Do you own a small business and struggle with your digital marketing?
I can sympathise, empathise and advise. Help is available for most small businesses.
Me, Hannah and my husband Jonathan
Our small business RepairsByPost has gone from a traditional bricks and mortar business to an online business within the last year. It was the scariest thing we have ever done. ‘Our’ is myself and by husband, and that alone has its own tribulations. (You can read more on my blog post about working with my husband).
Our biggest challenge, along with being unable to translate techie speak, has been to have the various digital marketing elements working TOGETHER. As well as employing a company do design the site, we had another company looking after our Google AdWords account.
Although the site looked great, after discovering more and more about digital marketing strategy implementation whilst on the SSMM course, I became aware just how much work was still required, luckily most of the work I have been able to do myself.
One of the first things that I recommend to any small business owner is to write down your long term plan and choose how to engage with your target audience. Although there are two of us who run our on online business, it is helpful to specify the type of content, channels and keyword themes that will be targeted in our digital marketing strategy document.
Top Tip 1- STRATEGY- write your thoughts and ideas down, organise them into a strategy. For our business, this was the best advice. It allowed us to brainstorm ideas, set goals and develop our roles within the business.
I am hoping that this blog will give you some hints and tips for your small business.
Our first issue was to reassess our keywords, breaking them into two categories, 1. Watch repairs, 2. Jewellery repairs. Then within these categories having a primary and secondary keyword(s) for every page.
For example, our home page did not use our primary keywords in header 1.
Top Tip 2- is to target on every one of your web pages different keywords.
These keywords were used for our Google AdWords campaign. This has been the main source of conversions.
We noticed that the CTR (click through rate) remains higher with our long tail keywords eg, Omega watch repairs, Cartier watch repairs. We also noticed that by trying to get into the mindset of our ‘audience’ or ‘buyer persona’, these people who search more specific terms are more likely to continue through to the repair as opposed to just browsing.
Top Tip 3- Know your buyer. Spend time thinking about who you want to attract and their common demonimator. RepairsByPost has a varying age range attracts both genders (although slightly more men than women) and is geographically spread, but they all need something repairing.
Interestingly, when analysing the cost of our PPC since the new site launched in November 2016, our PPC dropped in February (by a mistake we think, we are still unsure as to what happened!) our income did not fall as drastically as we feared making me rethink our campaign strategy. Our CPC (cost per click) has slowly decreased by small increments, but our CLP (cost per lead) has dropped dramatically.
Via Google Analytics we can see how people are using our site, such as gender age and what devices people are using. This tool will become one of your best friends. And like any friend, Top Tip 4- you need to spend time playing with it in order to understand it.
For example, we found on our website that on jewellery repairs related content, mobile outperforms desktop in terms of both conversion rate and cost per conversion.
For us, as we were spending so much on PPC, we began working on our SEO. Top Tip 5-write interesting content and then use the relevant keywords.
The balance between being reader friendly and getting good SEO scores has been difficult and one that we are still struggling to achieve. A good example of this can been seen through our ‘Watch repair page’. Although our SEO score is green, the amount of text on the page seems heavy.
Good SEO, but very text heavy
This is what we want our customers to see, being aware that any image that we used has to have all details, including a title, descriptions and alt text for every single image.
What we want customers to see
Together with a strong Google AdWord presence, and good content our social media campaigns have been very important. I use the word ‘campaign’ loosely as at first we were just posting bits here and there. Now we have a strategy in place that links our AdWords and social media.
Once we realised the wonder of Hootsuite we were able to time our posts for our Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and now Instagram accounts. Relatively new to Instagram, we have found our ‘following’ increase. This following grows our brand awareness, which will hopefully convert into sales. Although the cost of these is free (we have tried some paid for Facebook adverts) it does remain time consuming. Top Tip 6- social media is not magic it does take time and effort.
Not only did I not fully understand what external links were, I had no idea how important they are.
Top Tip 7- Build good quality external links. After investigating various blogs, I am also trying to get some ‘old school’ media coverage hoping that their sites (such as local/ national newspaper sites) can link to ours.
I hope that this helps anyone who owns or works within a small business. We can’t afford help from huge marketing companies, so most of our website maintenance, social media etc is done by us. There is still a lot to do but at least I now feel that we have a clearer path ahed of us.
It is a lot of work, it can be very frustrating, but also rewarding.
I would love to hear from anyone who would like to share their stories; the good, bad and ugly.