Alright folks, it’s 2021. If you’ve made it this far without digital marketing, good on ya. You’ve either have a huge referral network or you’ve managed to pull off the next-to-impossible. But for many local businesses today, digital marketing can make or break your operation. Running a small or medium sized local business can be time-consuming. You probably don’t have extra staff, time, or cash for digital marketing kicking around, but it’s important to start making it a priority, even if you’re only spending an hour or two a week at first. In this post, we’ll discuss how you can start using digital marketing today:
  • What is digital marketing?
  • Why is digital marketing important for local business?
  • How can digital marketing impact your business?
  • What’re the 7 fundamentals of digital marketing?
Let’s jump in!

What is digital marketing? 

Digital marketing is any form of marketing that uses digital resources like electronics or the internet. Local businesses can connect to their customers or reach new audiences through digital channels like social media, email/newsletter lists, or other websites.

Why is digital marketing important for local business?

Traditional marketing includes print ads, phone communication, and physical marketing. Digital marketing is different, because it occurs electronically and online, which gives you far more opportunities to reach current and potential customers, including email, video, social media, and search engines. You don’t need to use every component of digital marketing for it to be effective, but you can leverage at least some aspects to up your brand’s visibility and reach a wider audience.

How can digital marketing impact my business?

If you haven’t used digital marketing or have been lagging on your digital marketing strategy in the past, your business will see benefits pretty quickly. Almost every local business today has a website or social media presence. Truth is, people are so used to researching products before purchasing (even if just searching where-to-buy) they now expect businesses to have either a website or a social channel where they can get info and discover options. Local businesses typically use digital marketing differently than large corporations because they don’t have unlimited ad budgets, but it’s free to build relationships online. Or, you could get creative and pursue lower-cost strategies to connect with your consumers. Unlike traditional print advertising or mass outdoor advertising like billboards, digital advertising gives you precise analytics from each post and each account you create online, so you can monitor your progress.

What are the 7 fundamentals of digital marketing?

Though best used together, you can begin with just one or two of these fundamentals and work your way up from there.
  • Content marketing. This is marketing that’s focused on creating helpful tools and resources for your audience and clientele, such as pics, blog posts, videos, e-books, etc. and distributing them to your audience.
  • Website. If you don’t sell online, your website will act as your business’s online storefront or office, providing information about your services, offerings, locations, and how to get in touch.
  • Social media. This is online media produced by your business that helps you interact with your existing and desired consumers. The most popular social media platforms are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and TikTok.
  • Online reputation management. This involves conducting online searches for your own business and responding to comments online, while at the same time managing your digital brand through press releases, industry newsletters, and public comments.
  • SEO. Search Engine Optimization involves setting up your business to be found through search engines such as Google. You can do this by creating content with specific search keywords.
  • Digital advertising. Whether you’re using social advertising through Instagram/Facebook or search advertising through Google AdWords (or website banners, YouTube commercials, et al) digital advertising can effectively help you reach new customers or remind existing clients to buy again.
  • eCommerce. This is all about how you sell your products or services online. These days, many websites have built-in eCommerce capabilities.
No matter what your line of business, there’s a digital marketing application that’ll work for you, to expand your offerings and reach new groups of potential customers. Digital marketing is more accessible now than ever before, with plenty of options for free or low-cost marketing. You just need to find what works best for your business through trial and error, or by working with a Homefield Marketing Advisor.
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