Let’s face it, 2020 was pretty pants.

It was possibly one of the toughest years on record for small businesses, even if you did receive a grant to keep you afloat.

However, it has given many businesses the time to pause, reflect and adapt their business models to survive during the pandemic.

Businesses who weren’t online before certainly are now.

It can be a minefield out there though, trying to wade through all the noise and understand exactly where you should be focussing your efforts.

With that in mind, we’ve put together our top digital marketing tips for small businesses in 2021.

1. Focus on video

Did you know, if your website uses video it’s 50% more likely to appear in organic search results. Yes you read that right: fifty percent!

That’s because Google knows how highly people value video and so ranks it higher than plain old text posts (like this one, ironically – video is one of our focuses for 2021 too!).

Video marketing is one of the most important digital marketing tips you should be getting on top of – and don’t just think YouTube.

There are so many ways to do video these days, and don’t be worried about putting yourself in front of the camera – you don’t have to.

Use Instagram Reels to create cool montages of your product, or put out tips related to your industry.

Are you a baker? Create a clip showing how you made your latest cake.

Are you a psychologist? Use video to put out your top 10 tips for reducing stress.

Get imaginative with video to provide value for your viewers / followers and it’ll pay off.

2. Local SEO

If your business isn’t optimised for local search you could be missing out on 80% of your potential customers.

So, what is it and how does it work? We can’t go into everything here but, in essence, local search is what someone does when they want to find, for example, their nearest pizza restaurant.

They’ll head to Google and put in ‘pizza restaurants near me’ or ‘pizza restaurants Barnstaple’.

If your site isn’t optimised to appear in those kind of search results, that person will have no idea you exist.

There are tonnes of ways you can optimise your site and your business for local SEO, including:

  • Getting on Google My Business and posting regularly
  • Add location pages to your website, and drop your location into as many pages as possible
  • Make sure your address and contact information are correct wherever they appear online
  • Optimise your URLs, headers and meta description for local SEO

3. Improve your communication

If you’ve still been operating during lockdown, do people know about it?

Have you been regularly posting on social, sending out marketing emails, engaging in forums, using paid ads and using anything else at your fingertips to tell people?

So many of us assume people just know about us and our services, but if you’re not taking the necessary steps to promote yourself you may as well be the world’s best kept secret.

Make sure you’re marketing yourself properly so you stand out above the crowd.

4. Get social

This may sound like a no brainer, but so many businesses seem to have dropped the ball with social during the pandemic.

Just because you may not be ‘open’ in the usual sense doesn’t mean you have to go quiet.

As a general rule, only 20% of your social content should be sales-speak in any case – the other 80% should be, you guessed it, social content!

Put out interesting, funny, engaging, valuable posts which your followers will want to share.

Check in with people, ask questions, see how they’re doing and make sure your business name stays in the back of their mind.

That way they’ll remember you when the world opens up again.

5. Provide value with your content

We’ve just touched on this, but it’s SO important we’ve given it its own section in this article.

When was the last time you saw a social media post or a marketing email that really resonated with you?

Made you stop what you were doing and read because it really spoke to you?

Your business is selling a product or service which resolves people’s pain points.

Tap into this with your content and give people what they really want. For example, if you’re a sports masseuse who can’t operate during lockdown, why not share tips for reducing injury from home?

Or, if you’re a gardener, tell people the top five plants they should be tending to at this time of year.

You’re a specialist in your field – use your knowledge to help others.

6. Email marketing

Not exactly a new tactic here, but one you should be focusing on nonetheless.

Huge amounts of us are stuck at home with not much else to do other than browse the internet and check our emails.

Get yourself a piece of that pie by creating highly compelling, engaging emails which speak to your ideal customer. 

There’s a reason email marketing has one of the highest returns on investment – it costs little to nothing apart from the time it takes you to write it.

However, you need a carefully crafted email with a great offering and an engaging message if you want it to work.

Better yet, use segmentation to really appeal directly to your customers / clients. For example, offer a discount to someone who left an item in their basket or send a dedicated e-shot to everyone who bought a specific product from you in the past six months.

Top digital marketing tips for small businesses in 2021

So there you have it.

You may be thinking some of these aren’t exactly new digital marketing tips, and you’d be spot on.

They are however the ones we think small businesses should be focusing on in order to maximise their digital marketing impact.

If you’re still left scratching your head, we’d love you to put us to work.

Contact Seahorse Creative to see how we can boost your digital marketing strategy before you get left behind. 

Email us at support@seahorsecreative.co.uk or call 07973 719047.