Four Digital Marketing Must-Do’s for Small Businesses in 2016
IT'S SPRINGTIME, a.k.a. a good time to refresh those to-do lists and do a little digital spring cleaning. As the digital marketing landscape is constantly changing, it can be hard for a business owner to determine what is a trend versus what is a requirement. Let k2forma break it down for you.
With many of our small business clients, we are seeing several recurring issues. If you are considering doing anything this year to improve your overall web visibility and digital marketing, please consider these four to-do’s:
- make sure your web site is mobile friendly,
- optimize your web site’s page load speed,
- incorporate data insights, and
- actively monitor and use those insights.
It may be surprising, but many small businesses are not doing these simple housekeeping items. Let’s discuss why each is important:
In April of 2015, Google announced that it was going to start ranking mobile-friendly sites higher than those that are not mobile friendly. In the first six months of this roll-out we at k2forma noticed that the impact to non-responsive sites was minimal. However, in the second half of 2015, Google dropped the hammer. All kinds of issues emerged with clients who were still running non-responsive HTML sites. Google was not indexing the non-mobile-friendly site properly, or in some cases the site was buried in the results. If you are unsure whether or not to make this change for your company’s website I’ll be very clear: this is a need-to-have, not a nice-to-have. If you fall into the category of businesses that are running a non-responsive web site, this change should be your number one priority for 2016.
A recent addition to Google’s insight tools is the PageSpeed analyzer. Any time Google gives you a tool to analyze things like mobile-friendly or page-speed, you can bet that they are evaluating your web site’s search ranking based on those same metrics. It’s a good idea to test your site and fix what you can. The PageSpeed tool also provides pretty helpful recommendations about how to improve your page’s load time. Spoiler alert: it’s mostly tied to your site’s images. Try it and see!
Most of your marketing efforts on the web can be quantified through data. With Google Analytics and third-party software, you can tell who is coming to your site, how long they spend on your site, and what they are looking at. However, this only covers surface level insights. If you dig further, you can start to understand exactly what people want based on what they click on. You can then start to translate these activities to your sales pipeline, your R&D, and more. But you cannot do any of this unless you are collecting the data. Google Analytics is free and easy to use. There are also several third-party software packages that can help you collect and analyze these insights. Bottom line: if you aren’t currently using Google Analytics or some form of insight software, this should also be a top priority for you.
The Intersection of Search and Social
Ok, you’ve heard it a thousand times already: “Get your business on social media.” But why? Google has begun to include social media sharing as a factor in validating the quality of the content that it serves up. For any random search, Google returns tens of millions of answers. From those millions of answers, it has to choose the best ten answers to put on the first page. In order for Google to do that well, it needs to understand language and the essence of what you’re searching for.
One of the ways that Google understands language is by understanding the context and activities around that language. If your business is posting blogs and those blogs are being shared and commented on by a social media audience, then Google recognizes that as validation for your content. Hence, Google will assign a higher quality ranking to that content, increasing the likelihood that it will appear in those first ten results. The end result trickles down to your overall web site’s performance in Google searches. By consistently creating timely and authoritative content, and sharing that content with an engaged social media audience, your web site does better in search results. By not participating in the social media space, you’re missing a huge component of SEO.
If your business is in the digital space, meaning your customers find you via the web, then you really cannot afford to ignore these four items. Don’t be intimidated by their complexity. Google offers many tools that are free and easy to use, from Google Analytics to their PageSpeed Analyzer. If you’re still using that site that was built in 2008, you need to invest in a mobile-friendly site. And if you’ve been sitting on the social media sidelines, thinking it was just for teenagers, it’s time to get in the game. Take care of these four items in 2016 and you will be well positioned to grow your business in the digital space.
To learn more about how to keep your business on the cutting edge with the latest marketing tactics and initiatives, visit k2forma.com. We will be presenting a detailed discussion on the intersection of search and social at Pathway Women’s Business Center’s Tech Academy on March 29th. Please register to attend the workshop and learn more about how your social media efforts can impact your overall web visibility.
K2forma is a strategy-driven creative agency founded in 2007 by award-winning designer Kelly Koeppel. Ms. Koeppel has created digital marketing campaigns, brand identities, signage, publications and events for numerous world-class corporations and organizations including Metro Nashville Arts Commission, Tennessee Craft, Caterpillar, Inc., Polo Ralph Lauren, Talbots, Rent-A-Center, Belk, The Chicago Board of Trade, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Lowe’s, and many more.