Table of Contents

  1. Get a Small Business Website
  2. Use Analytics, Track Everything
  3. Create (or Update) Your Google Business Listing
  4. Get Reviews for Your Google Business Listing
  5. Integrate High-Value Online Business Reviews Into Your Process of Doing Business
  6. FOCUS
  7. Generate Leads By Helping People Online
  8. Generate Leads with Free Offers & Giving Value Upfront
  9. Tune Your Offers & Messaging
  10. Dominate Local Search Listings
  11. Leverage Competitive Research
  12. Blog & Vlog
  13. Create Great Content
  14. Increase Return Site Traffic With Web Push Notifications
  15. Use Proven Business-Growing Email Marketing Techniques
  16. Take Advantage of Online Freebies
  17. Keep Investing in Your Digital Marketing Education

1. Get a Small Business Website

There is some confusion with whether or not a website is really necessary when you can use something like an Instagram or Facebook page instead.

You need a website.

It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but it should be online and get the minimum job done, tell your prospects what your business is, what makes it unique, where it is, etc. and give people a way to contact you.

As far as where to get your free website, I would recommend Wix or Wordpress.

Tips For Your Free Website

  • Stick to the basics as far as design. Keep it simple.
  • Use Unsplash for stock photos if you must, but original photos are better.
  • Pro Tip: Use what you create on Wix as a starter for something that you can take to a designer to help save on design costs and speed up the build process.

Contact me if you’d like some help with how to make your site better once you’ve taken the first pass and gotten it up and running. I’m glad to help.

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2. Use Analytics, Track EVERYTHING

Analytics and Tracking are the basis for growth. They’ll help you make better decisions and those better decisions will help businesses grow.

Track Website Stats

Get Google Analytics installed on your website. It’ll give you a baseline that you can look back to in the future to see what’s working and what’s not (equally important).

You’ll be able to see traffic volume, traffic sources, which pages are performing, how long people are staying, and more.

Install Google Analytics

 

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Track Social Media Stats

If you’re posting on social you should be using analytics and stats for the same reasons. You may need to get business profiles for your social channels to see stats, but they’re free, so make the switch and get it done.

Track Google Search Stats

Use Google Search Console to see your search stats. This is huge if you’re trying to get business from search—and who isn’t?

Google Search Console

 

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3. Create (or Update) Your Google Business Listing

Your Google Business listing is a critical portal between you and your customers. It’s free and it’s easy to set up:

  1. Go to the Google My Business website
  2. Add your contact information, business hours, business description, etc.
  3. Add your logo and some pictures to spice up your listing. Make it sing!
  4. View your business on your phone and make sure everything looks good. Ask your friends and family for suggestions on how to make it more helpful or enticing.

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4. Get Reviews for Your Google Business Listing

A lot of business owners neglect this which is why it’s an easy way to get a leg up on your competition.

How to get Google reviews:

  1. Ask your friends, family members, current and past customers—especially your future customers to leave a quick review.
  2. Make it easy for them by giving them the link to where they can leave their review.

How to get your Google review link to give to your reviewers:

  1. Do a Google search for your business on your phone or other mobile device.
  2. Click “Reviews” under your business listing.
  3. Click the share icon in the upper right corner of the next screen.

Try to get at least 20 reviews before focusing on any other review platform. If your competitors have more, then go for more.

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5. Integrate High-Value Online Business Reviews Into Your Process of Doing Business

It’s one thing to go on a one time campaign to get reviews from past customers, friends, family, and colleagues. It’s quite another to create a system that perpetually gets you reviews—and not just ANY reviews, but excellent reviews.

Positive reviews are so valuable that it’s worth investing time to make this a positive and effective campaign in and of itself, almost like a landing page or a sales funnel.

Here’s how to continually get high-value reviews:

  1. Identify your highly satisfied customers
    For example, if you have a physical location this could be through observation. Or it could be through an email survey if you have more of an online business.
  2. Only ask your highly satisfied customers to leave a review
    The important thing is to ask—and to ask in a way that maintains a positive experience for your customers.
  3. Finish by responding publicly to every person that leaves a review. This last step is important.

The important thing is identifying your most satisfied customers and building positive reviews by targeting them specifically.

This is how to generate a majority of 5-star reviews.

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6. FOCUS

You have a limited amount of time and a limited budget. The people online, you and I included, DO NOT RESPOND to mediocre content or poor user experiences.

Your content has to be great. Otherwise, you’re wasting your time.

The same holds true for the digital marketing channels you choose to take on—be it email marketing, content marketing, social media marketing, affiliate marketing, search engine marketing, etc.

I’m not suggesting those aren’t important. They’re ALL important. Just don’t get stuck in the pitfall of trying to do them all at once.

It’s hard enough to keep track of a single channel of digital marketing.

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7. Generate Leads By Helping People Online

And by “people” I mean your target market, ideal customers, strategic partners, etc.

Go to discussion forums like Reddit, into the sub-forums read about what they’re going through, their dreams and aspirations, they’re problems.

Offer answers and advice. Genuinely help. DO NOT SELL. EVER. And only help when you really can.

This can be a great way to generate leads and gather intelligence into the experience and mindset of your prospects.

It might not happen right away, but if you keep at it and offer real value, you will see results.

Search Reddit

 

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8. Generate Leads with Free Offers & Giving Value Upfront

Free offers are a great way to give people a reason to engage with your business and build trust without having to buy anything.

They’re part of the “give value upfront” strategy and can be used in free and paid promotional campaigns. These can be informational articles (like this), free guides, checklists, informational videos, webinars, workshops, free consultations, promotional discounts, and more.

The important thing to remember is “value”—genuine value that your prospects can’t easily find anywhere else.

Free offers and giving value upfront will absolutely cost you resources, but you have to remember that this is about getting people in the door, generating reviews, and getting business referrals.

It’s important to note that value in this context often extends beyond utility. Making people laugh, be inspired, and motivated can work too—anything that adds to your prospects life or experience.

BUT to capture leads, you will most likely need to offer something of value that they can actually use.

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9. Tune Your Offers & Messaging

If your website or other online content is being viewed, but your not getting clicks, leads, or sales, then either your offer isn’t what your prospects are looking for or your messaging is off. But how can you tell? That’s where tracking and knowing where to look is so important.

Optimizing For Search Results Clicks

If you want to know why you’re not getting more traffic from Google (assuming people are searching for your product or service and your business is showing up in search results), here’s what you need to do:

  1. Get Google Search Console enabled for your site and look at the stats.
  2. If you see that your site’s been showing up in searches (getting impressions), but you haven’t been getting clicks, then continue to the next step.
  3. Look at the messaging that’s showing up in the search results for your pages. Is it compelling? Does it stand out from your competition?
  4. Consider why you think your search result isn’t performing and change either the headline, description, or both.
  5. Check back after a few hundred impressions. If the performance hasn’t increased, go back to number 4.

Optimizing For Site Conversions

If you’re getting traffic to your site, but you’re not getting any leads, buyers, calls, or reservations, then the offer could be lacking—or it could be the messaging. This is where insights and experimentation come in. You need to really:

  1. Think about why your prospects may not be biting and come up and try new things.
  2. Use Google Optimize to build experiments that you can use to test your ideas. It’s free and makes testing out new content and offers easier than ever.

And the same goes for anything that you’re posting online or on social. If you can find out how many impressions something is getting (how many times your content is showing up on someone else’s screen) vs. how many clicks it got, then you can know how effective it is (or isn’t).

From there you can come up with ideas why or why not it might have worked, test those ideas, and use that information to tune your offers and messaging.

Unless your site and content are getting great results, you should always be experimenting with different offers, messaging, imagery, placement—all of it, until you find out what works.

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10. Dominate Local Search Listings

It’s one thing to be listed on the local search. That’s better than not being listed, but you want to dominate the local search results list.

To do that you’re going to need to do a little more than the initial setup with Google My Business. Some of this stuff can get a little technical, but can all be done yourself if you have the grit and determination to do it.

How to Dominate your local search listing:

  • Adjust your website Page Title and Metadata to include local information
  • Manage your site’s presence on business directories
  • Use structured schema markup on your website
  • Publish content that’s catered to your local audience
  • Make sure your site is mobile-friendly

Check out this article for a more in-depth explanation on each step.

Boost Your Local SEO

 

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11. Leverage Competitive Research

Gather valuable competitor, business, and industry intelligence by creating a new email account and using it to sign up to all your competitor email lists, email newsletters of other successful businesses that you want to emulate or find out more about, trade email lists, and more.

  1. Create social profiles and sign up to their social accounts.
  2. Enter into their sales funnels and see what kind of content and promotional campaigns they’re using, sales tactics, engagement tactics, web tools, emerging strategies, and techniques.
  3. Use and build on what they’ve done.

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12. Blog & Vlog

Blogging and vlogging do double duty for your online business. They increase your visibility in search results while giving your business valuable assets that can be used and repurposed to share your business’ story and offers as well as connect and engage with prospects.

Here’s how Blogging & Vlogging work:

  1. As you build content on your website’s blog, the amount of useful and relevant content on your site grows. This makes it appear higher in search results for keyword phrases relevant to your business—to the solutions that you’re providing for your customers.
  2. At the same time that you’re creating content for your website blog, you’re repurposing that content to share on social media to build awareness of your brand and offerings and engage with your prospects.

You want to create content with this repurposing in mind so that you can do double duty with your content for search and for social.

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Blogging & Vlogging Tips

  • Your blogs don’t have to be all business or all on topic.
  • They don’t all have to be a certain length or number of words.
  • You want to create content that’s going to help your business appear in search results, but ultimately you’re creating content for people, so make it useful and human digestible.
  • Leverage your content by repurposing it. Break longer content pieces into shorter pieces, convert them into different formats, and share them across a wide base of platforms.
  • Speed up time to results by boosting your blog and vlog content on social media with paid placements.

Remember to create content that spurs discussion. This is key.

You want to create engagement with your posts in addition to building awareness.

Getting results with blogs and vlogs is a long game strategy and is going to take time to show results. That’s why it’s something that needs to be done consistently over the long term.

It may take 6 months to a year or more, and if you do it right, this will pay huge dividends later down the line. However, you can speed this up drastically by boosting posts and advertising your content.

Get Hundreds of Great Blog & Vlog post ideas here:
Get Content Ideas

 

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13. Create Great Content

IF—and this is a big “IF”, you are going to post on social media, you need to post great content to get results. But what’s “great” content?

“Great content is content that gets people talking, commenting, discussing.”

How To Create Great Content

  1. Generate Ideas
    1. Brainstorm
    2. Look at what’s already out there and getting a lot of discussion and engagement
  2. Create content pieces based on your ideas and findings
  3. Have accurate analytics and tracking in place
  4. Put your content in front of as many people as possible in order to gather engagement data
  5. Experiment with different kinds of content (Failure is a valuable part of the process!)
  6. Check your engagement stats
  7. Review your findings and generate ideas about why it did or didn’t work
  8. Go back to step 2

The more eyes you have on your content, the faster you can get feedback, iterate, and work your way towards making content that generates results.

How To Create Great Content Faster

You can drastically speed this process up by boosting your posts. It only takes a few dollars.

For example, you may be able to put your Facebook post in front of hundreds of people for $5. With that many impressions, finding a winner will be much easier and faster.

Consider this process of experimentation as an investment in yourself and your business.

You may struggle to create content that generates ROI, but if you do…you’ve just created a valuable skill that you can use for a lifetime.

Get Ideas for Great Content

If you’re running out of ideas for content, this article is absolute gold:

Get Content Ideas

Don’t Get Discouraged

Keep in mind that doing this is extremely difficult. A few charmed people have a knack for consistently creating great social media content, but the vast majority of us do not.

And when it’s done right it looks effortless, so don’t get discouraged.

Build Content Assets

One final thing, I purposefully chose to title this “Create Great Content” instead of “Post Great Content” because you can create great content without posting it and have it still help your business grow.

You can always post the content later as an organic post or a paid post.

Everything you create is an asset that can be used now or later.

You can build your assets and release them strategically later on—this includes ideas, so write your ideas down and save them!

The only exception is with content that is somehow dated which is why many people try to stay away from it.

Time-based content can be great as long as its inability to be a perpetual asset is offset by its value to be timely.

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14. Increase Return Site Traffic With Web Push Notifications

NOTE: This one’s for those who are already getting a fair amount of traffic to their websites.

So we’ve all seen those annoying popups on sites that ask whether you want to get the latest articles and to “Allow” or “Block”, but here’s the thing—if you’re creating great content that’s relevant to your target site visitor, then they may just appreciate and actually want to be notified when new stuff is posted.

Here’s one way to look at it, if you were your ideal customer and you were visiting your site, would YOU want to be notified of new content being published?

It’s one way to gauge how well you’re doing at producing quality content. Hopefully, the answer is “YES!”

As annoying as it may seem, web push works. Why else do you think it’s everywhere?

Part of the reason it works is that even though it’s a little intrusive and annoying, it’s not so annoying that people are going to leave your site because of it AND there’s a portion of your visitors who will accept the notifications and come back to your site because of them.

They offer an upside without a real downside. Plus, you can send any kind of message you want through web push, not just content updates. ANYTHING. It’s just another way to communicate with your peeps.

OneSignal offers a great free web push product. It includes everything you need to get started, even message scheduling and automation which is really cool. So go grab it and install it!

Goto OneSignal

 

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15. Use Proven Business-Growing Email Marketing Techniques

Email is still the most profitable form of digital marketing there is. Most businesses just don’t know how to use it right.

Here are some things you can do to use it to grow your advantage:

  • Use automated email sequences to nurture and delight prospects, existing customers, and reactivate past customers
  • Send birthday and holidays emails
  • Include promotions, discounts, and cross-sells of other products or services in transactional emails
  • Give value
  • Be personal, be real, and don’t be a robot

We all know how annoying spammy email is. That is definitely not what I’m suggesting you do here.

Value is the key and in order for your email marketing to generate results, it also needs to be relevant and timely.

This may require contacts to be segmented into lists based on which products they bought, where they’re located, or where they are they are in the buying cycle.

Take the time to really think about your customers to craft something effective. Be respectful, provide value, and don’t sell more than 20 percent of the time.

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16. Take Advantage of Online Freebies

Freebies and free trials are a tried and true way to generate business.

All the top players use them and you should too. I won’t list them all because there’s too many and you can find them on your own by doing a simple web search.

But I will recommend and encourage you to use the free trials.

There’s nothing to lose and you may just find something that leads to a breakthrough.

Free Small Business Tools

 

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17. Keep Investing in Your Digital Marketing Education

It’ll be much more cost-effective for you to grow your business online if you understand how it’s done.

This is why all small business owners should have a basic understanding of digital marketing and its role in the broader context of how your business can make money online.

It’s not even about having a competitive edge. It’s about not being left behind.

A basic knowledge of digital marketing will help you gain insights into how you can use paid AND FREE tools to your maximum advantage.

And it’ll allow you to collaborate with other business owners and marketers—and where there’s collaboration, there’s growth.

The good thing is that you’re doing it right now by reading this article. Congratulations!

Here are some great places to keep growing your digital marketing foundation:

Digital Marketing Guide
Perpetual Traffic
DigitalMarketer Blog
Hubspot
Facebook Blueprint

 

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