Few people on the team, lack of time, tight budgets...I'm sure you can relate.

Small businesses need to leverage the most effective digital marketing channels.

You want to get results relatively quickly without spending a fortune...And possibly outsource the management of your marketing campaigns so you can focus on your biz.

At our Boutique Marketing Agency, most clients are SMBs. So, I'll show you the 4 types of digital marketing that work best for small businesses.

We'll talk about how to reach your target audience relying on:

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
  • Content Marketing (CM)
  • Social Media Marketing (SMM)

My name is Evan Ernst, and I'm the founder of Ernst Media. Before we dive into each marketing strategy, let me answer one important question.

Why These 4 Types of Digital Marketing for Small Businesses?

SEO, SEM, CM, and SMM are the ideal digital marketing channels for small businesses because they complement each other.

They create an interconnected ecosystem that increases online visibility and customer engagement in all digital marketing funnel stages.

And in case you wonder...Yes, I have them in this particular order for a reason. Reading through the article, you'll find out why. Let's get right into it.

By the way, if you aren't sure whether digital marketing is the right way to advertise your business...I answer the most important questions in this article.

Basic Search Engine Optimization

basic SEO is the foundation of digital marketing strategies

If you're going to do digital marketing, you need a website. But great design and content don't mean a thing if your site can't appear in search results.

That's why you need to start with basic SEO.

It's the foundation of your future digital marketing efforts that will grow your small business.

Like Darren Varndell said:

"The time spent building a solid foundation will pay for itself ten-fold"

Technical SEO

Technical SEO is needed for your website's backend structure. It helps search engines crawl, index, and understand your content.

This involves improving site speed, ensuring mobile-friendliness, creating an XML sitemap, and enhancing site security with HTTPS.

The end result will be good site visibility and ranking potential, which will help your small business reap more SEO benefits later on...And, of course, a seamless user experience for your potential customers.

We've had clients who neglected this part and regret it. If you think you can do it later, don't...It's going to hurt your marketing budget.

On-Page SEO

On-page SEO means optimizing individual pages and blog posts.

You need to understand the different types of keywords and how to find them. Then, add those in title tags, headings, and meta descriptions of each page.

Each one of your product/service pages should be optimized for a specific keyword related to your business. Then, internally link the relevant pages.

Another critical ranking factor is what Google calls EEAT (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness). You need to prove that you're a real business.

Apart from all the legal pages, you need to create:

  • About Page - Tell a story about your background, education, skills, experience, etc. (use keywords)
  • Team Page - Write a bio for each member and link to a social media profile that proves their expertise
  • Contact Page - Your company, email, phone number, and address linking to a Google business profile

Once you've completed that, your business website is ready for visitors. It's time for a paid digital marketing strategy...the mighty PPC advertising.

Search Engine Marketing for Instant Visibility

small businesses can get on top of search results with SEM

Completing the basic SEO tasks won't get you any website traffic, but...It will help you utilize the advantages of SEM. I'm sure you don't mind having new customers find you every day, right?

As a small business owner, advertising on Google is your best option for generating quick results.

You already have primary keywords used for your main web pages. Now, target the same ones with your paid ads.

When your landing pages and ads are optimized for the same keywords, your ad quality score improves...And a higher quality score means lower cost per click!

As I mentioned, these 4 types of digital marketing are best because they create synergies.

Search ads for B2B, Shopping campaigns for e-commerce, LSAs or Google Maps ads for those targeting a local market...I discuss those options to promote your business on Google in this article.

Bottom line is that as a small business, you want sales now.

Instead of trying to sell to people scrolling through their social media feeds...Use search engine marketing to show up in front of those looking for what you offer.

Search engines are used by 81% of people looking for information on the internet (SmartInsights)

Content Marketing to Educate and Build Trust

using educational content marketing for organic traffic and authority

Now that you have ads running, you need to focus your digital marketing efforts on organic traffic.

The goal is establishing yourself as an expert and your brand as an authority. You achieve that by creating educational blog content. And no, you don't do that for prestige...it leads to more sales down the road.

As Josh Kaufman explains in his book "The Personal MBA"

"Education-Based Selling is the process of making your prospects better and more informed customers"

But How Do You Get Article Ideas?

Revisit your existing keywords and find related (long-tail) terms with informational intent. These are search queries that people type in Google when looking for solutions, instructions, comparisons, pricing, etc.

Depending on what stage of the marketing funnel you'll capture them, you can either:

Point people to another article for more information or send them to your business pages.

Not everyone will spend money with you right away as they aren't at this stage of the customer journey. However, when you prove yourself as an expert, they'll remember your brand.

I have our logo on each image for the same reason.

Even if you don't do remarketing, those folks are more likely to click on one of your existing ads in the future. Once they're ready to make informed decisions, they'll use transactional keywords in Google.

In case you're a small business offering B2B solutions and looking for leads, do this:

In your articles, include a call to action, asking potential customers to leave their email in exchange for something valuable...Guides, E-books, free software trials, etc.

With time, you'll generate leads, and those will help your email marketing efforts.

To wrap up this section, I'll say this...Educational content doesn't deliver quick results but plays a key role in your digital marketing strategy:

  • It helps you build a strong online presence
  • It boosts your SEO by attracting backlinks
  • It improves the ad relevance of SEM campaigns

Social Media Marketing for Brand Awareness (Not Only)

The purpose of social media in digital marketing

With SMM, you tie everything together by distributing your content across various social media platforms. That's why I have it as number 4 in the types of digital marketing for small businesses.

Many marketers suggest the main purpose is to build a community around your brand, but I disagree. You can do a lot more than that.

Here are a few examples of what works for our clients at Ernst Media:

  • You can invest a portion of your digital marketing budget in building a Facebook page. Then, start sharing your articles to drive website traffic.
  • You can grow a LinkedIn profile by connecting with people who match your target audience. Then, start a newsletter, use portions of your educational content, and send folks to read the full version on your site.

As a small business, it's impossible to be present on all social media channels. To succeed with your digital marketing strategy, find out where your target audience hangs out and focus there.

In an interview for Business and Tech, Gary Vee said the following:

"If it’s a B2B small business, it’s LinkedIn - pictures and videos, but then spend media behind it. If it’s a consumer product, YouTube and Facebook are where to go"

Each social media platform has advertising options if you want to speed up the process. We run ads for all our clients' social media marketing campaigns.

And yes, when properly set up, they work. The digital marketing KPIs we track prove it.

Influencer marketing also works for some industries. But to be honest, lately, we haven't focused too much on influencers, as we don't see the same results.

Let me end this section with a valuable piece of advice:

Regardless of the social media platform you choose, pay close attention to the engagement and insights. They'll tell you a lot about your target customers.

When managing SMM for clients, we use this data to make each digital marketing campaign more effective.

Need Help with Your Digital Marketing Plan?

work with a boutique digital marketing agency to grow your business

The Summary

These are the ideal 4 digital marketing strategies for a small business. At Ernst Media, we use those together to help SMBs boost visibility, engagement, and growth.

SEO optimizes your website for organic search, while SEM uses paid ads to ensure a solid search engine presence. CM enhances SEO and SEM efforts with relevant content, and SMM promotes it to build a community and generate more leads.

There is no dilemma about the importance of digital marketing nowadays.

Try utilizing at least two of the channels we discussed from the get-go, and you'll see results. One of the most common mistakes of small businesses is thinking that focusing on one platform will do.