So, where do I start? That’s one of the most common question small business owners have once they’ve established a business or for businesses they are in the process of establishing. That question is similar to asking “what’s the right way to get there” without specifying where ‘there’ is so we’ve come up with a series of articles, videos, and podcasts to point you in the right direction.

When you’re gearing up to market your small business there are a few key components & questions you will need to understand before even considering developing a plan. First, we are going to cover the basics of digital marketing as they relate to small businesses, such as branding and a website. After we establish a digital presence we can explore a few different types of advertising your business as well as ways to determine the efficacy of each platform.

A brand is the foundation upon which your business persona is built and includes everything from business name to the colors on a business card. Here are a couple quick steps to coming up with your business’s branding package:

  1. Identify the type of image you want portray based on what you sell, who you sell it to, and your value proposition.
  2. Pick a name that is memorable but not hard to pronounce.
  3. Hire a graphic designer to create a logo, business card, and brand guide (this will cost $75-$300)

Pro Tip: Already pick your business name? Is it something like XYZ123 & Sons Corporation of America? It’s an easy process to file a Doing Business As (DBA) name which will allow you to operate and accept transactions under your brand’s name.

You’ve got your brand, a product or service, and a face to sell – but how are customers going to find you? In today’s society a Website, Google Listing, and Facebook Page are the go-to for customers to find your business. When it comes to building a website there are literally THOUSANDS of What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) services such as Square Space, GoDaddy Website Builder, and Inkaloo. Each of those WYSIWYG website builders, while meeting specific needs, often fall short of the professional look a business needs to captivate customers and ultimately convert. Focus on creating a website that is representative of your brand and the products & services you sell; it must be unique, creative, easy to use, and media rich (text, graphic, and video content) to support each style of learning/buying.

Pro Tip: If you built your own website using a WYSIWYG editor a savvy customer can tell. Think of the time you spent building the website, factor how much your time is worth, and often times your time-cost is far greater than if you were to pay someone… and it’s done right the first time.

One of the biggest questions we receive is how do I reach more people and turn them into customers? Easy! Advertise. The key to getting started is determining what type of advertising strategy is best for engaging with customers; the key to success is accurately measuring the Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) and effectiveness of each advertising channel.

There are three primary types of advertising used in today’s digital world and we refer to them as Push, Pull, and Retargeting.

Push marketing is when you pick an audience based on factors such as demographic, location, and interests then deliver the message to as many people as your budget will allow. Push marketing provides an opportunity to engage with people who aren’t necessarily looking for your product but share similar qualities with your customer base. Most common channel: Facebook Ads.

Pull marketing, typically more costly to reach large audiences than push marketing, yield higher quality leads because the customer is already looking for what you have to offer. The principle of pull marketing is to setup a trigger, such as a keyword, then promote your business through the method it was triggered. Most common channel: Google AdWords.

Retargeting is by far the most effective type of advertising because it combines push and pull advertising to blast your message at customers already interested in your business. It’s often referred to as ‘second stage’ because it requires collecting a large amount of visitors, also referred to as pixel data, to identify your retarget audience. Most common channels: Google AdWords & Facebook Ads (combined).

Pro Tip: Operating a business costs money, marketing costs money, advertising costs money, but like effective operation of a business effective marketing and advertising can make money. When it comes to setting a marketing and advertising budget consider the cost of a prospect, lead, and conversion then factor that into your business goals and work backward from there.

We’ve covered a lot in this article, from logos to paid advertising, but it’s not as scary as it sounds. Many small business owners who understand the basic principles of marketing and are willing to learn have successfully kicked off an in-house marketing campaign to initialize their growth.

Stay tuned for the rest of our series on effective digital marketing for small business. Our entire series is based off questions asked by clients, prospects, and friends so feel free to submit your marketing questions for a chance to have them answered!