Digital Marketing: A Guide For Small Businesses To Getting Started


If you run a small business and have been planning to get started with digital marketing, then this post is for you.

Let’s face it, operating on a tight budget and a limited amount of time can make digital marketing seem daunting, especially if you run a business alone or as a small team.

Not all businesses have the same resources when it comes to digital marketing. By the way, resources include time. 

The good news is, it is possible to achieve your business goals with digital marketing even if you are operating on a tight budget. 

This guide shows you how you can have a plan in place that can help you achieve your business goals such as acquiring new customers, attracting potential customers and boosting sales. 

Before we dive in, let’s look at the definition of digital marketing

Digital marketing is a strategic process of marketing your products and services through various online channels or electronic devices. 

To be a competitive business owner, it’s important to embrace and incorporate digital marketing into your business. This gives your business an opportunity to be seen by potential customers. 

It’s also an opportunity for you to connect with your customers.

To get started with digital marketing, and to thrive as a business owner in the digital space, you need a digital marketing strategy. This is a plan that guides and helps you achieve your business goals through digital marketing. 

Creating a digital marketing strategy involves deciding and documenting what you want to do, how you want to do it, your expectations from what you are going to do, and when and how you are going to measure your digital marketing goals.


The steps to creating a digital marketing strategy

1. Identify your target audience

Marketing to everyone doesn’t produce the desired results. That’s why it’s important to know who you are targeting. When you think about identifying your target audience, ask yourself these questions:

Who do you want to target?

What qualities do they possess? 

What challenges are your current customers and target audience facing?

How will the customers and prospects benefit from choosing your product or service?

If you don’t know who you are targeting, it will be difficult to sell your products or services.

 Identifying your target audience is incredibly important as it will help you deliver the right message as well as present opportunities that are beneficial to your business such as website traffic, attracting new customers, and an increase in revenue.

A Buyer Persona

The best way to figure out your target audience is by creating a buyer persona. This is simply a description of your ideal customer.

 A buyer persona is more specific and helps you understand your customers and prospects in a way that helps them solve their problems

Information to include in your audience persona include:

  • Age
  • Location
  • Occupation
  • Income level
  • Education level
  • Interests
  • Challenges and goal

2. Establish your Goals

The goals you set should be SMART- Specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and timely. You can go back to the definition of a digital marketing strategy above to be able to understand how you can set your smart goals. 

But it boils down to the following: What do you want to do? Why do you want to do it? What do you want to achieve with digital marketing? When do you hope to achieve when it’s time to measure the results of your marketing efforts?

3. Know your competitor

Even if you already have an idea of who your competitors are, it’s important to run a search on google and social media such as Facebook and Twitter using keywords related to your business to reveal who your other competitors are.

Knowing who your competitors are will help you identify what they are doing right and what they are doing wrong so you can learn from the right and identify areas of opportunities from the wrong. 

You can also learn more about your competitor through customer reviews especially on social media in the comment section. What are customers saying about your competitors?

4. Choose your marketing channels

If you are just getting started, avoid overwhelming yourself by focusing on every channel that exists. 

It is important that you identify and use the right marketing channels that will help you achieve your marketing goals.

5. Measure your results

Having a digital marketing strategy in place is not enough. You need to track your results so you know what’s working and what’s not working. This will enable you to make adjustments based on the relevant information you collect from your analytics.

The best way to measure your results is to use analytics tools. This will provide you with information on whether or not your digital marketing strategy is working. 

There are lots of analytics tools for different online channels. You just have to figure out how to use them.  


Let’s look at the different channels for digital marketing

They include:

Content Marketing

This involves creating and distributing content that is valuable to attract a clearly defined audience and ultimately turn potentials into buying customers.

Content Marketing is also an effective way to build strong relationships and build your brand awareness.

Email Marketing

This is a form of digital marketing that uses email to promote your products and services. But it goes beyond announcing your products and services and instead helps you connect and build relationships with your customers through the following: Discount offers, Newsletters, reminders, product updates, etc.

Email marketing can be a powerful tool for connecting with your customers if done correctly. That is in a way that is not spammy and by having an email marketing strategy in place.

Search Engine Optimization

 If you want to reach new customers make sure your site is discoverable when customers are looking for answers to address their problems.

Search engine optimization helps you improve the ranking of your website or blog when people are searching for words related to your business, products, or services. 

SEO is an ongoing process because trends and customer behaviour keep changing.

Paying attention to the changes will help you monitor how the changes affect your site. When researching keywords make sure to match your keywords to what people are looking for.

Affiliate Marketing

 Affiliate Marketing involves allowing others to promote products on behalf of your company by paying the affiliates a percentage of every sale they generate through a special link to your website or blog.

Social Media Marketing

This involves the use of social media networks such as Instagram, Youtube Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn among others to achieve your business goals such as boosting brand awareness, increasing website traffic, generating new leads, and increasing revenue. This can be done by creating and sharing valuable content, engaging with your customers by responding to comments and questions, and measuring your data analytics


Search Engine Marketing: We’ve all in one way or another come across advertised products and services on search engine results. 

You’ve even probably bought an advertised product at some point in your life. 

This is where search engine marketing comes in.

Also known as paid advertising, SEM involves advertising your products and services and ensuring they appear on top of search engine results. When done correctly, SEM can be an effective way to grow your business and get discovered by potential customers


Essential digital marketing tools to help you get started

Canva: This an easy-to-use design platform that helps you design graphics for all of your company’s social media accounts and blogs posts. One of the best things about Canva is that you can design anything from logos, presentations, images, graphs and infographics.

Google Analytics: Google Analytics helps you track and report your website or blog traffic. It also tracks every action taken by your blog or website visitors including which page they spend most of their time on and which location they are viewing from. Google Analytics is a great tool for analyzing and measuring your data. 

Lightroom: This a simple to use tool that helps you edit and organize your photos.

Mail Chimp: This an email marketing platform that helps small businesses track traffic from their email marketing campaign efforts. It gives your audience data and insights so you can reach your goals and measure results. 

Google Adwords: When you want to advertise your business on Google’s search engine, Google Adwords is your go-to tool for search engine marketing. You can also research which keywords you want to use in your ads by using keyword planner which is part of Google Adwords.

WhatsApp for Business: Helps you highlight your products and services while giving you an opportunity to answer your customer’s queries and complaints.

WordPress: You can use WordPress to build a portfolio of your work and set up a blog or website for your business. If you are tech-savvy, you can simply set up a blog for yourself.

Whether you want to put your business in front of your customers, boost the traffic on your website or increase sales, with a well-structured strategy, digital marketing can help you achieve your business goals

 You may not get it right for the first time, it may take time for you to see the desired results, but it’s definitely worth the effort.

Good luck!

By Senewa Kamwaro– Digital Content Creator


Digital For Africa

Resources: Checklists

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