Small business owners have a lot on their plates in 2018. According to a survey by Infusionsoft, 31% of small business owners said their top goal this year is to attract new customers. 25% said it is to retain current customers.

Attracting and keeping business isn’t a new goal for anyone. This theme holds strong from year to year, as local businesses fight to stand up against big business marketing budgets and stand out among the clutter.

Traditional Marketing vs. Digital Marketing

Hopefully you have a marketing plan in place already. Notice I didn’t say you need a “digital” marketing plan, I just called it “marketing.” Why? These days if your marketing plan doesn’t include aspects of digital marketing, you can hardly call it marketing at all.

If your marketing mix includes traditional channels like direct mail, collateral, trade shows, print ads, print directories and more, that’s OK. But if you’re not investing in digital marketing to complement the hard work you’re already putting in, you’re about to get left in the dust.

Why You May Not Be Using Digital Marketing Just Yet

The Boston Consulting Group recently conducted a survey to discover exactly why it is that many small business owners haven’t yet warmed up to digital marketing.

The hurdles were obvious:

  • Some don’t know what’s out there or how to take advantage of it, and
  • Others have been burned before by poorly performing digital marketing campaigns.

Adjust Your Digital Marketing Mindset

Hopefully we can get you over either of those two hurdles, whether it’s lack of awareness or love lost. Let’s get started.

Add some fuel to your social fire.

2018 is the year of social media marketing. 71% of small businesses plan to use social media content to acquire customers. 75% of those will include Facebook in their strategy.

This year, it’s time to add fuel to the social media fire. What do I mean? It’s time to move from monitoring social media pages and reviews to running social media advertisements. Social media advertising is an important tool for customer acquisition and can help you generate more leads.

Strongly consider pay-per-click advertising.

Organic search engine optimization and social media posts will only take you so far. To stand out from the noise online, amp up the volume with pay-per-click (PPC) ads and search engine marketing (SEM).

To make your SEM successful, you need to do some work behind the scenes. Spend an hour or two thinking about keywords you want to target with your ads, as these will greatly impact your findability and your budget. The more competitive the keywords or search terms, the most costly your ad will be. Pro tip: Narrow down your target audience as much as humanly possible. This will help any leads you generate be more qualified, and it’ll also protect your ad dollars from being wasted on anyone too far outside your typical target audience.

Put on your director’s hat.

Video and live video are popular hot topics for 2018. That’s because it’s easier than ever for average folks like you and me to capture eye-catching videos and share them.

If you’re just starting out, stick with short, simple videos. Pay attention to background noise and activity, and use video to showcase what you do. Once you feel comfortable taking video and sharing it, branch out and try sharing live video on your favorite social media sites.

Finding the Right Partner

If you’re thinking, “I’ve tried it before, and it didn’t work,” then I can’t fault you for being wary of taking another stab at digital marketing. But keep one thing in mind – you don’t have to do it alone.

There are thousands of digital marketing service providers out there. But there are a few things only the best providers have in common:

  • They’re straightforward with the cost breakdown. Digital marketing that performs best isn’t free, and anyone who tells you it can be is blowing a little smoke.
  • They’re not a one-trick pony. There are so many digital marketing channels out there, it can be tempting to try to find the one, best medium for you. But that’s not cost effective or beneficial for your business. Find a tool or service that can manage your business’s entire online presence (like Thryv).
  • They’ve don’t make any wild promises. Digital marketing can take a few months to show real results. So be patient if you can, and don’t trust anyone who claims they can beat the system.

If vetting a digital marketing partner sounds overwhelming, start with us. Thryv can handle your digital marketing from just one login, and it comes with a team of experts to help make sure you’re doing everything right. Check us out.