Digital Marketing for Small Business Owners — Part 2

Digital marketing strategy saying research, analytics, implementation, measuring and managing results is all key parts.

I hope the first part of my Digital Marketing for small businesses blog provided you with a good basis to help develop your understanding of website SEO, social media marketing, email marketing and content digital marketing. All of which are the forms of Digital Marketing, you can look to implement yourself.

But most importantly, I hope the first blog gave you enough information to help you decide what approaches would be best for your business.

In this final part of my blog, I will be covering the main Paid digital marketing options.

  1. PPC — Pay Per Click
  2. Influencer Marketing
  3. Lead Generation
  4. Affiliate Marketing

1) Pay per click (PPC)

Pay per click (PPC) is an online marketing approach in which the advertiser (Business owner) pays each time a user client on one of their online ads.

Paid search engine ads are the most common type of PPC advertising. You may be familiar with seeing Google Ads at the top of a search results list.

With PPC you pay each time a user clicks on your ad. Essentially, PPC is a targeted way of buying visits to your website that will hopefully end in conversions, whether that is a sale, or sign-up etc.

Some people view this form of marketing as a way of buying visits to your site, rather than attempting to “earn” those visits organically. But any paid marketing strategy could be viewed as this. Therefore it is fairer to see this form of Digital marketing as investing in your business to generate leads and potential new customers.

PPC marketing is a very targeted approach. It is only those people searching for your products or services who will see your Ad.

A business can achieve this by implementing an online or search engine ad campaign which allows you to bid for ad placements in a search engine or a website sponsored link.

When referring to well-known search engine ad campaigns such as Google Ads, this means when someone searches on a keyword that is related to your business or offering it can be shown in a prominent high ranking position on the search results page.

Every time your ad is clicked on, it will send a visitor to your website, and this is when you have to pay a fee.

Your entire PPC campaign will need to be built around keywords. The most successful Google Ads will be continuously refined to ensure their PPC keyword list continuously captures new audiences and customers.

Sadly search engine paid Ads don’t just automatically show up on result lists, the ad must match the users intent; otherwise, the ad is considered by the search engine as irrelevant and won’t appear.

For a small business owner, using this form of digital marketing, you need to be aware the search engine will look to match your ad with a user’s intent, using something called the ‘Ad Auction’.

What is the Ad Auction:

The business that is marketing their product or service via the search engine will bid on keywords that they want to prompt and display in their advert. Keywords shouldn’t be confused with search queries: the keyword links to the advertised product, whereas the search query is what the customer puts into Google.

The ad auction is used to select the ads that will appear on your pages and determine how much you’ll earn from those ads. In a traditional auction, interested bidders state the maximum price that they’re willing to pay to buy a specific item.

The auction is automated and runs off a set of predetermined metrics, taking into account the advertisers budget, target market, and keywords they have decided to bid on. Those keywords should be relevant to your product/service and be search-engine friendly.

The bidder’s position, known as the Ad Rank, is determined by combining the PPC bid and the quality score of the ad itself. Low-quality ads are not looked upon favourably, so the winner isn’t necessarily the highest bidder.

If your ad has won the bid — and is judged to be a suitable fit with the search intent of the customer — your PPC ad will appear at the top of the search page. If the customer clicks on your ad, you will then pay a fee determined by how much you bid on that keyword.

BENEFITS of PPC

The most significant benefit of PPC campaigns for a small business looking to use this form of digital marketing is that it can position your company at the top of the search engine results page. While it’s always possible to improve your organic search strategy in an attempt to rank in a higher position, it is not easy to achieve. Whereas with a high-quality ad and the right keywords, a pay per click campaign can guarantee it, however, it will cost you to accomplish this, and it can mount up.

The end goal is to create a great ad that will generate a lot of interest, that encourages customers to click-through and hopefully make a purchase.

Here is a link to google regarding the costing involved for Google Ad word campaign.

COSTS

The cost is very much dependent on how many ads you place, and how much you spend on the ad auction. In theory, PPC can become quite expensive, but it’s possible to set an achievable budget. For example, if you use Google Ad words campaign, you should ensure you only spend whatever is affordable to you. Please add a budget cap for your PPC campaign to control the spending.

2) Influencer marketing

Influencer marketing uses top social media content creators, specialised in their respective fields, to help you improve brand awareness, increase traffic, and drive your brands’ message to your target audience. These content creators already market to your ideal audience across different channels which you can take advantage of.

Picture showing influencer marketing, with someone at a laptop and then a group of people reading there post/blog.

The influencer will then feature your product or service as part of a social media post or campaign. Their followers then become interested in your product/service and, all being well, will seek to find out more via your website or social platforms. Which within an ideal scenario convert to sales.

Influencers have already built a loyal following of people who trust them. So when they tell their fans and followers about how great your products and services are, there is a much higher chance that their audience will convert, simply because they need the product and trust the influencer.

Typically, a business using an Influencer will give a unique discount code to the influencer’s audience to track how effective the campaign is.

This can be a very effective digital marketing approach for a small business. It immediately opens up new customer markets and greater levels of penetration into chosen target groups, with very little effort on your part.

Typically, there are five types of influencers:

  • Micro-Influencer — They create relevant content for their audience and communicate with them via social media platforms, blogs, other written publications, websites, and forums. Due to the size of their following and the type of content they create, they typically have high engagement rates.
  • Celebrity Influencer — Celebrity influencers are famous people with large followings — typically in the millions — who are known across many industries. They’re widely recognised and, therefore, have the potential to be very successful in influencing your target audience.
  • Blog Influencer — A blog influencer is someone who writes for their established blog and has thousands, or millions, of subscribers and readers.
  • Social Media Influencer — Social media influencers are well-recognised on social platforms, such as Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter, and are followed by thousands or even millions of people
  • Key Opinion Leader — are high-level experts on a specialised topic within a particular field.

BENEFITS of Influencer Marketing

60% of Consumers have been Influenced by Social Media or blogs while shopping at a store.

Influencer marketing provides an opportunity for a business to leverage the power of an influencers social media presence by utilising their already large following.

Influencer marketing provides a small business with a very focused digital marketing strategy. You need to carefully consider the influencer to ensure they are appropriate to your consumer market and have a target audience that is relevant to yours. You can gain immediate visibility to a higher proportion of potential customers and followers than you previously were able to reach.

COSTS

There’s no exact science to figuring out how much you should pay an Influencer.

But there are some approaches you can use to help identify the most appropriate way to compensate the influencers such as; a cash lump sum, free products, discounts or commission.

But what is critical to remember when using Influencer marketing is to ensure you track your ROI. Not only does this show you what is and is not working, but it also puts you in a position to tweak your strategy and increase your budget in the future and understand if you have identified the right type of influencer.

Below are some illustrations with a breakdown of some assumed standardised costs for using Influencer marketing.

3) Lead generation

Lead generation describes the marketing process of stimulating and capturing interest in a product or service to develop a sales pipeline. Lead generation uses various digital marketing channels, as it opens up a vast audience of potential customers.

One of the main factors to a successful business is the generation of new sales leads.

Lead generation is a marketing term for creating or generating the interests of prospective customers in a product or service being offered by a seller.

For a small business lead generating marketing activities enables you to capture your “lead” potential customers to make them take the first step in your sales cycle.

Lead generation is broken down into sets of marketing activities that correspond with stages of the buyer’s journey — starting with generating traffic, then converting visitors into leads, and eventually converting those leads into customers.

85% of expert marketers say that lead generation marketing is the most important element in their marketing arsenal and can often be the most successful in regards to ROI (Return on Investment.)

A lead generation funnel works by taking a large number of potential prospects and whittling them down to converted leads. Each step of the funnel moves the prospects further towards being paying customers.

These leads can then be placed into a CRM system via email addresses. The information captured through lead generation can assist you in converting the leads into buying customers by applying different marketing tactics by nurturing the relationship and continuing to inform them of your business, product(s), service(s).

Marketing funnel. First is marketing activities, then enquiries, then lead qualification, then sales team convert to client.
Marketing funnel.

Some methods of Lead Generation via Digital marketing techniques consist of:

  • Capturing leads through website forms
  • Generating leads through Google Ads
  • Using direct emails to attract new potential leads — send Content — blogs, newsletter, How To’s.
  • Use email lists to capture new leads
  • social media leads
  • Pop up forms
  • Free Demos and Trial
Hubspot picture of marketing lead generation diagram: 1. ATTRACT, 2. CONVERT, 3.CLOSE, 4. DELIGHT CUSTOMER.
Hubspot picture of marketing lead generation diagram: 1. ATTRACT, 2. CONVERT, 3.CLOSE, 4. DELIGHT CUSTOMER.
Hubspot picture of marketing lead generation diagram: 1. ATTRACT, 2. CONVERT, 3.CLOSE, 4. DELIGHT CUSTOMER.

BENEFITS of Lead Generation

The main benefit for a small business to utilise lead generation as part of your digital marketing strategy is that it can direct and engage more traffic to your website, with the end goal of boosting sales and improving the conversion rate.

However, it also supports your business in the following ways:

Build brand awareness — The greater the number of people that are aware of your brand, the stronger your reputation and in turn the higher the profit potential.

Increase in Sales and Profit Ratio — Businesses that use lead generation programs are more likely to make more sales by turning leads into full paying customers. This can also increase the profit margins of your business.

Positive ROI — lead generation contributes to a better Return on Investment. You pay for the leads received and the time invested in converting the leads into sales/customers.

Good for targeting ideal customers — Lead generation allows you to target your desired customers by focusing on different factors, such as demographics or location amongst many others. This provides you to opportunity to decide on where you think you might make more sales.

Collection of important data of potential clients — Lead generation allows you to collect important information about a prospect, their needs, preferences, which can help you tailor the value of your product or service to meet their wants, interests and/or needs when you make contact with the prospect.

COST

The answer depends on how willing you are to engage your audience and invest in a lead capturing activity. Whether it is a one-time tactic or an ongoing strategy.

Digital lead generation utilises traditional direct marketing tactics via online/digital channels. An excellent digital lead generating campaign should drive immediate results as well as nurture decision-makers through their evaluation of purchasing options, which can be very profitable for a small business.

It also enables you to target customers and penetrate new customer markets with direct and specific communication.

4) Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is a more suitable digital marketing approach for a small business selling a product such as kitchen appliances or online training courses.

Affiliate marketing in simple terms is when a business pays another business (known as the affiliate) to generate interest in their products by online advertising. The main aim is to create more traffic to the businesses website, with the end purpose of selling their products.

The affiliate earns a commission once customers purchase something from your website. They will generally get paid for each new customer they generate for your business when the customer completes a transaction.

The customer has to go through the affiliate’s website to qualify as a sale for them.

The primary purpose of the affiliate is to attract and convince potential customers of the value of your product, so the customer ends up buying it.

BENEFITS of Affiliate Marketing

For a small business, this approach provides extra advertising, via a third party but also additional traffic to your website, which in turn means you not only sell more products but will receive traffic from areas of the web you would otherwise be unable to reach.

This approach is based on wanting to drive more traffic to your website and increasing your sales. Therefore, this type of digital marketing is also referred to as performance-based digital marketing, meaning that you pay the affiliate on delivery. This is also referred to as a revenue-sharing sales approach.

It can be cost-effective if you get the right commission structure with your affiliate.

Affiliates can rapidly scale your traffic and sales.

Affiliate marketing as a form of digital marketing can be a very effective, low-risk investment to help expand small business marketing efforts beyond the traditional bandwidth.

Many product-based businesses often find affiliate marketing is worth the investment and can take your online sales to new heights.

COSTS

Affiliate marketing does not have a one fits all pricing structure. The costs involved will be based partly on the earnings per click (EPC) that the business/product generates for them. This is not based solely on the commission that is being paid but also takes into account the conversion rate of your website.

If you have a website that converts at a higher rate than your competitors, you will not necessarily need to pay as much on commission/percentage, as affiliates will earn more money for each click through to your site. Of course, you may need to make an extra effort to tell your affiliate marketer this is the reason for lower commissions, but site conversion is often overlooked as a key priority within the affiliate channel and a well-optimised site will always be looked on favourably by affiliates.

When determining the affiliate commission rates, companies will often take into account the price of the product.

In general, lower-priced products will have higher commission rates, while products with higher prices will have lower commission rates.

OVERALL BENEFITS FOR A SMALL BUSINESS OWNER TO USE DIGITAL MARKETING

Digital Marketing is an invaluable activity for any small business, as the fundamental purpose of it, is to generate more customers and more sales.

However, as I hope you have become aware from my two blogs, there are several approaches you can adopt. Not every type of digital marketing is necessarily relevant or essential to your business. Some strategies are more appropriate depending on whether you are selling products or services.

But the good news is that you don’t have to invest lots of money straight away in digital marketing to get results, you can implement certain strategies yourself on a limited budget.

But fundamentally, the point of utilising Digital Marketing is that it provides you with the ability to interact with potential customers via online marketing channels. Which in turn, opens up an accessible and cost-effective way of reaching a wider audience.

Using digital forms of marketing is a cheaper method of advertising than traditional marketing/advertising and enables a small business to reach and engage with more customers, get to know your audience and allow them to know your business, brand and ethos which can help to create brand loyalty.

But what is good about digital marketing is the ability to track the results of your marketing efforts immediately and know which approaches are most effective.

It opens up new ways to reach more customers, generate more sales and therefore increase profits.

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