Digital Marketing for Small Biz – What the Pros Say About Social, SEO, and Mobile

About two months ago, I reached out to my peers in the digital marketing world and asked them to contribute to my online survey. The questions covered topics such as the importance of Facebook in the near future, Google algorithm updates, and mobile website development for small businesses. Originally, I intended to just gather the information for my own edification, but some of the answers seemed worthy enough to share and archive in a blog post.

The starting point for all small businesses is to get their virtual house in order before trying to bring attention to it.

- Jon Henshaw, co-founder of Raven

A Quick Summary

If you don’t feel like scrolling down to look at pie charts, here’s a quick summary from the survey. Don’t forget to scroll down to the very bottom of this post to read the tips from some bright minds in digital marketing that took the survey.

  • Mobile website development, specifically responsive design,  is going to continue growing in 2014. Responsive design is attractive because it’s easy to implement and CMS platforms like WordPress make it very easy to manage a mobile friendly site.
  • Facebook is still important for a small business’s web presence. Even if your Facebook page isn’t driving engagement, an updated page plays a role in branding and search engine optimization.
  • Search engine optimization is NOT dead. The quality of your entire web presence (content, website design/build, social signals, etc) matters more than ever. Don’t skip over the basics of optimizing your site.
  • Bing (wait for it….) is growing in importance. More internet marketers are paying attention to Bing and making sure that their business ranks well.
  • Marketers are still unsure about the role of Google+ for small business. Some say it’s an absolute must, most are unsure, and some even think it’s not necessary to keep it consistently updated.

Internet Marketing is Evolving, and Small Business Needs to Adapt

 Shift focus from keyword jamming and an obsession with traffic to building an online audience that will follow you wherever you go.

- Michael Schein, Principal of Michael Schein Communications

The majority of small business owners know just enough about digital marketing to be dangerous. It’s easy to see why they still think that link buying is a magic bullet for any website, and that thousands of Likes on Facebook will propel them to fame and fortune. They go to conferences with charlatan (or washed up) guest speakers, and read news articles that are based off of buzz and irrelevant success stories. Basically, there are a lot of small businesses that can’t see through the mess that’s being thrown their way. Hopefully, the insight from these people will help us as marketers steer our clients in the right direction.

Small Business on Facebook


1. Facebook ads are a great tool for most businesses.

Facebook Ads Work for Small Business

2. Local / small businesses benefit most from Facebook Ads. Facebook Ads Best for Small Business

3. An active Facebook Business page is still essential for branding and SEO. Facebook branding and SEO

The Role of Google+ for Small Business

1. Google+ is becoming increasingly more important to your inbound marketing strategy. Google Plus in Small Business Marketing

2. Small businesses MUST stay active on Google+. Small Business and Google Plus

Website Optimization and Search Engines

1. Blogs are the best way to create fresh, and relevant content for businesses. Blogs best way to create fresh content

2. Optimizing for Bing search is more important than ever before.

Should you optimize for Bing search

3. Google’s Hummingbird update followed the natural progression towards a better search engine experience for users.

Google Hummingbird Update

 4. (Insert sarcastic tone.) The best solution for Google’s Hummingbird update is to pump out as much content on your website and social channels as possible.

content marketing strategy

Mobile Website Design for Small Businesses

1. Small businesses MUST have a mobile website solution.

Small Business Mobile Website Design

2. Mobile responsive website design makes the most sense for small businesses.

responsive website design

3. The best marketing strategy you can have is make your users feel loved. (listen and respond to questions, concerns, comments, and shout outs.)

Marketing Strategy

Pearls of Wisdom from Bright Minds

van baird“Give value until it hurts. Become an advocate for your current clients. Be about what they’re about to the point where they can’t help put you at the time of their mind when it comes to recommending you to their circle of influence.”

Van Baird, Chief Thank You Economist
@VanBaird
Relational EQ

 

 

 

jon henshaw“There are several things small businesses should do:

1) Optimize their site: Make it faster, responsive and the navigation streamlined.
2) Be social: Create and manage social profiles, and engage with potential customers.
3) Create relevant content: Write content that’s helpful to target customers and make it easy for them to share.
4) Get mentions: Build relationships with relevant sites to increase brand mentions, citations and backlinks.”

Jon Henshaw, C0-Founder
@RavenJon
Raven

sarah dethomasis“Start with what users go to most for information depending on the kind of business you have. For instance, restaurants should start with Yelp and go from there. Decide what your goals are – foot traffic in-store, sales online, awareness, etc. and then craft a strategy that accomplishes those goals.”

Sarah DeThomasis, Senior Manager of Strategic Partnerships
@SarahDeThomasis
Sarah on LinkedIn

 

 

don rhoades” If it is a local business they have an advantage of Google+ Local. If it is a small eCommerce site who competes with larger retailers, look for opportunities to trump their low prices by offering better service based on Thank You Economy or similar philosophy.”

Don Rhoades, Digital Marketing Consultant
@TheGonzoSEO
The Gonzo SEO

 

 

michael schein“Small businesses need to shift their resources from interruptive advertising to content marketing. No news there. But since they are especially restricted as to time and money, they need to seriously consider how to use the resources they do have to their advantage. Can their employees contribute content? What systems can be set up to help them best do so? Same goes for bloggers and content creators in adjacent fields — they are looking to contribute…figure out how to make it easy for them to do so.”

Michael Schein, Principal
@MichaelSchein1
Michael Schein Communications

 

Ashley Velez“Focus on creating quality content that is helpful to their readers. Equal parts helpful, social, and honest (because customers can tell) is a winning combination. Humanizing your business and reminding folks that in addition to providing an amazing service, your children are in the same class, or you visit the same public park, keeps you in their minds over a larger company.”

Ashley Velez, Lead WebOp
@AshleyGraceless
AshleyGraceless.com

What do you think is the single most important thing that a small business can do to improve their internet marketing over the next 12 months? Leave a comment!

Comments

  1. Ben Boykin says

    I think that one primary way small businesses can help themselves achieve greater success online is to think about putting more stock in being present offline – to participate in community oriented events, networking opps, etc., etc. Nothing bridges relational gaps more than good ol’ face to face conversation and isn’t that one of the prime avenues towards achieving likeability and trust which as we all know greatly enhances the possibilities of a transaction taking place. Unfortunately, and I am chief of sinners when it comes to this, but have supported the idea that just sitting behind a computer churning out ‘epic’ and ‘helpful’ content will in many ways do the trick. IMO the more small business can be about the ‘business’ of providing authentic & transparent online experiences coupled with some warm and friendly offline efforts the far better off they will be in the short and long run. Thanks again Kevin for your efforts in putting together such valuable data! Cheers!

Trackbacks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>