Updated: Oct 24, 2020
So, you’ve got a small business and you’re looking to get into the digital space. This article is your guide to the four key things that every small business should do to be set up for success.
You may have done all or none of the below, or you may have fallen into a common trap that bottlenecked your implementation. Let’s run through the basics so that you can feel confident that you’re setting yourself up for success.
Capture quality data, so that you know what’s happening.
Before you even begin to start thinking about your next marketing move, you should ensure that you’re collecting data. And not just data, quality data.
Make sure that you have key data analytics platforms installed on your website. You’ll be able to generate data about your user demographics, acquisition, behaviour and conversions.
Website Analytics: This is the bread and butter for your website analytics. You’ll want to have something like Google Analytics installed, which will track where your website users have come from, how they’ve interacted with your website and how valuable they are to you. You’ll get information such as New vs Returning Visitors, Channel Source, Average Time on Page and much more.
Heat Maps: This is your secret weapon to understand exactly how users are interacting with your website. Tools like HotJar will produce a heat map of the movement, scrolls and clicks (mobile and desktop) of your website. This will help you to understand what improvements you can make on your website and any traps that your users are falling into.
User Identity: This is where you’ll get an understanding of exactly who your users are. Tools like Facebook’s Pixel will produce identity based analytics, which are focused on who your users are more than how they interact with your website. You’ll still get some website interaction data, but you’ll find the true benefit being your ability to understand who your users are and build customer personas out of this.
For each of the above you have the ability to capture information on specific on-site actions that are important to you. For example, you may be seeking eCommerce transactions, appointment bookings or people to simply watch your video. Make sure to set up events and goals in each of the above platforms to tell the platform what is important to you.
Your Task? Set up tracking and analytics tools to cover each of the three key areas.
Understand your data, so that you can develop insights.
Data is one thing. Turning that data into information and knowledge is another. Transforming that into insight and wisdom is your holy grail.
You might have seen this graphic in your journey across the interwebs.
You don’t want to just generate data, you want actionable insights and wisdom. Make sure you have a clear understanding of what you’re looking for in your data. What’s important to you? What factors lead to your customers taking the action you desire?
If you don’t know the answers to the above then your first task is to read through your data and draw these conclusions. Then, try and make them happen again.
For example, you may not know what leads your customers to make a purchase on your website. You may look at your website analytics and find that 40% of your website purchases have happened after a customer reads your blog (Insight). You may then look at your user identities and realise that 100% of those customers were aged 18-24 (Knowledge) but only 10% of website visitors who are aged between 18-24 have read your blog (Information). Your job is then to find a way to get the other 90% of website users between 18-24 to read your blog (Wisdom).
Your Task? Look at your data with the goal of building rules that help you find out what data is important to you.
Set up your website to be SEO friendly, so that people can find you.
You’ve made a website for your small business because it is your digital brick and mortar. And, I’m sure you want people to be able to find you.
Just like if you had a store in a shopping centre, you’d want to do a couple things to let people know that you exist. Imagine you’re running a sandwich shop. You’d want to make a nice big sign that says your brand name on it. You’d also want to be added to the information directory for the shopping centre. You’d probably want your name to come up in the directory not only when people search for your brand name, but also if someone searched for sandwiches, or bread, or lunch, or food.
Google is the information directory for the internet. And, you should want your brand name to appear in Google when people search for services you offer. Trust me, many more people search for ‘sandwiches’ every day than they do in a single shopping centre. There are 18,000 people in Australia who search Google for ‘sandwiches’ every month.
You should set up your website so that it is SEO friendly. That means you should set up:
Page Titles - this is the title of any page and is the blue linked text that appears in Google. Your page title should describe your page. You will have multiple page titles, one for each separate page. For example, your homepage, your product pages, your about page, etc. will all have different page titles.
Meta Descriptions - this is the short amount of text that appears directly beneath your page title on search engines. This should describe in further detail what your page is all about.
Google My Business - this isn’t actually on your site, but is an important and free off-site tool to appear in Google Search results. This is Google’s free tool to list your business on Google and Google Maps. You may know it as the big search result that appears on the right hand side of Google Search results.
The idea of both Page Titles and Meta Descriptions is that they should adequately provide a summary of what your page is about. They should appeal to the user to click through. The most simple way to think about this is to search for services that you offer and see how the current search results appear.
From there, make your brand stand out against the rest of the crop by showcasing your unique selling proposition.
Your Task? Go through your website and ensure it is SEO friendly.
Plug the holes in your bucket, so that you don’t need to fight for attention.
Your website is a bucket just asking for an opportunity to leak. And no, it’s not leaking water. It’s leaking something much more valuable - your users and prospective customers.
You want to ensure that you’re capturing data on website visitors so that you are able to remarket to them. The rule of 7s says the most likely number to roll in Monopoly is 7. Wait, that’s the wrong rule of 7s. It’s that it takes on average 7 touch points for a customer to take action. Of course, this will be different for different businesses. But, one thing rings true - the more ability you have to reach your prospective customers, especially highly engaged ones, the more likely you are to convert them. Just read my blog on what makes a marketing campaign effective for more info on this.
There are a few key ways that you can capture information so that you can get back in front of your customers:
Collect Email Addresses - make sure you have the ability to collect email addresses on-site. An email address is almost a ticket to the Internet. Not only can it be used to … send emails, but it can also be used to do things like match to social media profiles and to build advertising audiences of similar people to those who you’ve collected emails from. This can be done in a variety of ways - here’s a few options to get you started. Just remember, if you’re asking for an email address, you always need to give something back (information, offers, samples, etc.).
Footer - Place a simple email field with some nice messaging to “sign up to our newsletter” in the footer of your website.
Pop Up - Have a pop up appear on-site asking for an email address in exchange for some value (offer, discount, etc.).
Embed - Embed a form within the content of your site. A great place to do this with high conversion rates is in the middle of a blog post.
Exit Intent - Set a pop up to appear as someone is moving their mouse towards the ‘x’ at the top to exit the screen. This pop up should be your ‘last chance’ and really dig into your audience’s FOMO (fear of missing out). They’re about to leave your site, but if they drop their email address in then maybe you’ll send them something nice.
Checkout - Make sure the first thing that happens in your checkout process is to ask for an email. That means that if a prospective doesn’t end up finishing the checkout process (and buying from you) then you’ll be able to send them what’s called a ‘cart abandonment’ email. This will remind them to finish their transaction.
Competition - You may want to encourage your prospective customers to hand over their email address by entering a competition to win something from you. Your website builder may have formats to use each of the above, otherwise you can use popular tools like OptInMonster, Privy and Klaviyo.
Collect Phone Numbers - simply follow any of the above suggestions for email addresses and replace the email address field with a phone number field.
Install Social Tracking Codes - platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Google (Display, Search, Shopping), Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. will allow you to retarget your website visitors. You can also get quite granular here. For example, you could target people who have specifically added 3 key products to their cart but did not go through with the transaction. Or, you could target people who have read 5 blog posts but have never seen your products. These platforms will also allow you to market to audiences who are similar to your website visitor audiences. Powerful stuff. You can find out how to set these up in my blog post on setting up retargeting.
Set up automations, so that the bot can do your work for you.
Now that you’ve collected your audience’s information (email addresses, social media profiles) you will be able to communicate with them. This doesn’t need to be a time consuming task. You can set up a variety of automations so that as soon as you collect that information, your audience is automatically added into a flow where they receive ongoing communications from you.
These communications should be evergreen (meaning you don’t need to change them often). Here are a few examples to get you started:
Digital Retargeting - Set up a retargeting ad on the best suited social media platform. Start retargeting ads at the bottom of your marketing funnel. For example, start retargeting only people who have viewed the cart or checkout on your website, but have not made a transaction. All of these users could receive the exact same message. Then, move up your funnel for further retargeting. For example, retarget users who have viewed your products, but never made it to your cart.
Welcome Email Sequence - set up a welcome email sequence so that any customer who hands over their email address to you will receive ongoing automated emails. As a general rule of thumb, it is very reasonable to send a weekly email to new subscribers for the first month. This means that you will have 4 opportunities to communicate with the subscriber (getting close to that rule of 7!). Make each email drive home 1 point - for example, one email could be about your WHY, one about your HOW, one about your WHAT and one about your amazing customer reviews.
And there you have it. 5 things that every small business should do to benefit their digital marketing. You may have done some of these already, or you may have done none. No matter where you are in your marketing journey, it’s never too late to optimise.
Hedgehog is a digital marketing consultancy that helps small businesses to sell more online. Learn more here.