkedIn page can truly help grow your professional network and help grow your business especially if you have a B2B product. Also if you have a couple employees, having them list their employment with your company on their page is basically free advertising to their connections.
Posting on LinkedIn is a little different. Most people are there for business purposes, so you might not post with all the emojis or types of visual posts you would on Facebook or Instagram. We try to stick with information about your business in terms of growth, industry outlook, and ways to run your business. Ways to run your business could mean anything from how you interact with your employees to customer interactions as well. All in all, LinkedIn is definitely a must for social media.
Google Reviews, Yelp, and Facebook Reviews
Many people may know about your business, but they might not know if your business provides a quality product. Getting reviews is one of the top ways to set yourself ahead of your competitors. When you search for a local service, you will most likely inquire about the business with the most Google reviews. Getting them can be a simple practice of asking. When you interact with your customers, make sure to ask them for a review on Google, Yelp, or Facebook. You could also ask them for a review in return for a product discount.
If you own a restaurant or catering service, Yelp is one of the top ways to be relevant with your consumers. Sure when you look for a restaurant online you go to google first, but Yelp has developed a larger following in the restaurant community since it began. For those reasons, it can be a greater source of information.
Google reviews are by far the most important for SEO. Having more google reviews can rocket you to the top of the search results. We stress for any local services like a dentist office, law practice, or real estate agent, make sure you get as many google reviews as you can.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Site Analysis
Maybe you have heard of this term before, but Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the practice of steps to help your business rank higher in search results on sites like Google, Bing, and others. We recommend that you create your website and make it fast, mobile responsive, and contain relevant information to improve that search juice.
To improve your site speed, make sure to compress images, host it on a fast platform, and hire somebody with coding knowledge to optimize slow performing code. Having a mobile responsive site can be as simple as building out your website through a mobile-responsive theme on wordpress or any other platform. In terms of content, don’t try and jam-pack your site with keywords to get Google to find you for certain search terms. Write your information in simple language and pepper in your keywords throughout. It’s important to note that Google has advanced AI algorithms to penalize you for keyword stuffing. Also it can be super helpful to write blog posts and other information to give you extra “link juice” to improve your SEO.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Backlinks and Site Links
Besides optimizing your site, Google wants to know whether your site is a legitimate source of information and respected in the field. That is where backlinks come into play. A backlink is any link to your website from another website. So if another company writes something about you and lists your website on theirs, that is great for you. That said, don’t just ask any website or company for a backlink. Try and reach out to those that have a high domain authority so Google knows that a very legitimate source is vouching for you.
On the flipside, don’t be an island on your own site. Outbound links, links to other websites on your own site, can show that you are involved with other businesses and can show a reciprocated credibility on your behalf. Don’t forget to include inbound links on your website too. These are links directed other pages on your site. That way users spend more time on your site. More time on your website, better SEO.
Having an online presence can make or break your business. We recommend any business to create a website and grow it from there. Post blog posts and make your site easy-to-use, fast, and mobile-friendly. Also include your contact information and address at the top so users can contact you at any moment.
Social media is critical too. Facebook and Instagram are the biggest so make sure to have pages setup. Create posts that are interesting and entertaining. If you don’t know what to post, the easiest thing to do is find an image and then tell the story. LinkedIn can be great too if you’re trying to network or reach out to the professional community.
Lastly, SEO can be the biggest help in getting your business in front of people. If your business ranks the highest in your area, that can be amazing for sales. In all that you do, keep striving to improve your online presence. For more information be sure to check out The Small Business Owner’s Digital Marketing Checklist. For help with your own business be sure to reach out on our Contact Page for more information.