Ever since COVID slammed the world, the way you grow your business changed. Here are 5 digital marketing strategies for small business in 2021.
As we entered the new decade of the 2020s, digital marketing was rising in importance. The “retail apocalypse” was already a prominent phenomenon in other countries, most notably in the United States. It wasn’t as pronounced in Australia as it was in the USA – but bricks-and-mortar retail sector had similarly begun floundering in about 2018. As of early 2020, there were numerous retail stores that were at risk of permanently closing.
During the early days of the COVID-19 crisis, with many brick-and-mortar stores having been forced by the government to close, online shopping surged in popularity. Along with it, digital marketing took a huge leap up in importance. Regardless of what happens next with the Coronavirus crisis, online shopping and digital marketing are likely to remain popular.
All of this leaves many business owners and executives wondering how to transition their marketing efforts to the digital environment. Perhaps you’re one of the people in need of information about how to market a business online. If so, consider implementing one or more of the following 5 digital marketing strategies for small business in 2021:
1. Word-Of-Mouth Digital Marketing
You’re no doubt already familiar with the concept of word-of-mouth marketing. This can happen either face-to-face or online. The online version is also known as digital word-of-mouth marketing. You can learn more about that in our digital word-of-mouth marketing guide.
2. Content Marketing
In the past, many businesses used advertising methods that would blatantly attempt to get consumers’ attention by interrupting what they were doing to display the marketing message. Television commercials are a fantastic example of this. So are the ads that appear in the middle of newspaper columns or the banner ads that blink at you from the sidebars of websites and blogs.
Some marketers got smarter and realised that people don’t want to be interrupted as they go about their business online.
Content marketing is an innovative concept. It starts with keyword discovery to know what you should write about. Instead of creating distractions and interruptions, marketers decided to focus on creating useful content, including videos, articles, case studies and blog posts, that people would want to seek out, engage with and learn from. Not surprisingly, content marketing is one of the most effective forms of digital marketing.
3. Influencer Marketing
“Influencers” have been with us well before the digital age began. In times past, society’s influencers tended to be royalty, politicians, movie stars, musicians and other people who were in the public eye.
With the rise in prominence of social media, however, there are now vast opportunities for ordinary people to become “influencers”.
Also read how to develop a Goal-Driven Social Media Marketing Plan
Influencers use one or more social media platforms regularly, post interesting content and engage with the people who respond to that content. By doing this habitually, they build loyal followings of people who care about their opinion and pay attention to what they post.
Influencer marketing happens when a brand connects with one or more of these influencers, incentivising the influencers to share the brand’s marketing message with their followers.
4. Search Engine Optimisation
Search engine optimisation is the practice of optimising a website to attract traffic via search engines. As search engines become more diversified, SEO has also evolved. There are now many different facets of SEO, each targeting a different type of search that an end user could perform. These include the following:
- Organic SEO
- Local SEO
- Image Search Optimisation
- News Search Optimisation
- Voice SEO
Read our detailed guide: Top 10 SEO Ranking Factors
It is possible for a digital marketer to specialize in one or more of these aspects of SEO.
5. Affiliate Marketing
Bricks-and-mortar merchants often hire commissioned salespeople to sell their products to existing customers and introduce their offerings to new customers. Affiliate marketing has similarities to this model, although there are also pronounced differences.
In an affiliate marketing model, the merchant pays other website owners or social media users to refer visitors to the merchant’s site. One significant difference is that with affiliate marketing, there is not usually an employer-employee relationship.
There is typically a written agreement in place specifying the nature of the relationship. In many cases, the merchant will pay commissions on sales, but other types of arrangements are also possible. For example, a merchant might pay the affiliate to refer leads or email signups.
Want to see a fantastic example? We have an affiliate program to reward people for spreading the word about our site. If you’re interested in affiliate marketing, we invite you to check it out.
These are not the only methods you could use for marketing a business online. However, these are some of the most popular and effective marketing approaches people are currently using. It’s also possible to use offline methods and other methods to drive traffic to a business website; but some of these other methods tend to be either more expensive or less effective than the ones mentioned above.
Learning Digital Marketing Strategies for Small Business
Digital marketing is an ever-evolving topic with many facets. As new technologies, social media platforms and other innovations become available, they influence the landscape of digital marketing, bringing with them an abundance of new things to learn. It can be a challenge to keep up.
This is one reason why increasing numbers of companies are hiring digital marketing specialists who focus exclusively on reaching new and existing customers via the internet. In the 2020s, it is entirely viable to choose a career and earn a respectable living as a digital marketer. In fact, many digital marketers specialise in one facet of digital marketing – perhaps SEO, influencer marketing or affiliate marketing.
There are numerous ways to gain the skills necessary for becoming a digital marketer. However, they are fraught with pitfalls. There are countless spammers and scammers selling information products who will promise that you’ll learn everything you need to know about digital marketing if you sign up for their course or buy their e-book. Most of them don’t live up to the promises.
Pursuing a Marketing Degree
The good news is that there are now many reputable universities teaching digital marketing courses and offering digital marketing degree programs, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels. If you want to be taken seriously as a digital marketer, particularly if you want to be hired by a respected global corporation, it is worth considering enrollment in one of these programs.
To get hired as a marketing professional in Australia, according to the Australian Government National Skills Commission, you’ll usually need to obtain at least a bachelor’s degree in a related field such as marketing, advertising, business management, commerce or communications. It is less common, although possible, for marketers to obtain vocational education and training (VET training) in this specialisation.
This field is becoming increasingly competitive. To qualify for the best senior-level marketing jobs such as CMO (chief marketing officer), product marketing manager, brand manager or director of marketing, it is beneficial to obtain a master’s degree in digital marketing. This skill set can be very useful in implementing digital marketing strategies for small business.
It is also necessary to have achieved significant expertise; you will most likely need to demonstrate some marketing success stories if you hope to be considered for one of these well-respected roles. In many cases, CMOs and brand managers have put significant effort into developing their own personal brands in addition to obtaining relevant training.
These are some of the most important things to know about digital marketing strategies for small business. If you’re interested in marketing a business online, you’ll want to consider choosing one or more of these 5 strategies to begin with; just be aware that there is always more to learn about the vast and varied digital marketing niche.