The Small Business Online Marketing Playbook
Master Marketing Your Small Business on the Internet Using This Easy to Follow and Implement Guide.
Before we dive in, I want to say how excited that I am that you’re reading this playbook. Creating this was a labor of love and I hope it helps you to grow your business in the same way I’ve been able to help so many of my clients.
My name is Brad Dixon and I got into Digital Marketing because I needed a way to grow my business, when traditional means of promotion started to lose their effectiveness for me.
Over the last 20 years, I have made it my mission to become an expert in helping brick and mortar businesses grow using Digital Marketing. I’ve spent countless hours learning about and testing just about every digital marketing technique under the sun.
All that research and testing led me to what works, what doesn’t work, and what order you should do everything in to get the biggest bang for your buck.
This “Playbook” will help you understand the techniques that you should be implementing in your business and how to be more informed when hiring someone to help you implement them.
This guide isn’t meant to be consumed in one sitting. Bookmark this guide, read it in chunks, and come back anytime to keep learning more.
Let’s get started with a 10,000 foot view of what you should be doing to market your business online and in what order.
Chapter 2: Your Digital Stack: What kind of Online Marketing should Small Businesses spend their money on (and in what order).
There are so many options out there when it comes to marketing your business online. With all those choices, it’s hard to know what the most effective ways to spend your business’ marketing dollars are.
After years of working with businesses and helping them with their online marketing, I’ve compiled a ton of data that has lead me to know exactly what works and what doesn’t. Putting that data into practice has lead our clients to being extremely successful with their online marketing.
Businesses that are successful marketing themselves online (and don’t overspend) have mastered something that we call the “Digital Stack”.
This “Digital Stack” is a term that we came up with to describe the order that you should implement certain online marketing tactics so that you squeeze every dollar of value out of everything that you’re doing online.
When you hear a business owner say that they failed using a certain type of marketing online, it is usually because they used a technique that didn’t have a good foundation.
For example, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to run a Facebook Ad campaign to generate leads for a business if the business has a website and/or Facebook Page that doesn’t look great. This campaign typically fails because prospective customers like to do additional research when they see an offer on Facebook. If they see an offer, and then go look at a webpage or Facebook Page that looks like your nephew built it in 1995, that doesn’t make them want to actually claim the offer they saw on Facebook.
I’ve seen a ton of business owners who have run a special offer with Facebook Ads (on their own) that ultimately failed at first due to them not having their “digital house in order”. In short, their brand looked terrible when people did just a little extra checking on them (because their website and Facebook page weren’t optimized).
We ended up running a nearly identical Facebook campaign when they signed up with us, but with one big difference.
The big difference was that we laid the groundwork for their campaign before we ran it. We made sure that their website and Facebook page looked great before we ran the campaign. When potential customers saw their ad, they got a good impression of the business on their other properties and followed through with claiming the offer because of it.
With that said, in what order should you setup your Digital Marketing Activities?
Your “Digital Stack” (What order should you do things?)
As you can see from the Infographic above, the order in which you decide to build your business’ digital marketing presence is important.
Let’s walk through what techniques you should be implementing, the order you should be doing it in, and why.
Stage 1: The Foundation
Making Sure You look Good When They Look for You.
It’s important to understand what happens when a prospective customer hears about your business from a friend, a radio ad, the newspaper, or from any other place you might come up.
Whether it be from a referral or any other marketing channel, the typical person will do a little pre-research on your business before they ever pick up the phone or walk through your front door. Before anyone decides to do business they typically do two things.
The two ways prospective clients research you:
1) They search for you on Google.
First they’re going to head over to Google and they are going to check out your website. You need to make sure that your website is doing some key things and that it looks a certain way. We cover all of that here.
2) They search for you on Facebook
Second (and sometimes first) people are going to type in the name of your business on Facebook and see what’s happening there. People go to your website to get basic information, they search for you on Facebook because they want to get a peak at “what is actually happening on the inside”. I cover more on why your Facebook page has to look great and must be active right here.
Stage 2: The Business Drivers
Getting More Business through the Door.
Once you have a great website and have your Facebook page posting content daily, you officially have a foundation laid for your practice to start reaching out for more business through your digital assets. If you didn’t have the foundation laid, your lead generating activities (Facebook Ads and Email Newsletters) could fall flat when people did a little research on you, after seeing your ad or emails.
With your foundation laid, you want to focus your attention on two “business driving” activities. One of the activities is designed to get more of your existing customers through the door (Email newsletters). The other is designed to get new prospects through the door (Facebook Ads).
The two ways to drive more business through the door:
1) Email Newsletters to Existing Customers
One of the easiest ways to get more money coming into your business is to get existing customers to come back in and spend more money for services or products that they need. So many business owners and managers forget this, but it’s as easy as sending a reminder via email. The secret is to make sure that your email newsletter is something that contains value in itself. I cover more on how to create an email that drives more income into your business right here.
2) Facebook Ads to New Potential Customers
One of the easiest ways to reach the kinds of people that would be a perfect new customer is through the power of Facebook ads. Unfortunately, most businesses fail with Facebook Ads because they have no idea how to setup the kind of “sales funnel” that works well with this medium. I cover exactly how we successfully use Facebook ads with our clients right here.
Stage 3: The Domination Strategies
How to Become Number 1 in Your Market
Once you have all the Foundation components (Website and Active Facebook Page) and are effectively driving more income generating business with things like Email Newsletters and Facebook Ads, it’s time to focus on the things that allow you to dominate your local marketing.
These technique are a little more technical and take a little more time to implement properly, but allow you to be years ahead of your competition. We focus on two main “advanced strategies” to help our clients dominate their local markets.
The two advanced Digital Marketing Strategies that Allow you to Dominate your Competition:
1) Facebook Messenger Bots
What if you could have a sales person out on Facebook 24 hours a day looking for people who need your services and reaching out to them with an offer that would get them to come in to your business? Facebook Messenger Bots are the next best thing (and they don’t ever sleep). We have had amazing success with Facebook Messenger Bots. You can see an example of how we use them right here.
2) Search Engine Optimization (AKA: Being Loved by Google)
One of the most important digital marketing techniques (but one of the most misunderstood) is getting Google to fall in love with your business. Search Engine Optimization is a long term investment in your business, but it’s one that is important to make. I’ll show you exactly how we help our clients rank for those all important “business generating keywords” right here.
Chapter 3: Your Website and What it Should Do.
The most important thing you can do when marketing your business on the Internet is creating a “home base” where people can learn about you and what you do. A great website should be the centerpiece of your digital marketing and all of your efforts should lead back to this site.
Just like you update the decorations and front facing aspects of your physical location as the years pass, you should also make sure that your website is updated and gives a true reflection of what your business is all about.
One of the big mistakes that Brick and Mortar business owners make is thinking that Social Media sites like Facebook have replaced the need for a business website. While it’s true that your Facebook Page is extremely important, your website is still the first place people look for when they want to get more info on your business from the internet.
You have to make sure that your website, at the bare minimum, has the core components that it needs to give people what they came for. At the same time, you have to make sure your website makes a great impression every time someone visits it.
Let’s talk about the 9 things every brick-and-mortar website must have.
The 9 things Your Business Website must have:
#1: A Professional and Current Appearance.
It’s not enough to just have a website these days. You have to have one that looks good and is easy to navigate.
There is nothing worse than having a website that looks like it was designed in 1995 and hasn’t been touched since. Having an outdated website telegraphs that you and your staff don’t pay attention to details and don’t care about staying current. Whether it’s fair or not, this can shift the way they think that you operate inside of your business as well.
It’s important that you have a professional design your site to be easy to navigate and to look current. It’s also extremely important that you have someone who makes sure that your site loads quickly and does weekly check-ins on your website’s health (hackers are always coming up with new ways to do damage so it’s key that you have a pro monitoring things for you.)
#2: A Peek Inside Your Location/s.
Simply put, people want to know what the inside of your business looks like before they ever decide to step foot inside of it in real life. Giving them this window into your physical location goes a long way to helping them make the decision to do business with you.
#3: Pictures of You and Your Staff.
People want to know who they will be dealing with when they decide to do business with you. It’s important for them to see your face and the faces of the people they’ll be dealing with once they come in. Putting your staff’s pictures on your website is a critical component to converting casual website visitors into paying customers.
#4: A Contact Page with Your Hours and Address.
The number one reason that people will visit your website is to figure out what your hours are, how to contact your business, and how to get to your Physical Location.
#5: Menu of Services or Products.
Having a page that describes your main services or products is a huge part of converting people into customers. A little bit of detail on what someone gets when they spend their hard earned money with you goes a long way.
#6: A Link to Your Facebook Page.
Today’s consumers typically don’t just look at your website when they are deciding whether or not to do business with you. Statistics show that consumers are overwhelmingly also using Facebook to look for your business.
Linking people to your Facebook page from your website instantly gives them a way to learn more about your business without them having to look for it themselves. (we talk about why Facebook Pages are such an important piece of your marketing puzzle here.)
#7: Content that Proves Your Expertise.
One of the most important parts of a great website (but most overlooked) is a piece of content that shows that you really know your craft. This content is usually educational in nature and may take the form of a blog post, email download, or digital book.
We create these for our clients (because they usually don’t have time to do it themselves) and this very page is an example of the kind of content that proves your expertise in your field. We have a website, but this piece of content is the kind of thing that really helps people understand what we do and how we can help them.
#8: Onboarding Documents.
This one doesn’t apply to every business but is vitally important to those that it does. If you run a business that requires people to have an exam, take a test, or apply for credit, it’s important to share those documents on your website.
This helps your potential customer prepare before they ever walk through the door. It also helps your staff point potential customers to essential documents when they are on the phone with them.
A great example of this would be a small business having their “new client history” forms on their website so that new customers could fill them out before their visit.
#9: An Always Visible Call to Action.
No matter what page of your website someone happens to be on, they need a link to immediately start the process of doing business with you.
This could be as simple as a link that says “call us now” (remember that a large percentage of people visiting your website will be viewing it on their mobile phones).
The Core Elements of a Website that Makes You Money.
Chapter 4: Your Facebook Page and Why it’s Extremely Important.
Over the last few years, Facebook has taken steps that have made it harder for businesses to get their Facebook page’s content to show up in the news feeds of people who like their page. This was done because there were so many business pages and personal pages competing for space and it only made sense to lend more space in a person’s newsfeed to their personal relationships.
Many business owners started to believe that because their pages started vanishing from the newsfeed that there was no longer any reason to put any effort into creating new content for their page.
While the reasons for having a Facebook page for your business and posting to it often have changed, it is actually more important than ever due to one key reason.
Why Facebook Pages are More Important Now than Ever.
The role of a Facebook Page has changed dramatically in the last few years. Today a Facebook page is extremely valuable to businesses because it is the second place (behind only your website) that people search for when they are looking to know more about you.
And more specifically, people go to your website to see your “professional image”. They come to your Business’ Facebook page to get a sense of your “business personality’.
Statistics show that people are overwhelmingly using Facebook as a “first hand source” of information about a business when they hear about them from a friend or from a more traditional marketing source (radio, tv, print, etc).
With the above in mind, I’d like to show you what we do to help our clients stay ahead of their competition and to use their Facebook page to convert new business every single week.
The 5 things Your Facebook Page Must Have:
#1: A Professional Profile Picture with your Logo.
This Picture is going to be one of the key elements that people use to judge your business when they first land on your page or see something that you’ve promoted with a Facebook Ad (more on that soon). You need to make sure that it has your logo featured, looks professional, and isn’t overly complicated.
#2: A Professional Cover Picture.
Your page’s cover photo is a great place to showcase your staff, facility, or to give people a hint as to what your business is all about.
#3: An Autoresponse Message.
Your staff may not be able to answer every message that gets sent to your Facebook page right away. Because of that, we setup a quick auto-response message on all of our client’s page that will let people know that we will answer their message soon, but to call the business at a certain number if they need help immediately.
#4: A Completely Filled out Business Profile.
Remember, we are optimizing our page to help people find us when they use Facebook’s search box. This means that we need to pay special attention to how we fill out our business’ profile on Facebook. This is a great guide that will show you exactly what we do when we help a client with filling out their Business page profile.
#5: Fresh Content Posted 2x Daily.
One of the most important things that you must do with your Facebook page is to make sure that it appears current and that it educates people about what you do. To appear current on Facebook (and to appeal to Facebook’s algorithms, you should be posting content 2x a day on your page.
This is something that most of our client’s don’t have time to do, so we take over all of the content creation and posting duties for them. This is critical because it shows people who search for our page that the business is on top of things and paying attention to details.
The Core Elements of a Facebook Page that Makes a Business Money.
Chapter 5: Using a “Newsletter” to Get More Business from Existing Customers.
One of the easiest ways to make more money in your business is to get your existing customers to come back more often and to buy more services/products from you.
The reason this is one of our favorite techniques is because it’s one of the easiest to implement for a client. Most businesses already have a list of existing clients and their email addresses. Most of these existing clients already love the business and the products that they sell. They just need a subtle reminder to come back in and visit.
This can be done with a simple email newsletter that is sent out once a month. This newsletter functions to cut through all the noise of your existing customer’s daily lives and remind them why they fell in love with you in the first place.
We write newsletters for our clients each and every month and the key is making sure that the email that you send out isn’t something that is just the latest promotion. It has to be something they look forward to reading because it feels personal and because it helps them.
With that said, there are 4 key components to every email newsletter that we write for our clients. These 4 things are the key to why the newsletters that we write end up driving so much extra business for our clients (without their customers feeling like they are being “sold to”).
How to Write a Great Newsletter for Your Business.
#1: Open with something topical.
The first part of your email newsletter should be something that makes it easy for your readers to relate to you. When we write newsletters for our clients, we typically open up with something that is seasonal or has to do with a holiday that everyone in the area is celebrating.
This establishes a bond early in the newsletter and opens the door for us to talk more about anything that follows.
#2: Teach them something in “x” number of steps.
The next section of our newsletter is all about teaching our audience something that will instantly impact their lives. This is something that relates to the time of year but also relates to our client’s business and their expertise.
This section is all about providing value but also about reminding existing customers why they trusted us in the first place.
#3: Remind them what you do daily.
Next we’re going to slip in a little section where we talk about something going on in our business that relates to the first 2 sections that we just covered. This section is all about reminding them that the business is still there and still doing what they do every day.
#4: Call them to Action.
Finally, we tell them to call our business or come in to take advantage of an offer.
Watch the video below for a quick example of how we get all of the above done in around 500 words.
How to write an Email Newsletter to get your Customers to Spend More with You.
Chapter 6: How to Drive New Business with Facebook Ads.
One of the most powerful and cost effective ways to drive new customers to your front door is to use Facebook Ads to put a great offer in front of a group of people that are likely to want it.
Even though Facebook Ads are a highly effective business growth tool, many business owners out there don’t understand how to use them properly. It’s a lot more complicated than just putting an offer together and then spending a little money to get it in front of a the surrounding community.
Facebook Ads work best when you put the correct offer in front of a specific audience in your community and give them a reason to take action on that offer immediately.
We run Facebook Ad Campaigns for a variety of clients and we’ve found that there is a pattern to building campaigns that work.
Let’s break down the 4 major components of a great Facebook Ad Campaign.
The Anatomy of a Great Facebook Ad Campaign.
#1: A Jaw Dropping Offer for a Specific Audience.
One of the keys to creating an offer that works well for Facebook Ads is to create an offer that is specific to a small subset of people (and that doesn’t fit other people at all). People want to believe that the reason they are getting a deal on something has to do with something special about them.
You’ll see a drastic difference in your conversions when you create offers that are highly tailored to an audience. Facebook allows you to target these people directly in your community, so it only makes sense to customize the offer to speak directly to those audiences.
#2: A Great Landing Page to Get their Info.
The secret to campaigns that really work is to get people off of Facebook to present the offer.
A “Landing Page” is a special webpage that we create for our clients that allows us to present the offer and get their information without having all of the distractions of Facebook hurting our conversion.
#3: A Thank you Page to Push them to Action.
Once someone decides that they want the offer we put in front of them, and puts their information in on the “landing page”, we want to send them to a special page that “accelerates” their conversion into a real customer.
To help get people to take action faster, we build a special webpage called a “thank you page” that pushes them to actually pick up the phone or come in to your business right away.
#4: An Eye Catching Facebook Ad Creative.
Once you create a great offer and create the pages that you can use to collect leads, you need a great way to put that in front of people.
A Great Facebook ad is “eye catching” and is also pointed at a very specific audience in your community.
The Core Elements of a Facebook Ad that Generates New Business.
Chapter 7: What is a Messenger Bot (and why you need one).
Messenger Bots are a relatively new technique in the Digital Marketing world, but one that we’ve had a ton of success with when implementing them for our clients.
A Messenger Bot is a way to leverage the fact that almost everyone out there answers their Facebook Messages right away. We can build very specific campaigns that act like a “Facebook Ad Campaign” (as discussed in the last chapter), but adds in a very personalized followup that happens right inside of Facebook Messenger.
What makes these so effective is that the potential customer feels like they are getting instant attention from your business when they start “talking” to your messenger bot.
Let’s walk through an example of a messenger bot campaign.
An Example of an Effective Messenger Bot Campaign:
Step 1: Post a Great Offer on Your Page.
We start off with a simple Facebook post that advertises a great offer. This post looks just like any other Facebook post on your page. The magic happens because we’ve connect a “bot” to listen for responses on the post and to “talk back” to people who comment.
Note: We also use a highly targeted Facebook ad to get our post more attention from the surrounding market.
Step 2: Ask people to Comment to Get the Offer.
In the post that we created, we ask people to comment if they want to take advantage of the offer.
Step 3: The “Messenger Bot” Replies like a Human would.
Our messenger bot will wait until someone comments on the post and then it springs into action.
Step 4: The “Messenger Bot” asks for More info.
After a little warmup conversation, our messenger bot ask for an email address or phone number so that we can connect with the prospect outside of Facebook.
Step 5: The Business connects with the Lead via Email and Leads to a Phone Call or Visit.
We build an email autoresponder that follows up with the potential client and gets them to call or come in to claim the offer during business hours.
An Example Messenger Bot and How it All Works.
Chapter 8: How to Show up in Google Ahead of Your Competitors.
One of the most powerful ways to dominate your market is to make sure that your website shows up first when potential customers search for certain keywords in your market.
While the way Google works may seem random at times, your ranking for certain keywords is actually based on a formula that you can use to your advantage. This is called “Search Engine Optimization” or “SEO” for short.
Ranking higher in Google for certain search terms is something that most people think is very complicated. With a little patience and some basic knowledge of how it all works however, it’s a lot easier to rank in your local market than you might think.
There are literally hundreds of things you could do when it comes to Search Engine Optimization. When we’re working with our Local Clients and we launch a “SEO Campaign”, we tend to focus on a few key elements that we’ve found make the greatest impact.
It all starts with making sure we rank for the right keywords and expands out from there.
Let’s cover the core things that we do when we work to Rank Our Clients Higher on Google.
What Brick and Mortar Businesses Need to do to Rank #1 on Google
#1: Figure out the Keywords that Make you Money.
Not all keywords are created equal. One of the core things that you need to figure out before you start optimizing your website is what keywords that you want to rank for.
#2: Make Sure Your Website is Search Engine Friendly.
Once you’ve established a set of keywords that you’d like to rank for, it’s important that you optimize your website to reflect that. Making sure that your site makes use of those key phrases (without overdoing it) is a small, but important, part of actually ranking for those keywords.
This is something that most of our clients have no interest in doing themselves due to the tedious and unpredictable nature of the work involved.
#3: Make Sure Your Website is Mobile Ready.
One of the keys to being “Google friendly” is to make sure that your site is mobile friendly. This means that your website looks equally good on a phone’s screen as it does on a computer’s screen.
Your site being “mobile friendly” or not can drastically affect where your site ranks in the search results.
#4: Regularly Create Keyword Focused Content that is Interesting.
One of the most important ways that we help our clients rank for certain key terms is through the use of regular new content on their site.
The key to doing this correctly to write content that is interesting to your core clientele but also plays well with the Google’s Search algorithms.
This is something that is often overlooked by traditional SEO firms, but it vitally important as Google’s algorithms have evolved.
#5: Get Strategic Links from Others.
One of the core elements to ranking higher in a local market is to have a strategic strategy of getting the right websites to link back to your site.
Often this involves getting other important local websites to link to you using the keywords you wish to rank for. This sends a signal to Google that your site is a local authority on a topic and results in higher rankings for that term.
#6: Leverage Your Facebook Page to Spread Your Content.
If you’ve laid a good foundation with your site and Facebook page, it’s important to link the two up.
Google is always looking to see “social signals” that are related to a topic. Getting your latest blog posts to show up on Facebook can be a big boost as it can start the process of getting your content shared by other people.
We focus a great deal of effort on making sure our clients have great content and that it is something that is “share worthy” on Social Media. This ultimately helps in our effort to rank our client’s websites high in the search results for our desired key terms.
The Core Elements of Ranking a Website on Google.
Chapter 9: How to get someone to do everything for your Business.
I realize the amount of folks that you have contacting you every week who want to provide digital marketing services for you. I also realize that its hard to know if they can actually help you and even if they know what they are doing.
I hope that this guide has given you a good foundation so that you understand what is available and what should be done in what order. I built my Digital Marketing Agency so that I could help Brick and Mortar Business owners keep up with the quickly changing Digital Marketing Landscape and to always get them positive Return on their Investment.
If you have any questions at all about how to implement any of the above in your business, feel free to contact me and just ask.
No matter who you decide to use to help you build your business with the Internet, I hope this guide has been a powerful jumpstart and got you going on the right path and helps you make an informed decision when you finally do choose a provider.
Thanks so much for reading!
Call or Email me Anytime.
I’m always delighted to answer any questions you might have.
Phone: (866) 619-1005 ext. 101