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Effective Digital Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses

December 4, 2019
Growth Marketing
6 Min Read

It can be extremely difficult to maximise the limited marketing budget of a small business while also competing with bigger brands, but it’s not an impossible endeavour to great your small business on a small budget.

To help you refine your digital marketing strategy, Traktion has compiled six proven digital marketing strategies for your business to get a higher return on investment, regardless of your industry. 

Before deciding on a digital marketing strategy, smallbusiness owners must ask themselves these 6 key questions to know which strategy to take on board:

1. What is the goal of your marketing campaign?

Depending on your budget, it could be extending your reach, generating more leads, sales and engagement or gaining more website traffic. Your chosen marketing channels and tactics will vary, depending on your marketing goals.

For instance, if you are an SME e-commerce store that’s interested in boosting Black Friday sales, then it may be more efficient to go for paid marketing channels over improving SEO in your digital marketing strategy.

2. Who are your target customers?

Setting up a customer profile can help guide you to marketing directly to your target customers. In our previous blog post, we’ve discussed ways to create a simple customer profile for your business.

Once a customer profile is created, small business owners can get a better idea on which existing marketing channels they can leverage upon and even create more personalised marketing messages as part of their digital marketing strategy.

3. Who are your direct/indirect competitors?

Is their product/service better? How can you incorporate some of these improvements into your current business model? By knowing your competitors, small business owners can gain more insights into what they are up against in the market.

Benchmark your digital marketing plan against the strategies conducted by your competitors.

4. What is your competitive advantage?

Once you understand your competitive advantage, it is easier to drive the message home to your potential customers in your digital marketing plan.

5. How do you measure marketing success?

Through measuring your marketing’s performance, small business owners will be able to understand what works. For businesses, Google Analytics is a must as it provides valuable information regarding your website traffic, since you can monitor the performance of your campaigns, device functionality and user experience.

6. What is the lifetime value of your customers? 

Knowing the lifetime value (LTV) of your customers can help SMEs determine how much they are willing to pay to acquire new customers. If the average LTV of a customer is £1,000, spending under this amount would be more profitable. 

Here is a simple formula to calculate LTV: (Average Annual Transactions Per Customer) x (Average Profit Per Transaction) x (Average # of Years Customers Remain)

Now that you’ve asked yourself these questions, you can now choose a digital marketing strategy. Based on our research, here are the best recommended strategies on the market:


With paid search advertising, small business owners can drive more traffic from the side through ads rather than organic content, paying a small fee to a search engine when ad is clicked. Whilst the most effective ads are usually run by digital marketing specialists, some of the best platforms for SMEs to experiment with and utilise paid advertising are the following:

Google Ads

Google Ads is one of the best platforms for paid search advertising. However, it takes some serious planning before seeing measurable results. 

An example of pay-per-click ads

According to Ad Espresso, here are some simple steps you can take when creating a Google Ads strategy:

Create a realistic budget

It’s important to think about a marketing budget that works. Depending on the keywords you’re using, £100 might either be too much or little for your small business.

Pick your advertising medium

It’s important to choose which advertising budget works for your business, which is heavily dependent on your budget. For instance, Google Shopping would probably be your best option for e-commerce. However, there are many other platforms Google has on offer in terms of enhancing your online marketing, which we will discuss further down the blog post. 

Find the right keywords

Several businesses make the mistake of paying for big keywords. However, picking the basic keywords is only putting you instantly in an ad war with other businesses. Instead, choosing niche keywords are both cheaper and pay back in the long-run. 

Create focused ad groups

Focused ad groups dramatically change both the quality of your potential customers. The smaller your budget, the more you’d have to think about your keywords to attract the right audience.  

Choose your bidding strategy

This a detailed topic to discuss in depth but more can be found on how to create the right bidding strategy here!

FB Ads:

Marketing guru Neil Patel gives a step-by-step guide to get started on Facebook Advertising. Some of his tips include:

Create a realistic budget

Facebook’s daily budget is highly customisable, depending on what works for your business. The aim is to not get the most cost per click but rather cost per action to see if you are driving product/service sales. 

Create a fan page

If you customise your fan page correctly, you’ll be able to unlock opportunities to find your target audience, which you can redirect to your landing page.

Create your first campaign

By manipulating your options on Facebook Ad manager, business owners can weigh their priorities based on the options Facebook provides about which group to target.

Create your ad set

Once you’ve created a campaign, you’ll be redirected to making your first ad set. Facebook lets you specify countries, age and even gender or your potential customers, which you can change, depending on your goals. 

Create your first ad

Simplicity is key. For instance, using a single picture and short headline creates more of an impact rather than a photo carousel with a lengthy description.

Create another ad to do A/B testing

The best thing to do here is to test a number of ads and kill the ones that don’t work. Although Facebook also gives you the option to create a similar ad, make sure to only change one element to monitor results adequately. 


Google Analytics provides insights on the performance of your website. Through the analytics platform, small business owners can set the right goal for your marketing campaign, understand session discrepancies and utilise filters and attributions. Custom alerts can also be made to know when a goal is met. 

Google My Business lets entrepreneurs control and index business information, as well as manage online reviews. This is particularly helpful for local business, since it’s been revealed by Google that 1 out of 3 businesses have a local intent. 

Registering for Google My Business increases the chance of being featured in a zero-click search


Research by Smart Insights shows that email marketing is still one of the most effective types of marketing channels. Here are some quick fire tips for you if you’d like to get ahead in email marketing:

Personalise your emails

Small things such as putting the first names of customers in the subject line can go a long way in converting leads.

Avoid spammy words

A list of words to avoid can be found here.

Get permission 

Make sure to ask customers before you put them in your mailing list to know you’re targeting the right audience. 

Provide valuable content relevant to your target customers

Give them what they’d like to see and integrate your product/service seamlessly into your content.

A/B test on different subject lines or content wording

Through doing A/B testing, business owners can refine their customer segmentation, content or tone of voice.

Make it easy for customers to unsubscribe

This increases the tangibility of your business to consumers and shows that you’re not just spam.

LinkedIn’s email marketing

NOTE: Make sure that your sales pitch is consistent. The ultimate goal for email marketing is to engage customers and they won’t if they’re confused by your core message.


Content marketing is the art of creating both new and valuable content for your target audience. The goal is to convert this audience into profitable customer actions. 

Babylon Health uses blog posts for their content marketing 

In another blog post, we discussed the ways to create the right content marketing strategy for your business.


An SEOs grows your website’s traffic by organically increasing the visibility of your website on a search engine by the use of various keywords. Although it’s free, improving one’s SEOs can be a timely process that takes maximum effort to manage. 

If you’d like to increase your SEOs, here is a simple checklist to make sure your content is reverting back to your website:

  1. Have you optimised the title and meta description of your website pages?
  1. Can you identify broken links?
  2. Did you compress your images for fast-loading time?
  3. Have you used alt-text to describe images in case your images don’t load?
  4. Have you built backlinks?
  5. Have you linked your website internally?
  6. Did you optimise your website for mobile?
  7. Have you standardized your URL structures?
  8. Have you uploaded your sitemap on Google Search Console?

Why are keywords important?

Keywords are important to be able to rank higher on search engine results. By doing keyword research, business owners can create content based on those keywords, which leads to a higher SEO score. 

For Google Ads, SEOs can create higher quality scores (with the premise that you already have enough relevant content), which would give you a better chance to win the ad bidding auction among other competitors. 

How to do keyword research?

There are several tools that you can utilise to search the effectiveness of words on web search engine results, namely: SEMRush, Spyfu, Google Trends, Ubersuggest and SimilarWeb. 

While you’re scouting competitors, check the keywords that these websites are using. Validate their keywords through one of these platforms and filter out the words that don’t perform well. The remaining words are the keywords that you should create your content from.

Google Trends interface


A tool used by both startups and big brands, social media marketing has become a powerful tool to increase brand awareness and drive traffic organically.

Good social media marketing by Monzo

We went deeper into the social media trends to watch for in our blog post here. 

In conclusion

Organic reach has been slowly declining; however, through combining these marketing tactics, small business owners will be able to increase their brand awareness, drive online conversions and compete in the digital marketplace.

If you'd like a digital marketing specialist to help run, execute and plan for your digital marketing strategy, Traktion is here to help with our exclusive network of pre-vetted digital marketing experts. We're completely free for small businesses to use to find, hire, and engage verified digital marketers.

Find your marketer here, for any budget. Matched across 25+ factors.

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