7 Digital Marketing Trends for Small (and Local) Business in 2014

Understanding the trends in digital marketing allows small businesses to compete with bigger companies. Having a strong digital marketing strategy is becoming vital as more people are consistently accessing the web through their mobile devices. Understanding the importance of these digital marketing trends can also help small business owners make smart budgeting decisions to create the biggest impact.

  1. Freshness. An important aspect to consider when looking to boost digital marketing is the freshness of your website. Search engines give more attention to websites that provide a high level of engagement. Features such as polls, social media integration, reviews and frequently updated content provide an advantage over websites without these features. Your website should also contain micro-data, which allows search engines to quickly decipher the information on the website. Finally, having a fast download and user-friendly format is essential. I recommend a Bootstrap framework for a modern look and feel.
  2. Have a Mobile Strategy. Mobile web traffic is expected to surpass desktop traffic in 2014. This is an important point to understand. Approximately 1.2 billion people search the web from a mobile device, and 34% of adultsDigital Marketing now own a tablet. Having a responsive website that automatically adjusts and scales to a mobile device’s format is crucial. Having an app for your business is even better, but creating your own app is very expensive and nearly impossible to maintain.  Adding mobile promotions (with Save Local Now) will also aid in building your mobile traffic.
  3. SEO is Still Important. Despite all the changes and developments over the last 18 months, search engine optimization is still important and needs to be taken into consideration when creating a website and adding content to that website. Making sure the name, address, and phone number of the company are consistent is important. There is still no replacement for content marketing as a key factor in SEO. SEO has been shifting from keyword rankings to the relevance and timeliness of the content.
  4. Invest in Paid Search and Media. Online directories and reviews for websites are an important element of digital marketing. So much so that it is worth an investment to be included in the directories and websites relevant to your business (pssst, you can get these benefits for free with Save Local Now)
  5. Grow Your Social Media Presence. Having a strong social media presence is increasingly important. A company’s level of influence within social media is now linked to search engine optimization and establishing your website as an authority within your niche. Key social media channels you should be involved in are Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube (no seriously, Google + is becoming more and more relevant). But be careful, do not plunge into the pitfalls of social media.  Be sure to post quality information, then get back to work!
  6. Customer Reviews are Beneficial. First, it is important to maintain a high quality product and customer service. Customer reviews are very influential to potential customers, and having positive reviews can greatly impact your business. Make sure to regularly review comments, ratings, and reviews left on your website. Responding to reviews will increase engagement with your customers and show potential customers what good service they can expect.
  7. Email Marketing is Still King. With Google removing that annoying “display all images” button, it now allows images to pop up in emails quickly (although there is a restriction to access folders and cache info).  Taking advantage of crafting a message for your customer through email is important. The average SMB has about 2,000 email addresses, and building a professional looking message through email is more important than ever (again, free with Save Local Now!).