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Online Marketing Survival Guide for Small Businesses: Part 2

Online Marketing Survival Guide for Small Businesses: Part 2

According to a report by the Government of Canada, just over 50% of businesses survive five years or more.  How can you make it to your 5th year in business and beyond? When it comes to the longevity of your small business, implementing online marketing strategies is vital.

In this age of technology and social media, businesses must increasingly rely on their online presence to reach consumers because this is where people are spending their time. The average American spends 24 hours a week on the internet. While Canadians spend slightly less time online, they still spend over 18 hours a week on the internet.   Therefore, your content needs to be front-and-center online.

From these statistics on internet usage in North America, you should note the three main takeaways for how to better market your company.  First, it means that the internet is an easy way to reach a large crowd of potential buyers.  Second, it means that you can know more about your audience or followers by tapping into online data.  Finally, the third takeaway is that you need to know where to spend your budget to make a substantial impact online.

In this article, the experts at Lean Marketing will provide a 5-step digital marketing survival guide to help the longevity of your small business.


1. Email Marketing

Using email marketing is a cost-effective way to reach new and existing customers. Email marketing is 40 times more effective at bringing in new customers than Twitter and Facebook combined.  Choosing the right email marketing application for your business can help boost your sales.

When searching for the right email platform, it is best to consider not only the price but also the features included.  When selecting an email marketing tool, it’s also a good idea to research the number of email templates available, the ability to customize emails, and your ability to track click-through rates and open rates.

a. Pick an Email Marketing Platform

There are plenty of reputable email marketing websites available.  Some of the highest ranked sites for email marketing include MailChimp, AWeber, Campaigner, Constant Contact, Get Response, iContact, and Vertical Response.

b. Build eNewsletter Templates

Creating one email template for all your company newsletters will allow you to plug in new updates while having a consistent branded design. Good things to share in an eNewsletter include promotions, product launches, company updates, milestones, awards, and upcoming events.

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c. Encourage Subscribers

Encourage people to signup to receiving emails by having a contact entry form on your website homepage.  It’s also a good idea to take the contact form simple and minimize the number of clicks it takes to subscribe.

d. Collect and Review Data

To get a sense of how to improve your marketing campaigns, you must analyze the performance of your newsletter. To do this, you will have to check on several key performance indicators, including the open rate, delivery rate, click-to-open rate (CTOR), social sharing rate, and conversion rate.



2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Most internet users do not search past the first page of Google.  Therefore, it is crucial to implement an SEO strategy to make sure your company is in the top results page of Google.

So, how does SEO work? Search engines, such as Google, are continually crawling the web and indexing websites based on how well they meet specific SEO criterion including keyword density, local SEO, link building and use of titles, tags, and meta descriptions.

a. Use SEO Tools

If you have lots of time and resources for SEO, a tool like SEMRush can help increase your search ranking quickly.  If you are a small business or startup with a tighter budget, fret not. There are many free tools to use for SEO. Here are 50 tools for SEO we provide for free at Lean Marketing.

b. Do Keyword Research

How do you conduct keyword research? First, make a list of the keywords related to your business.  Next, use SEO tools to check which keywords are searched for most frequently.

SEO tools can also help you identify longtail keywords.  Longtail keywords are commonly searched phrases related to your core keywords. When you write content with longtail keywords, it has some great benefits.  It can increase your search ranking more quickly, and it can provide some great topic ideas for future blogs.

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c. Use Local SEO & Standard SEO

What’s the difference between local and standard SEO? Local SEO is about optimizing your content, so you appear in local searches. Standard SEO, on the other hand, will increase your search ranking, independent of a geographical location. While both are important, the more tied your business is to one geographical location, the more local SEO matters.

d. Use Titles Tags and Meta Descriptions

A title tag refers to the headline you see on the search engine results page (SERP). To optimize your title tags, they should meet three criteria: they should be short, contain your main focus keyword, and they should describe a benefit.

A meta description tag is defined as a 160-character snippet that summarizes the content of a web page.  This summary information appears in the search results pages so users can determine which link to click on.

e. Use Internal and External Links

To optimize all the blog articles on your website, each must have at least one external link and one internal link. The benefit of having relevant links is that it will improve your website’s visibility and search ranking.

Internal links are hyperlinks that direct to another web page within your website. External links are hyperlinks that redirect to the web page of another website.

When using external links, it is vital to link to credible websites. Why is that? Well, search engines (like Google) base your website’s reputability on the external links you use.

f. Collect and Review Data

Make sure to monitor your SEO efforts so that you can see the change over time.  There are plenty of online tools you can use to analyze your overall website SEO score.  For a full website SEO audit, you can use this free tool provided by Lean Marketing.   You can also install an SEO plugin directly to your website, which will automatically update your SEO score as you make website changes.



3. Reputation Management

Online reputation management is about making sure that you have a genuine, polite, and engaging dialog with the customers who mention you online.  Another often forgot part of reputation management is making sure your business information is current and consistent across all local directories, as it ensures a more seamless buy experience for your clients.

a. Set Up Business Review Pages

It is vital that you claim your business page on these main review sites: Google Reviews, Yelp, Facebook, TripAdvisor (if you cater to travelers), and Foursquare. Having a company review page allows you to manage your online reputation more effectively.

b. Monitor Reviews

It is crucial that you stay on top of reviews and that you respond soon after. Taking too long to respond – or worse, not responding at all – can give the impression that you don’t care about your customers.

To easily monitor your reviews, you can use a review monitoring tool that notifies you of any online mentions of your company.  Here are some great online reputation management tools you can use.

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c. Respond to All Comments

No matter whether comments are positive or negative, it is vital that you reply to all comments online. When responding to online reviews and comments, your tone should be personable and professional.

Try to take the time needed to build a 2-way conversation with your customers.  You can do this by asking questions or by responding to specific elements of the comment, as you would if you were in a conversation with a friend.

d. Keep Info Accurate on Local Directories

If your business moves or updates its contact information, this must be kept up to date on all business listings. Having conflicting contact information can hurt your SEO score since search engines will pick up on the lack of consistency.

Luckily, there are online directory tools you can use to help simplify the process. Enter in your business information once, and it will update across all business directories at once.



4. Automate Marketing Tasks

Marketing done in-house is expensive in terms of time and money.  You can save your resources by using marketing automation tools for repetitive tasks. Marketing automation will help streamline your marketing processes, leaving you extra time for more detail-oriented tasks.

a. Automate Marketing Emails

According to the Litmus 2017 State of Email Report, over 68% of companies spend a week or more on producing just one email. Instead of crafting each newsletter by hand, you can opt for email automation software from one of the best online tools.

The beauty of automated emails is that they auto-send after an “event” is triggered by the email subscriber, such as when they click to view a product.  Examples of automated emails are birthday emails, promotion emails, and welcome emails.

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b. Automate Content Promotion

Writing great content can have a substantial impact on your website’s search ranking.  However, to see the best results, you need to be promoting your content through different social media channels.

Using an automation tool such as Zapier, you can automate sharing your blogs on social media, without having to lift a finger. The second you publish the article, the automation tool will post it to your social media accounts for you.

c. Automate Analytics Reports

When you are doing online marketing, it is vital that you monitor your ROI. Some marketing reports you can automate include website audit reports, SEO reports, social media analytics, and email marketing analytics.

One tool you can use to monitor the customer journey online is HubSpot’s Marketing Analytics.  The software allows you to analyze every step in your marketing funnel to see which web pages, blogs, and social media posts are driving customers to visit your website and buy your products.



5. Use a 360 Marketing Campaign

It may seem counterintuitive that, in a blog on online marketing, we suggest using offline marketing.  However, the most successful marketing campaigns reach consumers through multiple channels.

Moreover, in advertising, there is a term called the “effective frequency” which refers to the number of exposures to a message a consumer needs to have to have the desired response, whether that be buying a product, or subscribing to a newsletter.

According to the Rule of 7, a consumer must be exposed to an ad 7 times before the marketing message will work.

To maximize your brand exposure to the same consumers, you should use both online and offline advertising.  To enhance your online marketing efforts, try selecting one or a couple of offline marketing channel, such as billboards, radio ads, or direct mail.

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Looking for the Best Marketing Agency in Edmonton?

If you are looking for the best marketing services in Edmonton for an affordable price, Lean Marketing is your best option. We are results-oriented, and we are passionate about driving more sales for your business.

Although you could use the Digital Marketing Guide Part 1 and the Online Marketing Survival Guide Part 2 to launch your online presence, it takes a lot of time and resources to complete each step.  A more cost-effective marketing approach involves hiring a great marketing agency to handle your digital marketing for you. We would love to be that agency for you!

Give us a call today and let the experts at Lean Marketing handle all your marketing services for you.

Contact us today to launch your presence online!


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