Years ago, digital marketing was a nice-to-have but many small businesses got by without it, relying on word-of-mouth and traditional advertising

Today, those mediums are not as effective as consumers now go straight to a search engine on their mobile phone when they need to find something. Small businesses that haven’t invested in digital marketing won’t get seen and their competitors will get all the business. Here are five digital marketing tips that small business owners need to know.

Focus on local

If you’re a local business (not online) that depends on people in the community visiting your store, then you really need to make sure that your business is being found by locals. That means your website’s title tags and meta descriptions should include the name of the city or town you’re located in.

That way, when people search for a type of business in your city, your site will be more likely to show up on the first page of the search results. Also make sure you’re on any relevant directories like Google and Yelp. They’re free and they’ll help you get more business since people often use these directories to find local businesses and read review, additionally if you have not claimed your business online look into doing so.

Claiming your business on Google. (Youtube: Google)

Optimize for mobile

More than half of your web traffic will originate from mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. You want to make sure that your website is optimized for mobile devices and that mobile load times are fast as well. A negative experience trying to load or navigate a site not optimized for mobile will send potential customers to your competition.

Try SMS marketing

You don’t have to be a big company to invest in SMS marketing. Bulk SMS platforms are easily scalable so it can be as big or as small as you need it to be. Register a shortcode and keyword to simplify the opt-in process.

Find ways to get permission from regular customers to send them text messages. You can do this at the point of sale in-store or at online checkout. You can also use SMS to send appointment reminders and shipment notifications. SMS is a great way to set up a loyalty club where your regular customers can be notified of exclusive deals just for them.

Start building a social media presence

Social media marketing is free to get started with but you also have the option to invest money if you want to sponsor posts so that people who don’t follow you on a given platform can still see your content. If you regularly post interesting content and if you’re quick to respond to customers who engage with your content or message you on the social media platform, you’ll eventually establish a good social media following who will do some of your marketing for you for free by sharing your page with their friends.

Keep track of ROI and other metrics

Key performance indicators can help you measure the effectiveness of your various mobile marketing efforts. There are plenty of tools that help you keep track of important metrics. Of course the most important metric regardless of channel is going to be your return on investment. Keep track of what you’re spending and what you’re making in return to determine how you want to allocate your marketing budget in the future across different channels. As you test new strategies and pay attention to the results, you can continuously fine tune your digital marketing strategy to make it more effective for your small business.

How to measure and improve your digital marketing ROI. (LyfeMarekting)