Remember when marketing was putting your product or service on flyers and brochures? 

If you had the budget for it, you might have even invested in a billboard. Though these traditional forms of marketing still exist, we now have digital marketing. And the methods for digital marketing are endless. 

Now’s the time to maximize growth for your business. You can do it by taking advantage of the digital marketing avenues available — they’re only a click away.

There are several user-friendly platforms you can leverage for connecting with your target audience and building lasting client relationships. And the beauty is — many of them are free!

Because of the digital platforms at our disposal, we small business folks can stand a chance against large businesses — and even win. 

So, what are you waiting for?

If you’re ready to take your digital presence to the next level and grow your business, this article is for you.

We will discuss how to:

  1. Get discovered on Google with Google My Business
  2. Delight your audience with your company blog
  3. Connect with your audience on social media
  4. Design professional assets with Canva
  5. Maximize reach with email marketing on Mailchimp

1. Show up on Google Maps and Google search results with Google My Business

Google My Business (GMB) is a free online tool that enables you to create, manage, and optimize your Google Business Profile to increase your chances of being discovered. GMB will enhance your business profile by allowing you to appear in Google Maps and local Google search results. 

Why it’s important

Very often, GMB is the first thing customers notice when searching for your business — especially local customers. And first impressions matter. But so does accessibility. Having essential business information on your profile, such as your contact information and website, will make your business easily accessible to potential customers while increasing the chance they will contact you. In fact, 60% of smartphone users have contacted a business directly using search results. 

In addition to Google profile discoverability and accessibility, GMB allows you to: 

  1. Interact with customers by answering questions, responding to reviews, and publishing posts
  1. Provide essential business information on your Google Business Profile by letting you add your location, business hours, phone number, website, and other details to help you stand out from the competition
  1. Measure and analyze search performance by giving you access to key insights such as actions taken on your profile, search queries used for finding your profile, where your profile is seen the most (e.g., Google Maps or Google search), and the performance of your photos compared to others in your business category
  1. Optimize local search engine optimization (SEO) by adding keywords to your business profile to improve your ranking in search results

How to get started

Setting up your GMB account involves completing and verifying your process. The verification process can take anywhere from five minutes to 14 business days depending on your chosen verification method. 

To set up your GMB account, follow these steps:

  1. Log into or create a Google account you want to be associated with your business
  2. Enter your business name and address
  1. Choose your business category
  1. Add your business phone number and website address
  2. Select a verification option 
  3. Enter verification code

2. Create content that responds to your audience’s queries with your company blog

Where is the first place you go to quickly find information and answers to a question? 

If your answer is Google, then you’re not alone. Every minute, there are approximately 3.8 billion searches globally. One way to have your website rank on Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) is with consistent, value-packed content optimized for search engine optimization (SEO). 

Though there are several types of content that are used to generate website traffic and attract, engage, and delight prospects, we will be focusing on one type here: blogs.

Why it’s important

Blog content can be used to further support your business by generating website traffic, attracting users with educational, value-driven content, and bringing in leads. It does this by: 

  1. Positioning your website as a relevant result to your prospective customers’ search queries
  2. Keeping your website current to improve search engine algorithms by indexing your website
  3. Giving you opportunities for backlinking to improve your website’s credibility and organic search engine rankings
Source: Backlinko
  1. Increasing the chances of repeat website visitors and raising your website’s authority level

How to get started

There’s no doubt that blogging has numerous benefits to offer — including building and maintaining relationships with your prospective customers. 

If you’re ready to start a company blog, begin by:

  1. Creating and setting goals that contribute to your company’s overarching goals (for example: increase organic website traffic by 25% in Q3)
  2. Determining who you will be speaking to by creating a buyer persona
  3. Conducting SEO research (keyword research) to identify a keyword’s search volume and determine if it’s worth the content investment. SEMRush, Ahrefs, and Moz Keyword Explorer are all terrific SEO tools
  4. Creating content for each stage of the buyer’s journey (i.e.,  awareness, consideration, and decision)
Source: HubSpot
  1. Creating an editorial calendar for planning your content creation and distribution strategy

3. Connect and engage with your audience directly using social media 

There are now more than 4.2 billion social media users. If your business isn’t taking advantage of social media, you’re missing out. 

Source: Hootsuite

Why it’s important

Social media is an efficient, effective, and free way to reach and engage your audiences and prospective customers. Social media allows you to gain valuable insights into your industry, competitors, and target audiences. It will also help you learn what content works with your audience, and will also lead you to discover new content ideas. 

More specifically, social media allows you to:

  1. Increase brand awareness by reaching new audiences 
  2. Create human connections and relationships with your audience to build trust 
  3. Establish your brand as a thought leader by sharing value-driven content and insights about your niche
  4. Increase website traffic by sharing links in your social media posts to content on your website
  1. Discover content ideas to incorporate in your content calendar 
  2. Interact and engage directly with your customers 
  3. Make business decisions based on what you learn from your audience
Source: Sprout Social
  1. Find out what people are saying about your business and make adjustments accordingly to manage your reputation
  2. Monitor your competition and stay up-to-date with their promotions, new products, and reviews from clients.

How to get started

A solid strategy should always come before execution. To maximize the benefits of social media, begin by:

  1. Identifying the goals and objectives that you’re trying to achieve on social media (e.g., leads)
  2. Determining the right social media platform(s) for your business (e.g., Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) 
  3. Finding out what platform(s) your audience is most active on
  4. Researching your industry and competitors to see what platforms they’re using, where they are receiving the most engagement, and what content they’re publishing is successful
  5. Understanding the purpose and benefits of each social platform
  6. Creating a content calendar of what and when you will publish

When planning your content calendar, aim for 80% of your content around non-promotional content (e.g., culture-focused posts, testimonials, value-driven content, etc.), and 20% max for promotional content.

Once you arrive at the execution stage, use social media marketing software like Hootsuite or Sprout Social to efficiently and effectively manage and execute your social media strategy. 

This software allows you to schedule posts in advance on various social media platforms and monitor performance through native social media analytics tools. 

Pro tip: Consistency is key. Ensure you have the capacity to consistently manage your social media account(s). If you’re only able to manage one platform well, stick with one. 

4. Create eye-catching assets with Canva

There’s no doubt that graphic design matters for brand recognition. Attractive design can turn heads, but it wasn’t always easy producing quality designs … until Canva.

Canva is a free, user-friendly online design platform that has a plethora of templates available (+8k in the free account) you can manipulate. It also has photo editing capabilities and access to fonts, icons, copyright-free photos, and videos. 

Why it’s important

Canva allows you — regardless of your skill level — to simply and efficiently produce attractive designs that’ll help you stand out from the competition. 

Create business cards, a new presentation deck, or even a cover photo for your Facebook business page in minutes. And no fancy computer is needed — only an internet connection.

Once you’ve created your Canva account, you can access your designs on any device, including your phone. That’s the beauty of an online service — all of your designs are stored in the cloud. 

How to get started

Explore Canva’s brief video tutorials to learn more about the platform and all things design-related. Then, create your own free account. You’ll be creating masterpieces before you know it! 

5. Keep your audience up-to-date with educational news and promotions with Mailchimp

With over 4 billion people using email globally, email isn’t going away anytime soon. It’s expected to grow to 4.48 billion by 2024. 

Email marketing is an efficient way to send email newsletters, promotional offers, and links to your blogs. It’s a cost-effective way to engage your audience and nurture relationships with a personalized experience in real-time. However, it can be challenging. But that’s why online platforms like Mailchimp exist — to make it as easy as possible for small businesses to leverage email marketing to grow their business. 

Source: teach:able

Why it’s important

Mailchimp is free for up to 2,000 email subscribers. It’s a fully customizable platform with powerful design capabilities and a comprehensive analytics tool. 

Additionally, it allows you to:

  1. Prepare and schedule your emails in advance 
  2. Ensure that you’re speaking to the right audience by creating audience segmentation  (which allows your audience to select topics they’re interested in during the email newsletter signup process)
  3. Integrate with other apps, customer relationship management software (CRMs) like HubSpot, and content management systems (CMSes) such as WordPress

How to get started

Are you looking to maximize reach and nurture relationships with Mailchimp? Get started with an easy sign-up process. Once your account is set up, you’ll have access to your dashboard. Your dashboard is an overview of your account showing you campaign stats, number of daily subscribers, and more. 

Create an email campaign by following these steps:

  1. Manage a list
  2. Build and design your campaign
  1. Send your campaign
  2. Monitor your campaign via Mailchimp’s reports
  3. Create a drip campaign (optional)

Wrapping Up

If you’re struggling to find clients or you’re trying to scale, digital marketing is the most efficient way to do so. 

Now you have an arsenal of effective (and free) digital marketing tools for maximizing reach, gaining and retaining clients, and ultimately growing your business. 

Remember, the time is now. Take advantage of these tools and growth will be in your foreseeable future. 

Here’s a recap of the 5 easy ways to start promoting your brand online:

  1. Get found on Google with Google My Business
  2. Delight your audience with your company blog
  3. Connect with your audience on social media
  4. Design professional assets with Canva
  5. Maximize reach with email marketing on Mailchimp

Did you know Smiledog supports small businesses with virtual reception and appointment setting? Operating a small business involves daily administrative tasks that can take away from planning and executing your digital marketing strategy. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Smiledog handles answering your phone and scheduling appointments so you can focus on maximizing reach with marketing, providing quality service to your clients, and ultimately, growing your business. 

Connect with a Smiledog representative to learn more.