For smaller businesses trying to compete against larger companies, nothing evens the playing field the same way as digital marketing. In fact, with a few critical resources dedicated to the appropriate marketing strategy, a smaller business can be featured above much larger companies on search engines.
All you need to compete above the competition is excellent digital content for your target audiences and a way to measure the effectiveness of that content. Return on investment (ROI) digital marketing is the key to measuring the effectiveness of your content and generating more efficient content to increase the ROI of your small business.
Unlike traditional advertising that tries to coerce unwilling participants into purchasing a product, digital marketing aims to create content that people need and generally want.
However, digital content, while appealing, is also very subjective. When generating the content, it is not easy to know exactly how much paid it will be and how much profit it will bring. With the right tools, you can use metrics such as website visits to determine the effectiveness of your digital content, weed out what is ineffective and improve your content in real time.
Let’s consider three ROI-positive digital marketing tools to get you the most success for your dollar.
1. Schema Markup for Website Developers: Because we rely on the internet and digital searches, search engines are the sole determiner of how we get content to consumers in an actionable way. However, due to the immense amount of information search engines must crawl through, there are several ways in which search engines determine ranks for displaying that information.
Schema markup, also known as structured data, is a way to communicate the validity and quality of your digital content to search engines. In fact, schema markup can be considered the language of search engines.
Included in the schema markup are website information, company information, date of publication and more, in addition to the actual content. This information allows search engines to discover the quality of content and its relationship to the consumer and other brands to optimize its rank.
Crucial content information is conveyed to search engines through pushing and pulling. Pushing is an action by content developers where they send a piece of information to a search engine to be evaluated, whereas. Pulling involves a search engine directly assessing the content of a website or business.
Schema markup is an actionable form of pushing whereby you receive immediate feedback on the quality of your content, its relationship to similar content on the internet, and ways to improve that content to produce a significant ROI.
2. Google My Business Marketing: Google is the leading search engine, and it offers businesses a two-fold way to get their name out there. The first is through a Google business listing profile where people can find your business and information about it; customers can even rate and review that listing.
However, you don’t have direct management of the business listing, and all it does is add the business to Google Maps with a brief overview. Instead, you must create a Google My Business page.
Within Google My Business, you can optimize how your business is represented on search engines and respond to critical information Google gathers about your business. For example, rather than allowing Google to list basic info about your business, you can highlight why you stand above the competition and add essential information such as hours, contact information and ongoing wait times.
Furthermore, you can take action and respond to comments and reviews about your small business. And most importantly, through Google My Business, you can get critical information about traffic and search performance for your business website. This information is where positive ROI shines in Google My Business — by viewing the analytics tab, you know where people search your business, how they searched, their general location, and how you compare with competitors.
Because this information is presented in real time with easily measurable metrics, it’s an excellent way to judge how effective your business is compared to others and the efficacy of various marketing campaigns.
3. Digital Listing: While a Google My Business page is an excellent place to begin bringing in and evaluating web traffic, many businesses rely on local consumers, and their marketing efforts are targeted at nearby individuals.
For example, perhaps you own a restaurant in Danbury. You have a website and use analytics to optimize your viewership among everyone online. However, you wish to target the concentrated population in the Greater Danbury area. In years past, you would use Yellow Pages to make yourself more accessible. Today, you use digital listing.
Digital listing helps consumers find relevant services by grouping companies within industries together with links to their websites. When individuals search for a business, such as a place to eat, Google will list businesses within that industry. Crucial information for both the consumer and business is immediately available.
Because a link to your website is included within the listing, you can judge the ROI for your listing by measuring how you compare to local competitors in your industry. You also gain valuable feedback on how users perceive your business and how to adjust your content to rise above the competition.
Starting a small business has never been easy and maintaining it takes time, effort and the proper knowledge to succeed.
Digital marketing may seem a little scary to the uninitiated, but it is not. Remember that the key to success is understanding how to measure the efficacy of your content and use those measurements to improve.
Michael C. Davies is a creative copywriter at The Labate Group in Westport.