If you are a sole trader you may wonder if your business is too small for any kind of digital marketing. Whether you are creating products and selling them online, providing a freelance service such as website creation, graphic design or copywriting, or are involved in the arts such as a sound engineer or session musician, can digital marketing help?
Well yes it can, and in this article we explore ten simple ways that you can use digital marketing to help your business grow in exactly the way you want it to.
We will work on the assumption that you are fairly new to the world of digital marketing. If not, then most of the following topics are also covered in more detail elsewhere in the Articles section of our website.
Who is your audience?
First and foremost you need to know who your business is aimed at. Who is your audience? Think of the typical person that you envisage using your products or services. And why? The foundation of your digital marketing strategy is to know who you are aiming at.
It can even help to create in your mind a “marketing persona” to identify a likely typical customer e.g. age group, gender, other interests etc. See our article Audience Persona : the Marketer’s Imaginary Friend for more information about this.
Where is your audience?
Once you have identified the kind of audience you are aiming for, give some thought as to how they will find you. For example, would you expect them to search for your website if you have one, find you on whatever platforms you may use to sell your products or services, or happen to come across you on social media?
Once you gain some insights as to where your audience is likely to be, you can then take action to put yourself in front of them.
Do you need a website?
In most cases yes you do need a dedicated online presence, otherwise you are missing out on some huge potential.
This doesn’t mean that you have to spend hundreds of pounds on an all-singing, all dancing state of the art website. It is straightforward to create a simple website from a template and include all the essential information about yourself, your product or service and how to contact you.
Also include links to your social media activity, which we shall look at shortly.
Optimise for SEO
SEO – Search Engine Optimisation – can seem like a bit of a black art, but basically it means enhancing your website in various ways to make it more likely to be picked up by search engines if someone is searching for your kind of thing.
Four things that can help with this are:
- Think of the kind of search queries someone would need to type into Google to find you. What main keywords would they use? Try and use these same keywords in your website content, without making it sound unnatural;
- Also use keywords in your page descriptions and titles where possible. You may need a bit of help from whoever hosts your site for this.
- Where possible include internal links in your website from one page to another. This helps to keep visitors on your site for longer. For example, if you decide to have a blog page and are referring to a particular product or service, you can put a link from the blog to the relevant page of your website.
- Incoming links are also really important. Which means you need to try and find other reputable sites which are relevant to yours and see if they would post a link to your site on theirs.
The concept of influencers is that if someone that others are already listening to endorses your product or service, this will influence others to give it a try as well. An influencer doesn’t have to be a major celebrity – with the associated price tag!
Just have a think about anyone you might know who is active on social media, has a Youtube or TikTok channel, has a slot on local radio, or is just very active in any kind of community where your audience is likely to be found. Then get in touch with them and see if they can give your product or service a plug!
Leading on from the above, one thing that can really help to build momentum is to get reviews. People are increasingly influenced by reviews so it’s important to get some.
Try and persuade anyone who’s used your product or service to leave a review on whatever forum or platform is relevant to your product or service. This will give confidence to others who may be looking for a product or service just like yours.
Choose your social media channel(s) wisely as it can be time consuming to keep up the interaction. Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, X, LinkedIn, Youtube or TikTok, it all comes back to thinking where your target audience are more likely to hang out.
Whatever channel(s) you decide, here are some generic tips for making it work for you:
- Update it regularly;
- Get as many Likes / Follows as you can;
- Encourage people to share your page / posts / videos;
- Do more to engage with people e.g. questions, polls, competitions to get people responding;
- Harness the power of video as this is the often most popular format.
Also look into paid ads if your channel runs them. It is fairly low cost to do a targeted paid ad that will put a link to your page or channel in front of a selected audience.
Network network network
And on the subject of social media, you need to network online as much as possible. On social media look for forums or pages for your kind of product or service. Also check out more general internet sites and forums. Start getting involved in some of those to get your name known.
And also look out for real life opportunities. Are there any face to face networking events where you could go to meet people. Or any trade fairs, exhibitions etc where you could tout your wares?
Do you have email details for those who have bought your products or used your services so far? If so, it could be worth setting up an occasional newsletter, for example to offer a deal on further purchase / service use.
On a very small scale this is something that you could do manually. But if you liked the idea and it grew, there are services such as HubSpot that could help : there is a free version of this that includes email marketing.
Last but certainly not least, look for any opportunities to host a special event. For example if you are launching a new product or service, why not make a big thing of it.
This doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. It could be as simple as drinks and nibbles in the office if you have one, in a business centre or community hall, or at a pub. You could either make it free of charge and hope that people will order something from you, or try selling tickets that include a discount towards a purchase.
Any kind of event can give some useful short term focus as something to advertise, post about, blog about and also try to seek PR opportunities such as local radio interviews etc. Also it is something you can easily mention in any other social situation you happen to be in during this time.
We hope that this article gives you some ideas and inspiration about how you could potentially use digital marketing to grow your business, and that some of them will help you to get from where you are now to where you want to be by the end of 2024.
And do check back in with us again here soon at Xcite Digital for more helpful tips from the world of digital marketing.