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Digital Advertising 101: The Top 7 Things You Must Know for Your Small Business

Digital Advertising 101: The Top 7 Things You Must Know for Your Small Business

For small business owners, taking the plunge into the world of digital advertising can feel a bit intimidating. From SEO to social media, there is a lot that goes into a successful digital advertising strategy. Understanding the different facets of digital marketing and how they can work together to grow your business will make all the difference for your efforts.

A strong digital presence is more important than ever, even for traditionally brick and mortar businesses. According to data from Oberlo, 63 percent of “shopping occasions” start online, rather than in-store. In fact, close to 50 percent of consumers now do more of their shopping on a mobile device than in a physical store.

Unsurprisingly, the shift toward digital transactions has been further fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing many brands to adapt to local social distancing restrictions and safety-minded customer preferences.

While most small businesses find it beneficial to partner with a digital advertising agency to grow their online presence, this doesn’t mean you don’t need to know anything yourself. Understanding a few essentials about advertising your small business online will help you know how to allocate your marketing dollars and develop a strategy that delivers meaningful revenue growth.

7 Digital Advertising Basics Every Small Business Should Know

1. Your Website is Part of Your Digital Advertising

When used properly, your physical storefront can be a powerful marketing tool in and of itself. An attractive window display, clean and organized layout and friendly staff communicate your brand values and compel customers to make a purchase. In many ways, your website serves a similar role online.

Even if you don’t make sales directly on your website, it serves as your digital “home base” for reaching your customers. Seventy-five percent of customers judge your brand’s credibility based on the quality of its website. A clean, attractive design that is easy to navigate and functions properly helps communicate a professional image for your brand.

The right layout and a compelling call to action can also have a dramatic impact on your ability to get sales and leads. Web design companies often conduct extensive A/B testing of various on-page elements to find the combination that drives the greatest revenue growth. Even a minor text adjustment or changing colors could dramatically improve website sales.

2. Local SEO Can Have the Biggest Impact for Your Growth

Most business owners have heard of search engine optimization, and understand that it helps them rank higher in Google search results. Quite often, however, small business owners think they need to compete with the entire internet, when in reality, a focus on local SEO can prove to be much more effective for their brand.

Local SEO favors local customers when you include location information (such as your phone number and physical address) on your site. Claiming a Google My Business profile will also help your business show up in searches done by local customers. Sometimes, you can even incorporate local keywords into your website content for added effectiveness.

A focus on local SEO means you don’t have to worry about competing with national brands. Instead, you can focus on customers in your area — the people who are most likely to buy from you. In fact, studies suggest that 50 percent of those who conduct a local search on a phone will visit a physical location within 24 hours. 97 percent of customers use local search to find businesses in their area.

3. Not All Social Media Platforms Are Created Equal

Aside from SEO, social media typically gets the most attention when digital advertising is discussed. This is hardly surprising — after all, Facebook, Instagram and other social platforms have completely changed the way we interact with each other and our favorite brands. Sometimes, however, small businesses stretch themselves too thin by trying to build a presence across too many social media channels.

While a presence on Facebook is a good idea for most small businesses, things tend to get a bit murky with other platforms. Evaluating your own target audience and the user base of various social media channels will help you determine which platforms should be a focus of your digital advertising campaign.

For example, while Pew Research shows that only 25 percent of Americans use LinkedIn, this number increases dramatically among those with a college degree and an annual income of $75,000 or more. Thanks to its focus on careers and employment, LinkedIn is highly effective for B2B services. On the other hand, it would not be a good fit for brands trying to sell inexpensive consumer products.

4. Your Customers Are More Persuasive Than You’ll Ever Be

You could invest thousands or even millions of dollars into a digital advertising campaign, but at the end of the day, most customers simply aren’t going to trust paid marketing. On the other hand, the vast majority of consumers trust word of mouth recommendations and online reviews — even when they are from people they don’t personally know. 

In fact, according to BrightLocal, 88 percent of people trust online reviews just as much as a personal recommendation. A report from AdWeek further notes that 74 percent of customers say that word of mouth is “a key influencer” when making a buying decision.

Needless to say, collecting customer reviews on your Google and Facebook profiles (and other online platforms) should be a top priority. Highlighting positive testimonials offers powerful social proof that customers can trust.

5. Don’t Expect a Sale From the First Visit

While digital advertising can be a great way of generating additional revenue, you shouldn’t set unrealistic expectations. According to Invesp, the average conversion rate on e-commerce websites is 2.86 percent.

While this sounds like a low number, it is important to place it in context. When 92 percent of consumers visit a business’s website for the first time, they aren’t doing it to make a purchase. Instead, they are using it to learn more about your brand, compare prices or gather basic information like your store hours.

Many of these visitors won’t make a purchase the first time they visit your site. But if it is set up well, they will come back to your website after they’ve done some more research to make a purchase. Or they’ll call you on the phone to discuss your services or go to your brick and mortar location to make an in-person purchase. The online conversion rate doesn’t always tell the full story.

6. Analytics on Your Side

While tracking the conversion rate on your website and social media marketing campaigns is important, this isn’t the be-all end-all of the data you can (and should) be collecting. Other stats, like the total reach of your marketing, number of website visits, and the cost per acquisition will also tell you whether your digital advertising is truly effective.

The good news is that digital platforms make it easy to track and collect this information. Of course, interpreting what those numbers mean is another matter. It is important to place your information in context so that you can understand how different campaign actions are — or aren’t — affecting your results.

This is a big part of why A/B testing is so important in the digital world. As noted previously, even a minor change can lead to a dramatic shift in lead acquisition or your cost per customer. Asking a specific question and running tests is essential for fine-tuning your digital marketing so you can improve your ROI.

7. Digital Advertising is Constantly Evolving

The internet has dramatically changed the way small businesses approach their advertising campaigns. The thing is, the very nature of the internet means that changes are going to continue happening. The brands that are the most proactive about addressing this shifting landscape are the ones that will cruise past their competition.

For example, Google frequently updates its algorithms, meaning that your website and its content could require adjustments to enhance SEO outcomes. It seems like new social media platforms are constantly popping up (like TikTok and Twitch, just to name a few), presenting new opportunities and challenges for reaching an increasingly fractured audience.

To have success in digital advertising, you must remain on top of current trends and changes so you can reach your customers at the right time and place.

Preparing for a Digital Future

Even if your small business is heavily reliant on foot traffic and brick and mortar sales, building an online presence should still be at the top of your to-do list. By taking advantage of the many tools and channels available through digital advertising, you will vastly improve the reach of your messaging, helping more people discover your business than was possible in the past.

At KAHA, our team is ready to partner with you on this important journey. Drawing from over 15 years of digital advertising experience, our specialized team will help you develop a revenue-generating website, improve your SEO rankings and even get more customer reviews to strengthen your online presence. Our tried and tested system and tools are ready to help your business scale like never before!

Interested in Working with KAHA to Improve Your Digital Advertising?

Let us help you develop and execute a comprehensive digital advertising strategy. Our services are competitively priced and produce meaningful results for businesses. Interested in learning more? Book your FREE strategy session ($1,000 value) today!