17. November 2020

Digital Marketing Tips for Small Businesses in 2020

  1. Build a strong social media presence
  2. Use email marketing to connect with customers
  3. Expand website marketing 
  4. Start using video marketing
  5. Use in-house digital marketing resources

1. Build a Strong Social Media Presence

As the opportunity for direct face-to-face communication is currently limited, small businesses should take to social media to reach their customers, learn more about this online advertising management system.

Social media is part of the majority of small businesses’ marketing plans. Almost all small businesses (88%) invest in social media. 

Social Media Small Business 88%

Social media has become a functional aspect of many digital marketing strategies for different businesses and generations. 

Business Owners Value Social Media, No Matter Their Age

The majority of all generations rely on social media for their business: Millennials (91%), Generation Xers (91%), and baby boomers (85%) use social media for their business. 

In addition, all generations plan to use social media more in 2020; 50% of millennials, 31% of Generation Xers, and 26% of baby boomers plan to grow their digital marketing strategies this year.

How Different Generations Use Digital Marketing Channels

Outside of social media, each generation plans to invest more in the following channels:

  • Millennials: Email marketing (80%), video marketing (75%), and website marketing (50%) 
  • Generation Xers: Email marketing (73%), video marketing (57%), and website marketing (59%)
  • Baby boomers: Email marketing (65%), video marketing (46%), and website marketing (52%)

During the COVID-19 pandemic, small businesses are looking to try new digital marketing strategies, but why is social media one of the more effective tools?

Sandy Murray owns Four 12 Photography, a photography company in Illinois that uses social media to expand its network. 

“Social media provides ways to reach new audiences that may fit with our brand,” Murray said.

Recently, Four 12 Photography partnered with Leeson’s Cakes Inc. to engage with brides on Facebook. 

four 12 photography facebook

Four 12 Photography’s Facebook posts ask questions and facilitate conversations by sharing content that brides are encouraged to answer. 

Although these social media posts are geared toward showcasing their companies’ brands, there is a hidden benefit. 

“As a result, we have more likes on our pages and are putting out content to help those getting married,” Murray said. “It helps everyone stay positive during COVID-19.”

It helps everyone stay positive during COVID-19.

With the amount of social media channels out there (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.), there are more chances than ever to better connect with your audience. 

According to BigCommerce, 72% of customers say that positive reviews and testimonials make them trust a business. Having a well-thought out social media strategy can facilitate that trust. 

Marygrove Awning, a retractable and custom awning company, uses social media to engage customers through testimonials.

marygrove awning facebook

Small businesses can use sites such as Twitter to showcase client testimonials as a way to show potential clients what they can do. In this case, it’s a perfectly installed awning. 

Social media encourages engagement, transparent communication, and brand exposure. These elements create a level of personalization and trust with your customer base. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, small businesses leveraging social media can attract customers while they spend an increasing amount of time at home and online. 

2. Use Email Marketing Campaigns to Connect With Customers

While some may argue that email marketing is outdated, most small businesses still use email to facilitate personal connections with their clients. 

More than half of small businesses (54%) plan to use email marketing as part of their digital marketing strategy in 2020.

email marketing 54%

According to HubSpot, 80% of business leaders believe that email marketing amplifies customer retention. Nearly 60% of respondents of its State of Email Marketing survey say that marketing emails influence their purchasing behavior.

“Email marketing is paramount to the retention of your customer base,” said Ryan Masten, founder of Earn2Trade, a small education and financial business. “There’s much more room for personalization and customization in an email, as you’re communicating directly with your own customers.”

The personalization keeps customers coming back. 

The impact of email marketing goes beyond a cluttered inbox. It’s a key digital marketing tool for small businesses looking to expand their brand’s reach and influence.

Before the COVID-19 shutdown, Lauren Herpich, the owner of Local Food Adventures, a food tour program in California, was planning on investing in more Google and Facebook advertising. 

“However, in an effort to lower marketing costs, I’m really utilizing my email list more and making that monthly Mailchimp fee work harder for me,” Herpich said.

Instead of paying for Google and Facebook advertising, Herpich is focusing on email marketing.

Recently, Herpich sent an email announcing the company’s newest incentive, Local Love Gift Box, a collection of her culinary favorites from the Oakland, Calif., food tours. 

love gift box email marketing

People can buy the boxes and enjoy the offerings while sheltering in place. A dollar of their sales go to support a local food bank and a food delivery nonprofit. 

Herpich’s email list has been an effective resource to get the word out. 

“Within 32 minutes of hitting send, I received my first order from someone on my mailing list,” Herpich said, “Since I can personalize the messaging using merge tags in the subject line and in the email copy, it’s easy to make it a more one-to-one communication channel.”

A lot of things aren’t going as planned for businesses during this time. Using older staples such as email can provide a sense of stability while remaining an urgent communication tool. 

3. Expand Website Marketing Efforts

Online visibility is extremely important for businesses in this day and age. If your business doesn’t have a website, your presence within your market is essentially nonexistent. 

Small businesses need look no further than their own web platforms to increase their knowledge of website marketing. 

In 2020, about 56% of small businesses invest website marketing to increase their digital presence.

56% web marketing small business

Web marketing is a more focused digital effort through in-house resources. By building online relationships, website marketing is one of the most measurable tactics. 

Dronegenuity is a small business that provides aerial drone solutions to customers. 

Website marketing is its main focus when it comes to digital marketing. The company focuses on producing drone-related content through articles and videos for the company’s blog. 

“We have an extensive website set up with our core values, services, applications, locations, and so much more,” said Dan Edmoson, founder and CEO of Dronegenuity. 

With the COVID-19 pandemic, content creation can help small businesses, like Dronegenuity, provide their customer base relevant information that impacts their specific market.

drone blog posts

Relevant blog posts give your business the perfect opportunity for authority in your market. 

Small businesses are increasing their web presence to meet their customers where they are right now, making the transition as seamless as possible. 

With online preferences changing frequently alongside the growing digital market, small businesses can add variety to their websites by producing timely content with a personal touch. 

For example, Dronegenuity’s recent blog post tackles money-saving tips for drone entrepreneurs who are looking to cut costs during the pandemic. 

Small businesses can study their site’s traffic and engagement levels, finding areas to grow their success. This is a quick way to find what works and what doesn’t. 

4. Start Using Video Marketing

The use of eye-catching videos can help small businesses dominate the digital marketing circuit because videos make the average user spend 88% more time on a website. 

Despite over half of consumers wanting to see more video content from brands they support, only about one-third of small businesses (32%) plan to invest more in video marketing this year.

32% video marketing

For the Local Love Gift Boxes, Herpich uses video as a promotional medium.

“As a former news producer, I understand the value of video, especially now in a more fragmented and digitally focused marketplace,” Herpich said. “In a quick one-minute video, I can not only tell but also show my message.”

In a quick one-minute video, I can not only tell but also show my message.

In a recent video, Herpich marketed the gift boxes as a great idea for Mother’s Day. 

local love mothers day

Herpich describes the boxes as a perfect gift and also as an avenue to support small businesses. 

Clean Origin, a company that creates diamond engagement rings from its lab, uses video marketing for promotion and showcasing its products.

clean origin youtube

Along with interviews and advertisements, Clean Origin posts videos of its products. 

“Over the course of two years, we’ve amassed over one million YouTube views and hundreds of thousands of views on Facebook and Instagram,” said Brandon Cook, the director of marketing at Clean Origin. “We’ve seen mixed results from an attribution standpoint but firmly believe that brand influence is worth every penny.”

Although creating an engaging video involves more of a time commitment, different businesses are using video marketing as a resource for exposure during this period of time.

Professional software isn’t necessary to create a thought-provoking piece of video.

Small businesses on a budget can create homemade videos that fit their audience’s needs and expectations. 

More people are working remotely and spending their free time with their laptops. A visually appealing, short video can do wonders for your engagement rate. 

More small businesses should consider the interactive and engaging value of video marketing. 

 5. Use In-House Digital Marketing Resources

Small businesses use internal in-house resources who provide their company with creative digital marketing ideas. 

The majority of small businesses (63%) rely on in-house employees who work on digital marketing services in addition to other responsibilities. Only 16% of small businesses use employees that only focus on digital marketing. 

small businesses use in-house resources for digital marketing

For companies looking to save money during this economic downturn, using the employees your company already has for digital marketing is a great solution.

Those employees also know your services and products the best.

“At Dronegenuity, we use internal staff to produce our digital marketing campaigns,” Edmonson said. “We believe that the success of our campaigns depends heavily on inner knowledge of past projects, as that person knows exactly where to look.”

With the huge number of digital marketing agencies globally, it’s an interesting tidbit that small businesses tend to keep their services in-house. 

Why is this? 

Laura Spawn, the CEO and co-founder of Virtual Vocations, a remote job listing board, relies on her talented team’s skills. 

“As a smaller company, we have team members who apply their skills across several different areas of the business, including creating graphics for social media, writing marketing content, and other marketing-focused projects,” Spawn said.

Because of the small staff size of Virtual Vocations, different members of the team contribute in a number of ways outside of their typical job description. 

In our current landscape, recruitment and hiring are on pause for a majority of companies in order to cut costs and many businesses are going completely remote, so  many companies are relying on the skills of their own employees for digital marketing.