Digital marketing is an essential part of any successful marketing strategy no matter the size of your business. From global brands like Nike, Netflix and Amazon to small, local stores, all businesses need an online presence in order to drive visibility, sales and revenue.
Whilst small businesses might not have the budgets to compete with large global brands in some areas of digital marketing, there are a number of areas where small businesses can compete without needing to invest thousands of tens of thousands of dollars.
These are the most important areas for small businesses to focus on – the digital marketing tactics that are likely to deliver the best return on investment (ROI). And whilst small businesses might not have the budgets to compete with the big brands, this doesn’t mean that small businesses cannot learn from big brands.
Below, we have outlined two tactics that, when done well, should deliver the best ROI for small businesses and allow them to compete with big brands in the digital environment.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Search engine optimisation is the process of optimising your website in order to rank better in the search engines for the keywords your business is targeting. There are three key elements to any successful SEO strategy: technical, content and linking.
First of all, it’s important that your website is well built from a technical perspective. Google provides lots of advice and guidance when it comes to optimising the technical aspects of your website and their primary focus, and therefore your primary focus is all about the user experience.
This means you need to focus on page load speed, mobile usability and responsiveness and more recently, a set of factors that Google calls Core Web Vitals which focus on speed and the experience people have when navigating your content. If you can get these aspects right, you stand a much better chance of ranking well for the keywords you are targeting.
Content is another key aspect and even if you build a website that is technically sound if your content does not meet the searcher’s intent, then you will always struggle to rank well. Your content should be well structured, well researched and should include the relevant keywords that you want to rank for.
The final factor is linking. All websites earn authority over time by attaining links from other websites. The more reputable those links, the more likely it is that your own domain authority will improve. Historically, website owners have tried to cheat the system by buying links from other sites, however, Google has penalised sites for this practice, so it is all about earning those links by creating great content that people want to link to.
Which big brands are using SEO?
SEO is a tactic that can deliver outstanding ROI over time. As long as you continue to publish great content and maintain a technically sound website, there is no reason why you can’t rank well organically for years, without having to pay to do so beyond the time you need to invest in writing good content and keeping your website up to date.
Huge brands like Etsy, Amazon and Macy’s all invest in SEO in various forms from creating engaging content to using schema markup to tell Google more about their product pages to acquiring backlinks from a huge variety of online resources.
A big part of a successful SEO strategy is content marketing. We’ve already talked about the importance of great content and it is a key area for businesses to focus on if they want to drive more relevant traffic to their website.
Content marketing allows you to expand the range of keywords you can optimise and rank for. This is particularly important for small businesses and businesses that work in a niche area. There is only a finite amount of search volume for the keywords a business would typically target in a niche and if you want to drive more organic traffic, you need to look beyond the primary keywords that relate to your products and services.
Content marketing is a great way to do this. By targeting related topics, you can start to drive new visitors to your website that are in the discovery phase and this could be the first time that they learn about your brand and start their journey with you towards the end goal of them making a purchase.
Content marketing is another tactic that can deliver a high ROI depending on the goals you set. If you have a goal of increasing organic traffic, then content marketing is a great way to do this at a relatively low cost – the cost of creating a piece of content. If that is predominantly blog content, this can be cheap to create and deliver outstanding results. Obviously, the quality of your content has got to be high in order to rank well and there may be investment needed in things like videos, podcasts, infographics etc.
Which big brands are using content marketing?
There aren’t many big brands that are not investing in content marketing. From videos to podcasts to recipes, big brands are really focused on delivering amazing content for their customers and prospective customers. Nike, Lululemon, and even organisations like the European Golf Tour are all investing in creating interactive and engaging content. Leading online casino Betway also invests heavily in content marketing, providing betting tips and interviewing professional athletes to give their customers the best possible insights.
Content marketing is a tactic that can deliver extremely high ROI, especially for those small businesses looking to raise brand awareness and drive more visitors to their website. Getting visitors to the top of the sales funnel is the primary focus of content marketing and from there, small businesses need to make sure they engage with those visitors and turn them from discovery to purchase.
Digital marketing is more important than ever as we head into 2022 and for small businesses, digital marketing channels present an opportunity to compete with big brands and win.