Digital marketing tips for small businesses

24 July 2018

Digital marketing is the biggest challenge facing small businesses, according to the 2017 National Small Business Survey, which found that 46% of SMEs don't even have a website. Investec hosted a National Small Business Chamber event where one of South Africa's top digital marketers shared his advice for going online.

Watch video: Three easy ways to improve your digital marketing


Dave's top tips for digital marketing success

Dave Duarte, CEO of digital marketing agency Treeshake, shared practical ideas for growing SMEs through online marketing.

Make sure your business is online

“The reason why you need a website is that it's your digital sales force, it’s out there doing the selling for you," explained Duarte, who suggested various free website building tools like Wix, WordPress and SquareSpace.

Build trust through your website

Building trust and credibility is particularly important for small businesses, especially those in a service industry. In addition to including customer testimonials on your site, "use real names, show your office or store front – photos are the cheapest way to communicate trust,” suggests Duarte.
of South African SMEs have websites
of SMEs don't have websites
use their social media pages as their site

Listen to podcast: Digital marketing tips for SMEs

Online marketing challenges

Digital marketing expert Dave Duarte chats to Mike Anderson, CEO of the NSBC, about the key challenges small businesses face when taking their business online.

Dave Duarte
“Doing digital marketing or being online does not equal competitive advantage. It’s not that you do digital marketing, it’s how you do digital marketing.”

Dave Duarte, CEO, Treeshake

Help Google find your business

Make it easier for your customers to find you online by setting up your free company search listing today on Google My Business - here you can display your contact details, location, photos of your business and even reviews.

Get other sites to write about you

A link from an authoritative industry publication or a popular blog can do wonders for your site's SEO ranking, improving your company's position in search results. Duarte recommends regularly submitting articles to online media or doing some of your own PR and setting up interviews with them on topics that you're an expert in.

Commit to social media

When it comes to social media, Duarte says: "the key thing is that you’re not the hero in this story, your customers are the hero." Ask your audience what's important to them and respond quickly and genuinely. "Conversation dies if you don’t keep it up, so you’ve got to be introducing new topics of conversation all the time," says Duarte.

Own your digital strategy

Duarte believes that the most important thing you can do to achieve digital marketing success is to commit to it. Whether it's learning how to build or use a website or how to do Facebook adverts, commit to spending time and budget on your online marketing.
"I can promise you, over the next 5-10 years, the difference will be those who commit to a digital stategy. That’s not something I’d want to outsource, that’s something that as a business owner, I’d want to engage with."

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