Stock photo of dollar bills laying on top of a laptop.

Having a thorough and effective digital strategy for your company’s website is now more important than ever. As time goes on, businesses will rely less on print media and other traditional marketing methods and more so on internet marketing.

But what if a small business owner can’t afford to hire an employee that is well versed in areas such as search engine optimization (SEO) and social media? Many business owners will bootstrap their businesses starting out and don’t have the luxury of being backed by investors and venture capitalists. Even if a business owner does understand SEO and social media marketing, they likely won’t have the time to complete these efforts and move the ball down the field.

The obvious first step before any digital marketing efforts can begin is to have a company website built. We highly recommend that businesses outsource this task to a professional web designer. There are plenty of cost-effective website builders out there if you can’t afford to hire a web designer, however; SquareSpace, Weebly and Wix are some of our favorites. Business owners should think of their company’s website as a full-time representative of the business. Having a professional looking website not only builds trust but increases the likelihood of a customer completing a conversion.

The second step is to set up thirty minutes to an hour each day where you’re educating yourself about the basics of search engine optimization and social media marketing. The two most important aspects of search engine optimization are 1) the content and keywords within the website and 2) the number and quality of links that point to your website from other websites. As far as learning on your own, Youtube is an excellent resource if you’re someone that learns best with visual aids. If you learn more efficiently by reading, then Moz, Search Engine Land and Neil Patel are excellent resources for digital marketers that are first starting out. If you live in a large city, you might also want to visit Meetup.com and see if there are any meetups for digital marketers where you’ll be able to converse and learn from them for free. Here is an excellent crash course video for business owners that may be new to digital marketing. The video is even shot in a classroom setting!

Link Building

As far as links to your website go, you should make the effort to build social media profiles for your business on all of the main social media platforms. Even if you don’t think Pinterest would be a driver for your business, it’s still very important to have authoritative websites linking to yours. Here are the most important social media platforms you can create a company page on at no cost.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Linkedin
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Youtube

Facebook will be the most effective social media platform for most businesses. For businesses that want to build their Facebook following quickly, Facebook gives users the ability to boost their fan page or create Facebook advertisements. There is no set price for these boosting options; you can set your own budget. However, the more you spend, the more people your promotion will reach. Here is an excellent Youtube video that will guide you on how to boost on Facebook.

 

After you’ve set up the core social media accounts for your business, it would be wise to create what are called citation listings. The two most important citation listings are Google My Business and Bing Places. In order to activate these listings, both Google and Bing will send a postcard to your business address to verify it’s location. Your Google My Business listing is vital to your business as it will generate phone calls to your business without customers having to visit your website. It also has an extremely helpful mapping feature on smartphones so that customers can easily arrive at your company’s doorstep. Building citation listings is a very meticulous and time-consuming task. Luckily, there are companies such as Yext and Bright Local that will create these citation listings for your business for a small fee. Most businesses will be able to afford the prices they charge. Other important citation listings include Yelp, Manta and the Yellow Pages. Here is an excellent video about the importance of citation listings.

 

Content Development and Marketing

The content on your company’s website always begins with your main internal pages describing the services your company offers, how customers can reach you, the company’s history and it’s mission statement, etc. After those core pages have been established, the only way to take your website to the next level is to create a blog section that is regularly updated with fresh content. The company blog should strive to answer the most important questions your customers are currently asking. Those questions should always be your article titles and long-tailed article titles tend to rank very well in the search results. Let’s say you’re an interior designer. You might publish a blog post describing the difference between modern and contemporary furniture since many potential customers are seeking the answer. A good pace for publishing new content to your company’s blog is two articles each week. Many businesses will not be able to uphold that pace. For those that can’t, one new blog post per week should serve as the minimum.

After finishing a blog post, then it’s time to set it free and promote it on your social media channels. The best social media channels for blog promotion are Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and Linkedin. Regularly posting content to these channels will ensure that your audience on those platforms will grow organically with time. And the larger your social media audience, the more visitors and potential customers you’ll bring to your website.

Link building and publishing fresh content are the two best practices for building and maintaining your company’s digital strategy. With six months of implementing these best practices, you will certainly see a noticeable difference in website traffic as your company’s brand awareness increases. And as time goes, you WILL be able to afford the services of a professional digital marketer. We know so!

John Mann SEO Consulting is one of Nashville’s premier digital marketing companies. We regularly work with small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs in the areas of search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, content development and marketing, email marketing and web design. If your company is ready to scale and build a strong digital presence, we’d love to have your business. We can be reached directly at 615-491-9819 or feel free to complete our contact form. All inquiring clients will receive a free website audit as well free consultations.