Digital marketing is vital for small businesses and it’s often the first step many startups take toward entering a competitive market. By gaining the right level of clarity in the digital marketing arena, you can learn how to reach a wider audience and boost brand awareness, which is essential for smaller businesses.

But what digital marketing tactics should you focus on when you’re an entrepreneur with only so much time to spend?

It can be challenging to determine which route to take when you’re getting your feet wet in digital marketing. But with the following tips and tactics, you can learn how to get the results you’re looking for.

Start with your website

Creating a website for your business may seem like a basic digital marketing strategy, but you’d be amazed by just how many startups rely only on their social media pages. It’s been thought that the expense associated with a full site build is a barrier to entry, but a website that is updated and maintained properly will often last for 6 to 7 years without requiring a rebuild. With basic maintenance that initial investment will pay off for years.

It’s true that social media is a great way for your new business to reach out to your target audience. But your Facebook page should never be your official website.

Not only does using a social media page as your website look unprofessional but it can also leave customers wondering if your business is a scam. There are up to 28 million small businesses operating in the U.S. and while 80% of them survive their first year in business, 90% fail overall.

You want to make sure your business looks as professional as possible by creating a website that’s modern, fast, legible, and helpful. Include essential information including your business’ address, phone number, and hours of operation.

Optimize your business for local customers

Unless you’re the only business in the U.S. offering your products or services, you’re going to be up against a lot of competition. Approximately 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine and 75% of online users never scroll past the first page of their search results.

Your competitors are fighting for the same keywords you are for SEO purposes. To give yourself a leg up, focus your SEO keywords on local searches. Odds are there are fewer businesses offering the same products and services in your area, which means you’ll be one of the first results your customers find.

What’s more, you can also claim your listings on local search directories like Bing places for business and Google My Business if local customers are in your wheelhouse. These directories are free, which boosts your range without having to stretch your dollar.

Explore digital advertising

As we mentioned above, you don’t want your social media pages to serve as your business’ website. You also don’t want it to be your only source for digital advertising. While social media is great, it can only take you so far.

Amp up your digital advertising with pay-per-click online ads and ads on social media channels. When you choose the right keywords, optimize your business for social searches, and narrow your target audience, you’ll increase your chances of getting those prospective customers to buy into what you’re selling.

Remember that relevance is key

If you want to reach your audience and get your audience to share your content, you need to create content that’s worth sharing. Aim to produce content that either gives your audience an emotional reaction or offers value to your prospective customers.

It’s a good idea to look at the content your successful competitors are creating to get an idea of what kind of content your target audience wants. Digital marketing can be tricky, but by following the right steps you can reach your target audience and get the results you want.