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Digital Marketing Tips for Your Small Business

Small business owners want to stand out! It’s a simple equation: More customers means more potential business. But how do you reach those customers? Marketing is becoming more complex, and digital marketing specifically has never been more present. Thankfully, marketing platforms like Google and Facebook keep evolving to become more self-serve, making it easier for the tight-on-time small business owner to connect with their customers online.

Brian Nizinsky

As effortless as it may be to sign up for these digital marketing tools, it still requires a level of expertise to use them efficiently. Think about it: Let’s say you need to wire new electricity throughout your entire home. Instead of outsourcing to a professional, you spend a bunch of money on equipment, dive deep into the “how to” video and start to work. But once you start, you’re clueless. You end up with wasted time and money, and eventually call in a much-needed electrician.

Digital marketing is the same. It’s a great idea to turn to the experts for professional advice before getting overwhelmed or giving up.

Brian Nizinsky is a digital marketing manager at Paychex and has more than 18 years of experience in the online advertising space. He’s an authority on many forms of digital marketing, including increasing traffic to websites with Search Engine Optimization (SEO), promoting the visibility of a website in search engine results through Search Engine Marketing (SEM), social media, and display advertising. We talked with Brian about how small business owners can evaluate their current online presence and how to take it to the next level.

Q: How can small businesses learn more about their current online presence?


  • A Simple Search
    First, Google your business name. That’s what every prospective customer will do. Is it showing up correctly? Is your business name clearly stated? Is nothing showing up? That’s a scary thought, but it’s possible. Unearthing any problems and creating a list of issues is a great way to start. If there are issues, Google would be happy to help fix them.
  • Google My Business (GMB)
    GMB is a free business listing that’s part of your Google account. It gives business owners more control over what shows up in their search results. Adding the correct business name, address, website URL and hours of operation makes it easy for customers to contact you, and that’s the ultimate goal, right?
  • Reviews
    Are there any reviews for your business? Maybe not, if you’re just starting your business. But if you’ve already had customers, you likely have reviews. Are they reflective of your business? If there are four reviews of your company and one is from a single bad interaction with a customer, that’s not reflective of the company. Unfortunately, someone looking at your reviews won’t know that.

Q: How can small businesses build a better reputation online?

A: Reviews! It’s as simple as asking and making it easy for customers to leave them. Politely direct a customer to discuss their positive experience on Google, Yelp, or any other platform people will see. Encouraging customers to leave reviews should be as crucial and seamless as greeting a customer when they walk through the door.

Q: How can small business owners start using digital marketing tools?

A: Running a campaign on Facebook or Google Ads is as easy as swiping a credit card. The hard part is knowing how to produce the results you’re looking for. You could search through millions of online tutorials and end up making fundamental mistakes.

Evaluate what you’re comfortable spending for trial and error. But also ask: Is it more cost-efficient to trust an expert who incorporates strategy and creativity into the campaigns? Luckily, there are organizations like SCORE Rochester and the Small Business Association that offer free classes, counseling and resources to help improve your skill sets.

Q: If a small business owner doesn’t want to hire an agency or employee, what resources are out there?

A: Google Keyword Planner is the most essential tool you’ll ever use as a business owner. It grants insight into what people search for and how they refer to the services you provide. More important, it will give you search volume and suggest other keywords.

Q: Small business owners are always lacking time. Specifically in social media, should they do it themselves or look to outsource?

A: Nowadays, social media marketing is a discipline and a skill set that requires years of experience. Just because someone is familiar with social media doesn’t mean they should be in charge of running campaigns for your business.

If you’re thinking of outsourcing the responsibilities to someone, ensure they understand the relevant business metrics to work toward. You need foot traffic in your store, leads for your consulting firm and online sales for your e-commerce website. Make the bottom line clear and don’t get mixed up with metrics that sound nice but ultimately don’t tie into your goal.

Q: Talk more about those metrics that might not ladder up to a business goal.

A: The first one that sticks out is the elusive “follower” on social media. Acquiring a large sum or purchasing followers may make your business look more important, but you could end up talking to an empty room if they aren’t the “right” followers.

Second, not being socially conscious. Business owners often forget that social media is a two-way street, with most people wanting to engage with a human and not brands. Creating and being responsive on a Facebook page, Twitter or Instagram account doesn’t mean it’s going to result in more customers unless you can personify your brand.

Final Advice: Learn to Grow or Let Go

Brian’s last piece of advice? Developing your digital marketing expertise takes time and effort. Truly doing it right means having more than just a few social media accounts. Put in the effort to grow your business. If you can’t, it might be a good idea to leave it to the professionals.

Want to know more? Take a look at our Business Support page for more information on how to help your business grow.