10 Practical Digital Marketing Tips for Small Businesses in 2020


According to Copyblogger founder, Brian Clark:

“These days, people want to learn before they buy, be educated instead of pitched.”

Customers are now smarter than ever and they know when they are being pitched to, even before you open your mouth. That is why building a relationship and communicating with your customers through digital marketing are crucial for business growth.

As the year starts, businesses are getting ready to prepare their game plan for the next 12 months. Here are some practical digital marketing tips to help small businesses achieve their goals in 2020.

 

10 Practical Digital Marketing Tips for Small Businesses in 2020

 

Tip #1: Learn How to Use Chatbots.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been transforming the digital world in more ways than we are aware of. Chatbots, a bot designed to communicate and engage with users,  are becoming a rising trend, not only on websites but also on social media. You’ve probably encountered them when you purchased from your favourite online shop recently or when you visited a business, Facebook Page. In fact, 80% of businesses want their own chatbots by 2020.

Chatbots can handle various tasks, such as answering simple FAQs, directing the customer to the right page, taking in orders, handling payments, and dealing with customer service. Chatbots will become a major player in the customer service industry by 2020 because 63% of customers prefer dealing with them when they communicate with a brand. Chatbots offer instant responses and answers to simple questions, helping improve customer satisfaction significantly. Plus, chatbots never lose patience.

Chatbots can be installed on your website or on your social media pages, depending on what tasks you want them to handle. Chatbots provides great customer service and can automate repetitive tasks, freeing your time for more important work.

 

 

Tip #2: Personalize Your Approach.

When you engage with your customers, you don’t say “Hey, Ma’am” or “Hi Customer.” More than 60% of customers are highly annoyed when they receive generic advertising blasts. Addressing your customers by their names is the Golden Rule of customer service. But this is not enough. You need to personalize your whole marketing campaign – from your emails to your products to your content.

Personalization automatically alters the user’s experience according to their interests. This results in increased customer engagement, according to 74% of marketers. Personalized emails and email subject lines are more likely to be opened compared to generic ones.

Fortunately, personalization is now easier with the availability of tools and software to help businesses craft personalized campaigns.

 

Tip #3. Take Advantage of Social Messaging Apps.

If you think that social messaging apps are only useful for sending messages to your friends, then you’re missing out on a great marketing tool. The top social messaging apps, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and WeChat, have billions of users sending billions of messages every single day. Facebook Messenger alone has 1.3 billion monthly users with 10 billion messages being sent between users and businesses every month. WhatsApp, which is the biggest social media messaging app, has 1.6 billion active users and 55 billion messages sent every day.

These numbers show that users spend a lot of time using social media apps, so it is only practical to take advantage of these platforms to market your business. Social messaging apps are handy for sending direct messages to customers. It personalizes the user experience because you are reaching out to the customers directly. Plus, they’re free to use.

Businesses can use messaging apps to reach out to contacts, deliver information, invite people to events, boost sales, re-engage potential customers, and provide customer support.

 

Tip #4: Create Evergreen Content.

Content marketing is one of the most effective ways of communicating with your audience, but coming up with new topics can be a huge hassle. This is where evergreen content becomes useful. When we say evergreen content, it means any content that is relevant now and will continue to be relevant long after the content has been published. In short, it doesn’t have an expiration date. It doesn’t fade away. According to Pro Blogger, Akshay Hallur, “for a content to be called evergreen, all the elements in the content should be timeless.”

Compared to posts that are seasonal or time-sensitive that bring a spike in traffic, evergreen content provides regular, organic traffic that does not rely on sensationalism. Because the topic stays relevant regardless of the time of the year, you won’t see a decline in your website traffic after a month or two of the article’s publication. Another benefit of evergreen content is that you don’t need to change or update the article often. Less work, less hassle.

Here are some ideas for evergreen content that you might want to add to your content marketing strategy:

  • Your company’s original and exclusive research
  • Collection of industry statistics
  • Case studies
  • Lessons to learn in the industry
  • How-to guides and tutorials
  • Checklists
  • Lists
  • History of something
  • Tip roundups
  • Best or worst practices

Evergreen content is a powerful marketing strategy, but it should not be your only tool. To make it more effective, mix your evergreen articles with other types of content to achieve the best results.

 

Tip #5: Create Video Content.

If content is king, then video is definitely the queen. According to Google, six out of ten people prefer to watch online videos over television. 78% of users watch online videos every week, with one billion hours of video being consumed on YouTube every day.

In fact, a Facebook executive previously predicted that the platform will be all video and won’t have any text by 2021, which is the direction where Facebook is going right now. If you’ve noticed, there is more video content on your Newsfeed compared to articles and texts. Facebook has also recently launched the Watch tab where users can watch all video content.

Why is video so popular? According to Hubspot, 72% of customers prefer to learn about a product or service via video. Aside from promoting products, videos are useful in solving problems. In fact, 65% of users turn to YouTube to find a solution to a particular problem. Whether you want to learn how to cook chicken in a hundred different ways or you want a step-by-step guide on how to build a house by yourself, YouTube has the answer.

By creating video content that addresses the customers’ problems, businesses can leverage the growing popularity of this type of content. Here are some video marketing ideas you might want to try:

  • Live video – This type of video can be used for interviews, behind-the-scenes, product demos, and events.
  • One-on-one video – Businesses can create personalized video messages instead of making phone calls or sending emails.
  • Shoppable video – This type of video allows users to purchase products directly from the video itself.
  • 360-degree videos – This type of video allows a more interactive experience.

 

Tip #6:  Focus on Page Speed.

Page speed is considered one of the important ranking factors by Google.  This is because users don’t want to wait forever for the web page to load. People want fast websites. According to Google’s John Mueller, “2 seconds is the threshold for commerce website acceptability.” So if your website loads within two seconds, Google equates it to good UX and positive user experience, which are also crucial ranking factors.

But if your website takes a long time to load, users get bored or think that something might be wrong with the website, and leave. This increases your bounce rate, which is a negative ranking factor. Google’s benchmark showed that as loading times get longer, the bounce rate increases significantly.

In fact, more than half of your visitors will leave your website if it takes more than three seconds to load. Do you know what the average load time in 2018 was? 15.3 seconds. By the time the page has been fully loaded, the visitor has already hit the back button.

This coming year, page speed, particularly mobile page speed, is going to be mandatory according to Google. So how do you speed up your website? Here are some tips:

  • Know your site speed. The first step in optimizing your page speed is to know your website’s performance. You can use online tools, such as Pingdom and Google PageSpeed Insights, to know exactly what you need to do to improve your website.
  • Use a CDN. A content delivery network helps you cache your site using a global network of server, so it loads faster as if the user is in the actual location of the servers.
  • Optimize your images. Full-size images are great for the eyes, but they can be a burden to your website. Compress your images to make them smaller, but make sure not to compromise the quality. There are a lot of plugins and online editing tools you can use to optimize your images for your website.
  • Get faster web hosting. Shared hosting options, may be cheaper, but the servers tend to be overcrowded, resulting in slow loading speed. If you have the budget, you might want to avail a VPS or your own dedicated server.
  • Prioritize above-the-fold content. This technique, also known as lazy loading, ensures that the content at the top of the page loads faster than those at the lower or bottom part. By the time the user has finished reading the content at the top, the other content would have finished loading by then.

 

Tip #7: Delve Into Influencer Marketing.

Influencer marketing is a form of word-of-mouth marketing strategy that relies on key industry leaders to deliver your brand’s message to your target audience. Influencers can be popular celebrities, known authorities in the industry, or people that have a huge following on social media who can help spread the word about your product or business.

92% of customers trust other people’s recommendations, making influencer marketing more authentic and effective. People are able to relate to other users’ experience, particularly if you use real-life influencers. Influencer marketing can help your business build a larger brand following, increase your credibility, and bring in more leads and sales.

Here are some ways you can work together with social media influencers to grow your audience:

  • Sponsor a joint social media content. Maybe you can run a promotional giveaway or a raffle by partnering with a social media influencer. The prizes are generally shouldered by the business sponsoring the contest and depending on your agreement with the influencer, you might need to give something in return for his or her efforts.
  • Build something together. It could be a limited-edition product or a unique project that the influencer can promote to his or her followers.
  • Host an event together. Co-hosting an event is an easy way for businesses to work with influencers before diving into serious income-generating partnership. It helps you create stronger bonds, build a partnership, and swap ideas.

 

Tip #8: Aim for Position #0.

We’ve all seen businesses fighting tooth and nail to get the #1 ranking in Google. But in recent years, a new position that’s better than being number one has appeared: #0. This is also known as the Featured Snippet. A featured snippet contains an extracted answer, a display title, and the URL of a webpage. This appears above the traditional #1 position. The first organic search result is pushed down below the Related Questions section, making it technically third in position.

Surprisingly, the number #1 and #0 position are not always the same. Position #0 could also belong to #2, #3, and so on. But if you get listed as a Featured Snippet, your website will appear twice on the first page of Google. According to a study conducted by Hubspot, a website in the #0 ranking produces a 114% increase in CTR.

Scoring a Featured Snippet is tough, but it is not totally impossible. But first, you must fulfil these two requirements:

  • You need to rank organically on the first page of the search results, within the top five as much as possible.
  • You need to have content that answers a specific question or problem.

According to a white paper produced by STAT,  30% of Featured Snippets come from the #1 organic position. But any URL within the first page of the results has the chance to become a Featured Snippet. It all boils down to relevance and the quality of your content. If your article provides in-depth information about the question being answered, then your content has a high chance of making it to #0 ranking.

 

Tip #9: Start Optimizing for Voice Search.

If you’ve ever asked Siri or Alexa which restaurant offers the best steak nearby or where the nearest gasoline station is, then you have started using voice search. According to Wordstream, 50% of all online searches in 2020 will be voice searches. In fact, voice shopping, which means using voice commands to search or purchase products, will grow from this year’s $2 billion to $40 billion in 2022.

The popularity of virtual assistants, such as Alexa, Siri, Cortana, and Google, has played an important role in the rise of voice search. Because of this, it is important for businesses to write in a conversational tone and focus on keywords that users will speak rather than type. For example, instead of optimizing for “speed up PC” or “tips and tricks PC,” you will need to focus on conversational keywords such as “how to speed up your computer” or “how to speed up Windows 10.”

 

Tip #10: Focus on Customer Experience.

Customer experience is the latest buzz in the digital marketing world today. According to studies, businesses that deliver great customer experience tend to be more successful than those that do not. As a result, businesses are starting to recognize the importance of providing users with an experience that make them stand out from their competitors.

The problem is that creating a great customer experience should be a collaborative effort between all aspects of your business. From the website to the products to customer support, every step of the customer’s journey should be all about positive experiences.

Great customer experience makes your customers be more willing to spend more. In fact, 87% of customers who had a great experience are more likely to make another purchase from the same company, compared to those who had a very poor experience. 96% of customers also consider customer service as an important factor in their choice of loyalty to a brand.

How do you provide the best customer experience to your customers? You start by knowing who your customers are, what they need, and what makes them happy. Once you understand your customer’s behaviour, you’ll be able to use that data to personalize every interaction. If users feel that their experience with your business is smooth, pleasant, and improving, you’ll gain a loyal customer.

 

Bottom Line

Digital marketing is an ever-changing landscape, made complicated by new technologies and techniques. Businesses need to be on top of the latest trends, tools, and strategies to stay on top of their game. The practical tips listed above hopefully help you tackle the marketing challenges of 2020.


About April Reyes

As a Journalist by profession, April Reyes has extensive experience in writing about various topics under the sun, including technology, gadgets, travel, social media, and digital marketing. If she's not writing articles for Software Tested, she's either watching her favourite TV series or playing video games.