Digital Marketing for Small Businesses: Strategies for Long-Lasting Success

09.27.2023 Nick Zinkie5 min

It’s easy for marketing and advertising experts to sing the praises of building brand awareness and driving conversions through targeted digital campaigns.

For small business owners, though, the potential value of digital marketing must be considered alongside the realities those local brands are facing on a daily basis: slim profit margins, endless competition from rival brands, and limited budgets available to fund those digital campaigns.

Too many small businesses make the common misstep of testing out a single, small digital campaign that delivers poor results and discourages future investments. While it’s wise to not waste money on investments that don’t deliver a return, this short-sighted endeavor can cost your business valuable opportunities for customer acquisition and sales growth in the months and years ahead.

The right approach to digital marketing for small businesses is to invest in strategies, tools and partnerships that will position your campaigns for success both today and in the future.

Wondering how to make this happen for your business? Read on for some of our best digital marketing tips for small businesses.

Why Digital Marketing is Important for Small Business Growth

It’s a fair question for small business leaders to ask: what are the benefits of digital marketing for small businesses, and what do we risk losing if we don’t make this investment?

We’re glad you asked. Here’s the short answer:

  • New customer acquisition is the cornerstone of business stability and growth. You’ve started a business—but how will you grow a customer base? You might have to fight to win over customers from local competition, and you likely need to hit certain growth benchmarks to keep your business solvent.
  • Small businesses lack the infrastructure and resources to attract customers on their own. Limited owned media channels, weak organic search presence and an unfamiliar local brand conspire against your promotional efforts, making it difficult to build local brand awareness.
  • Successful digital marketing is an investment—not an expense. At Cox Media, we develop digital campaigns with the expectation that the revenue generation from those marketing efforts will exceed what our clients spend. If you’re generating positive ROI from digital marketing, you’re funding your own business growth.

Success Starts With Knowing Your Target Audience

Effective small business digital marketing always begins with identifying your target audience. If you don’t understand your customer base, you’ll end up missing out on all of the benefits of digital marketing for small businesses.

Defining this audience is valuable not only for your digital marketing strategy, but for your business operations as a whole. Sit down and consider the demographic profile of your customer base, as well as their interests and pain points. What are they looking for in a business like yours? What unique value can your business offer?

Consider the location of these customers and where you’re likely to find them online. Location-based targeting, social media, digital video, cable TV, online search and other digital channels all offer specific benefits and opportunities when trying to make audience connections via marketing.

More Marketing Channels = Optimized Performance

A single marketing campaign on a single channel may be able to deliver positive ROI, but there’s no question that a multi-channel approach raises the ceiling for campaign performance and potential return on investment.

Here are some of the reasons why:

  • Your customers are already active across a wide range of channels. Consumers don’t limit themselves to a single digital channel, such as cable TV or social media. A strong digital marketing strategy for small business brands will seek audience engagement through the best-fit channels.
  • Multiple channels enable more opportunities to create marketing touches with your target audience. A single marketing touch is unlikely to drive a conversion, or even make a lasting impact on building brand awareness. Multiple touches increases the long-term value of this engagement.
  • A diverse mix of channels helps you optimize your spending. High-performing channels can be supported with a larger slice of your marketing budget, while cost-effective ad buys and bidding can help you secure quality audience engagement at a competitive price.

Embrace Innovative Marketing Tools for Small Business Campaigns

The value of online marketing for small business brands is greatly improved by access to innovative marketing technologies. If you’re building digital campaigns on your own, you’re missing out on access to game-changing tools including:

  • Programmatic ad-buying. Many digital marketing services for small business brands offer access to programmatic tools that automate and optimize your ad spending, reducing the manual labor of marketing while increasing your potential ROI.
  • Dynamic ad insertion. Available for both linear cable TV and digital video content, dynamic ad insertion lets your business deliver ads to a targeted audience watching this content, rather than a larger, more general viewership.
  • Geotargeted ad delivery. Location-based ad delivery can reach consumers by ZIP code, by proximity to your business location, or based on other geographic information, such as visits to a local competitor.
  • Robust analytics. Along with embracing the enhanced capabilities of Google Analytics 4, platform-specific reporting and analytics provided by small business digital marketing experts can offer data-driven insights to refine your digital strategy and push ROI even higher over time.

Increase ROI By Working With a Digital Marketing Partner

When small businesses attempt digital marketing on their own, they inevitably suffer from simple mistakes and inefficiencies resulting from their lack of specialty experience.

This is where digital marketing services for small business brands can offer exceptional value: by supporting your marketing ambitions with expert guidance and innovative tools, a digital marketing partner can save your business time and money while accelerating revenue generation and growth.

A trusted partner can help your business align marketing campaigns with your brand’s specific goals, giving your small business the marketing capabilities of a much larger organization. Invest in better digital marketing for your small business today—contact Cox Media to get started.

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About the Author

Nick Zinkie

Nick is the Sr. Performance Marketing Manager for Cox Media’s corporate team with over 8 years of experience designing and implementing digital programs within B2B, B2C, and D2C (DTC) environments. He started his career as a web designer/developer and is passionate about telling compelling stories that help connect customers to brands through digital experiences. Outside of the digital world, you can find Nick having dance parties with his cute little toddler Cora, supporting his favorite soccer team Atlanta United, and enjoying a fresh cup of coffee.

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