How to create a digital marketing strategy for a small business

Your guide to digital marketing strategy for small business owners

You’ve done the hard yards, created your product or service, and launched your business but you are caught in the tactical weeds. Now it’s time to get the digital marketing strategy for your small business sorted out.

… You go looking for that silver bullet piece of advice but it’s so overwhelming.

Now what?

Now, you need a bulletproof digital marketing strategy for your small business. 

The internet has changed everything, especially digital marketing for small business. Suddenly, you can build a booming business, no matter your budget. And with the right digital strategy, you can compete with the biggest brands in your industry. 

This guide covers a detailed overview of the various components you need to think about to nail digital marketing for your small business. At Relearn Digital we call your digital marketing strategy your “Digital Marketing Game Plan” because that’s what you need: a plan that is actionable.

This is not the only guide to digital marketing out there, but it’s the only guide written specifically for small business owners and solo entrepreneurs. It’s the only guide that challenges the accepted status quo and the “lemming-like advice” that is regurgitated everywhere.

Read on and you’ll find a bunch of handy digital marketing strategies, tips on developing your plan, the exact details you’ll need to learn about your humans (and what to do with that info), and the core approaches to creating content, getting more traffic to your business, and, most importantly, driving sales. 

why do we call them humans?

At Relearn, we use the term humans instead of customers or audience because that’s what ALL customers are for every business: humans. 

The more you acknowledge this — the humanness of the people you want to reach and serve — the more you can empathise and connect with them. And that will go a long way to helping you succeed.

What is digital marketing for small business?

Digital marketing is a way of promoting your business and your offers online. It connects your business to your humans through search engines, websites and apps via an electronic device, such as a mobile phone, tablet, or computer.

Digital marketing will look different to every business depending on that business’s objectives and strategy. It could take the form of online videos, emails, social media posts, blog posts, or display ads.

It should become pretty obvious to you now how it’s different to traditional marketing, which takes place in the offline world (think magazine ads and billboards—and TV ads too). 

You can be forgiven for thinking that digital marketing replaces traditional marketing but it’s not true. Instead, they work in tandem—and the principles of marketing apply whether it’s traditional or digital marketing.

Whether it is traditional or digital marketing, marketing is about reaching and connecting with the right people at the best time with a compelling message and a great experience

… So people will know you and choose what you’re selling over other brands, like you enough to stay loyal to you in the future, and help build trust in your brand by recommending you to others.

So why is digital marketing so important in business?

Digital marketing is becoming increasingly important because it can have a huge impact on small businesses. 

It can be an effective but also economical way of getting your fresh-faced brand out into the world or helping you to boost your sales to grow your business. 

Digital marketing helps democratize marketing for small businesses — big budgets help for sure but “content” and “authority” are big in the digital space and smaller businesses are better positioned to be nimble in these areas. A digital-centric approach means you can compete with bigger businesses.

Some of the benefits of digital marketing include:

  • Getting your brand in front of a HUGE number of people across great distances
  • Free advertising across multiple platforms—often from your humans so you don’t have to do anything at all
  • Being able to talk to humans who don’t already know you in the places they hang out
  • Keeping business doors open outside the traditional shopkeeping hours
  • Controlling what your humans see and know about your brand
  • Gathering information about your humans and customising or personalising your marketing to them.

Read more about the benefits of digital marketing here.


Main types of digital marketing

Another advantage of digital marketing is all the different types of channels and approaches you can use. Here’s just a shortlist:

your strategies for digital marketing as a small business

If you don’t have a digital marketing strategy, you’re going to waste time faffing about trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t. 

But first, what IS a digital marketing strategy?

It’s essentially a carefully researched and considered plan that helps you overcome your business challenges and achieve your objectives through specific digital marketing channels (more on that later).

When we talk about your Digital Marketing Game Plan, we’re talking about the strategy you’ll use to employ your digital marketing.

This Digital Marketing Game Plan is based on a little framework we have developed called: F.A.C.T.S.  

This nifty framework is going to help you create the right strategy for your digital marketing. 

FACTS stands for:

  • Focus — understanding your distinct business challenges, objectives, unique selling point, and more.
  • Audience (aka humans) — understanding who your humans are and what makes them tick.
  • Content — knowing how to best communicate to your humans and fuel your marketing efforts.
  • Traffic — knowing the different options available to you to get more humans to your digital shopfront (your website).
  • Sales — understanding the sales process and the best strategies to make the path to purchase easier for your humans.

Don’t worry if you’re feeling in over your head. We’ve labeled each section of this guide so you know where it fits in.

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Understand your business

FOCUS: understand your business

Digital marketing is all about growing your business in the way that suits you 

But how do you know what that is if you don’t know the ins and outs of your business?

Establishing a strategic Digital Marketing Game Plan is about understanding WHAT your biggest business problem is and setting SMART goals to overcome that challenge using digital marketing.

outline your business problem statement

Knowing exactly WHAT problem you’re trying to overcome in your digital marketing strategy makes sure you stay the course and don’t drift in the wrong direction (which is easier than you might think). 

Crafting a business problem statement is a good way to define the problem you’re trying to solve. Some questions to ask yourself might include:

  • What is my current business situation?
  • How did I get here?
  • How is this problem impacting my business goals?
  • How is it impacting my humans?
  • What am I doing right now that’s NOT working?

From these questions, you should be able to provide a succinct, no-fluff, honest account of your business problem. 

Examples of business problems might include:

  • Your business isn’t generating many online sales
  • You have too many poor reviews online
  • There aren’t many NEW people finding your business online
  • Your existing customers aren’t returning for repeat visits/services
  • People aren’t engaging with your brand in a meaningful way
  • You relied on your bricks-and-mortar store for sales but the pandemic has forced its closure repeatedly

Your brief business problem statement should follow a format similar to this:

  1. Provide context to the situation and succinctly define the problem
  2. Detail how it’s impacting on your humans and your business
  3. Identify the current solution and what’s not working

Once you’ve identified your business problem, you can create SMART marketing objectives to help you solve it.

create SMART digital marketing objectives

When you have clear digital marketing objectives, it’s easier for you to know whether your Digital Marketing Game Plan is successful or not.

Business objectives = long-term goals that speak to the vision you have for your business

Digital marketing objectives = short-term goals that help you achieve your long-term goals

The Objectives Ladder

The Objectives Ladder shows how different objectives work within a business and how they ladder both up and down.

The key takeaway here is to understand that the objectives higher up the ladder are more long-term while those lower down are more short-term and more focused on implementation and tactics.

Before you set your digital marketing objectives you need to get clear on your business objectives (check your problem statement).

Remember the objectives ladder. So if your business objective is to grow sales by 20% make sure the digital marketing objectives talk to this.

Examples of digital marketing objectives include increasing:

  • Brand awareness
  • Interactions on social media channels
  • Brand promotion from your humans
  • Visitors to your website
  • Sales for a new product or service
  • Repeat purchases or retainer clients

Once you’ve picked the marketing goal you want to focus on, you need to get clear on exactly what this objective involves. This is where it needs to be SMART.

SMART objectives in marketing

the SMART model for marketing objectives is one of the handiest models around so let’s look into it quickly. 

 A SMART marketing objective is:

  • Specific — You’ve outlined and explained the goal clearly.
  • Measurable — You’ve determined the benchmarks and key performance indicators (KPIs) you can use to measure success.
  • Achievable — You’ve decided on a goal you CAN achieve.
  • Relevant — You’ve chosen a goal that aligns with your overall business strategy and objectives.
  • Time-bound — You’ve set a time frame with a defined beginning and end.

Audience research: Get to know your humans

Digital marketing for small business - AUDIENCE Research

In digital marketing circles, the term “audience research” gets bandied about a lot. But we think it makes you forget what exactly you’re doing here, which is getting to know your humans. 

Never forget, the people you’re serving are just that: people. And when you keep that front of mind, you speak to them human to human. Which is what we want.

We don’t buy into producing “customer personas” or “buyer personas” for small businesses.

Some big marketing firms love having these detailed fictional characters representing the humans they’re talking to (and sure, maybe it helps in big organisations who are distanced from their customers). 

But in truth, if you’re a small business owner or solo entrepreneur, you already have a good idea of the people you serve because you’re much closer to them in your dealings with them. 

But what you DO need to research is what drives them:

  • What are they struggling with – Their Pain Points
  • What’s the trigger that makes them seek out a solution like the one you offer?
  • What process do they go through to find you?

Knowing these details helps inform your Digital Marketing Game Plan – let’s dive a bit deeper.

the customer journey map

One of the main reasons you do any marketing at all is to make sure the humans you want to serve find your business and do what you want them to do (for example, buy a product, sign up to an email, enquire about a service). 

To understand the process your human goes through to get to that end point, marketing literature is jam-packed with info about “buyer’s funnels” and customer journey mapping. 

mapping the stages in your customer journey

People have a habit of complicating buyer’s funnels and customer journey maps so let’s keep it simple:

  • Awareness — Someone starts considering a brand for their needs.
  • Consideration — They research different options and refine their selection.
  • Conversion — They decide whether to buy.
  • Loyalty [BONUS!] — After the first experience with the brand, the human might decide whether or not to return for more.

While customer journey mapping has its place in your Digital Marketing Game Plan, make note that it’s not a linear progress through the different stages. For example, someone might come to you through a recommendation, completely bypassing the Awareness and Consideration stage. 

The modern online buyer’s journey – by Blue Corona

This is a great way of thinking about the human buyer journey in real life: loops rather than a linear journey.

So why do customer journey mapping at all?

It’s got its advantages. Mapping your human’s journey can help you identify where you might be able to favourably influence people’s decisions to increase your chances that they’ll buy/book/sign up with you. 

But most importantly, you can make the most of customer journey mapping when you combine it with the rest of your Digital Marketing Game Plan, including:

  • Digital marketing channels and tactics — which channels and tactics you can use to meet your humans where they are.
  • Sales drivers — determining what approach you need to help drive a sale.
  • Content marketing — and how you can answer each part of your human’s journey, particularly…
  • Your human’s pain points — considering which pain points are present for your humans and where they sit in their journey. Speaking of which…

pain points and triggers

Time to think like your humans. 

Pain points and triggers go hand-in-hand with how you position your offer, create your content, and decide on the tactics to get more people to your website and buying. 

Pain points — These are the specific problems your humans experience along their customer journey. 

Triggers — These are the specific events that cause your human to identify their problem and start looking for a solution.

Let’s look at pain points first. 

To uncover your human’s pain points, you need to dig a little deeper into your “audience research” to find out what your humans are saying. 

Here are some places where you can gather data:

  • Testimonials and reviews
  • Places where your humans most ask questions — in email, over the phone, through live chat, or through a contact form, for example
  • Online Groups — Think Facebook groups or LinkedIn groups
  • Search trends — Learn more about keyword research here.
  • Surveys

Once you’ve found out what your humans were struggling with—the problem they were looking for a solution for—it’s time to turn to triggers. 

Your prospective humans need a trigger to start them on the customer journey. 

Some example triggers: 

  • Car insurance: Their existing car insurance renewal notice comes or they buy a new car.
  • Emergency plumber: A plumbing emergency strikes their property (commercial or residential).
  • Scented candles: They’re running low on existing candles.
  • Business Coach: They read success stories about similar professionals who used a coach.
  • Marketing consultant: Their marketing is not performing how they want it to; they may need some help.
  • Bricks-and-mortar gift shop: They need to get a gift for an occasion today so don’t have time to buy online.

Let’s look a little deeper take the example of Karen, she has just been invited to a wedding (the Trigger) and needs a dress ring to complete her outfit:

The trigger is in most cases out of your control but it’s a good way to think about the experience they’ve gone through and the mindset they’re in when they start their customer journey.

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Establish your standout offer

FOCUS: establish your standout offer

gain context

There’s a pretty strong chance your product or service isn’t the only one of its kind in the world. So you need to get a good idea of the space it occupies in your market and how other people perceive it.

There are two ways to do this: landscape analysis and social listening.

Notice that we don’t call this “competitor research”. That’s because we want to review the landscape and how it impacts our humans, not review competitors and copy them.

what is a landscape analysis?

Your business sits in a landscape of competitors who are all competing for your humans’ attention. 

Understanding who these competitors are can help you:

  • Identify what they’re doing to drive sales that works (and that doesn’t work) 
  • Find unique angles to talk about your business
  • Identify gaps in content to provide added value to your humans
  • Learn which digital marketing channels they’re using to help humans find them

Direct competitors 

These are the brands and businesses that offer the same type of thing as you.

These competitors are normally easy for us to reel off as they are, in most cases, known to us.

Content landscape competitors 

These are the businesses that compete for the attention of the same humans you’re trying to attract, using content. They might be going after the same pain points as you, but with a different offer.

You can find these competitors by looking wherever people search for content (such as on search engines like Google). Type in a common inquiry you hear in your business—notice how some of the main articles that pop up might not come from your direct competitors?

Steel windows search

Let’s say you sold steel windows. If we look at the search results for “how much do steel windows cost”, we can see content competitors such as Houzz and Remodelista.

They’re competing for the same humans as we are. This gives us great information to help build a plan.

what is social listening?

In 2021, almost two thirds of marketers agreed that social listening has increased in value over the past year. So what is it and why is it so important to have it in your Digital Marketing Game Plan?

Social listening is a tactic that involves analysing your social media channels for engagement, brand mentions, and conversations related to your brand to gain insights and find opportunities you can act upon.

Where you can do social listening:

To undertake social listening, you’ll need to find out WHERE your humans are hanging out to talk about topics relevant to your business. It could be in Facebook or LinkedIn groups or on Quora or Reddit.

Once you’ve found their hangouts, look out for:

  • Content that resonates with your humans — what’s sparking discussions and engagement?
  • Comments and questions from your humans — what are they saying about your brand or your competitors?
  • Advice — how are people helping one another?

When you do social listening right, you’ll:

  • Receive direct feedback about your business
  • Sense check your humans’ pain points
  • Learn what type of content you can create to resonate with your humans

Note: Social listening isn’t a one-off activity. You need to continuously monitor your social channels so you’re aware of trends and stay on top of your competitor landscape.

Listening to customers is more important than it’s ever been because their feedback is manifestly public where it’s historically been private” – Jay Baer

find your positioning

Using your landscape analysis and social listening, you can find out how to talk about your offer in a way that makes your humans know that YOUR product or service is the one they need.  

So what is offer positioning?

Offer positioning determines what makes your product or service stand out against similar offers — be distinctive.

It gives your humans the answer to WHY they should choose your product or service over any other.

To get your offer positioning right, you need to fully understand:

  • The problem your offer solves (aka your human’s pain points)
  • The value it creates for your humans
  • The positioning of your business as a whole

Stand out in your landscape by what you stand AGAINST

Let’s focus on that last point for a moment. To find your positioning, you can ask yourself: “what is my business positioned AGAINST?”

But you figure this out by understanding what matters most to your humans. 

You could position your business against

  • The competition
  • A category
  • A product/service benefit or feature
  • A situation

Let’s take cars as an example. Ultimately, cars do one thing: They get you from A to B fast. 

So then why do we feel differently about a Porsche than we do about a Landcruiser? 

It’s through the car brand’s POSITIONING—and what it positions itself against. It’s where the brand places itself on a scale of economical to luxury, or rugged to sporty, or practical to all-the-bells-and-whistles. 

Positioning is about deciding where your brand sits in this landscape—and how it makes your humans feel.  

Offer positioning is less about SELLING your offer and more about the problem your offer SOLVES. 

Think about some real-world examples:

  • A wedding photographer might sell the ability to capture memories (in high quality!). 
  • A communications or social media app might sell the ability to connect with loved ones across the world in real-time.
  • An athletics brand might sell a healthier lifestyle.
  • A dating app might sell the prospect of a relationship.

Figuring out your unique positioning helps you ensure that whatever marketing approach you take, you’re addressing your human’s pain points, needs, and preferences. 

How to attract new customers online

TRAFFIC: how to attract new customers online

Your online business amounts to nothing if people aren’t finding you. So how do you get their eyeballs on your product or service? How do you get that all important traffic to your website?

We think this focus on digital marketing channels is skewed. People often look at digital marketing channels FIRST, then define a strategy around that channel and jump right in. 

Instead of just picking a channel and running with it, you need to understand the different media types open to you and how your humans discover your type of product or service.

As with anything, it takes research and strategy to decide on the right approach to marketing your business online to increase visibility and traffic.

Let’s kick off by looking at the different types of media you can use to market your business digitally.

digital marketing channels for small business

Type “digital marketing channels” into Google and you’ll get endless results with different lists of marketing channels—some list 5, others 12. Others still say there are only 7 types of marketing channels that actually work.

It’s no wonder you can get overwhelmed fast. 

So what are digital marketing channels?

They’re the platforms you use to get information about your business in front of your humans. 

Examples of digital marketing channels include:

  • Content marketing (e.g. Your blog on your website)
  • Email marketing
  • Social media marketing (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc)
  • Search engine optimisation (e.g. unpaid marketing on Google)
  • Paid search marketing (e.g. paid ads on Google)
  • Video marketing (e.g. YouTube)

To help decide which channels might be best for your business it’s best to look at them through the paid, owned, and earned media model.

the 3 types of digital marketing channels: Paid, Owned, Earned media

We listed some of the different digital marketing channels (also sometimes called digital media channels) above.

It’s an overwhelming list and the truth is, as a solo entrepreneur or small business owner, you’ll never have the time to do ALL the things.

So let’s not focus on every single digital marketing channel. They’re part of a much broader strategy anyway, so it’s good to put a little context around them…

… Which brings us to the POE media model, which helps classify the digital marketing channels. POE stands for:

  • Paid media
  • Owned media
  • Earned media

These three types of media work best when they’re interconnected—and shows you that there are many ways you can attract new customers outside of paid advertising. 

what is paid media?

The term “paid media” is ultimately just a jargony term for “advertising”. It’s where you pay big media companies to put your brand right in front of your humans. 

Paid media examples:

  • Search engine marketing (for example, through Google)
  • Facebook Ads
  • Google Ads
  • Amazon Ads
  • Apple Ads
  • Remarketing

Small businesses don’t often have big budgets so paid media approaches are unlikely to be the main approach you use in your digital marketing strategy.

what is owned media?

Owned media channels are the channels and approaches you can fully control. You don’t need to give big bucks to anybody—you can create content on these channels that can drive people to it for free (often called “organic traffic”). 

Owned media examples:

  • Search engine optimisation
  • Organic social media marketing
  • Community building
  • Collaborations
  • Digital PR

Note: A lot of marketers add “content marketing” as an owned media channel. But it’s better to think of it as a facilitator in driving people to your business through each of these channels. 

what is earned media?

Earned media is the media that is ultimately controlled by your humans. Though it’s hard to control earned media, you can “earn” it by what you do in your marketing.

Examples of earned media:

  • Shares
  • Mentions
  • Reviews
  • Testimonials

Since you have little control over earned media, it’s not usually a part of your Digital Marketing Game Plan (although you can absolutely do things to encourage earned media, such as by creating an exciting or “Instagrammable” unboxing experience).

the 4 main discovery paths

Before you choose which platforms and approaches you’re going to use in your Digital Marketing Game Plan, you need to understand your audience behaviour — their path to discovering your brand — and the different digital marketing channels available to you.

Based on how your humans browse and buy online, how can we help them discover your brand? 

Through discovery paths.

Only when you understand your human’s discovery paths can you create an informed strategy about which marketing channels will be most effective to use for your business and your humans.

There are 4 main discovery paths:

  • Search
  • Review
  • Share
  • Browse


The search discovery path is the path your humans take when they’re “searching” for the thing you offer. They know what they want and they proactively search for it.

A search path might look like this:

  • Your human goes to Google.
  • They type in the product or service they’re looking for.
  • They check out the top few pages.
  • They pick the business that resonates with them the most.
  • They fill out the contact form.


When your human is on the review path, they’ve already found your brand—along with a list of others—and they’re trying to figure out who they can trust.

A review path might look like this:

  • Your human has made a list of possible products or services to buy, across businesses.
  • They start research to find out who they can trust. They might visit the business websites or social pages, review websites like True Local, or Google Reviews to find out which brands are rated well.
  • Alternatively, they might seek recommendations from people they know and trust.


The share path is a tricky one for businesses to control. In this path, your human is so impressed with your product or service that they proactively talk about it to others.

It intersects with the review path, since having humans advocate for your offer builds trust in your brand. 

A share path might look like this:

  • Your human buys your product or service
  • They’re so impressed with it that they tell everyone about it—be that through Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, or TikTok. 
  • Other people find out about your business through these shares and are “influenced” to give it a go themselves.


The browse path is all about getting your message—your business—next to the stuff your humans are reading or viewing. 

Your humans may not be proactively searching for your brand but they come across it through their everyday searches.

A browse path might look like this:

  • Your human is watching or reading something—or looking for something online.
  • Your content pops up alongside what they’re involved in, perhaps as a suggested video, a related post, or something similar.
  • The content speaks to their problem (remember those pain points!) or their desires so they click on it to learn more.

The key is to focus on two key channels/media types and do them to the best of your ability (because as business owners we can’t do it all). So which ones? This is where your discovery paths come in, to understand how your humans find your type of business and to provide the focus you need.

Your content marketing

CONTENT: your content marketing strategy

Content is one of the most important tools for small businesses as it’s democratic and doesn’t need a huge financial investment. 

Creating useful, consistent, and high-quality content can help you outrank and outperform big competitors and build:

  • Engagement
  • Traffic
  • Conversions
  • Revenue

Content marketing is a type of marketing that involves creating and sharing valuable, relevant, and consistent content (such as videos, blog posts, and social media posts) to attract your target humans, with the aim of building interest in your offer.

Content has different roles to play in digital marketing but you can broadly categorise them into 3 different approaches:

  • Foundational content
  • Content to grow
  • Content to convert

Creating a plan with a mix of these approaches will give you a strong content marketing strategy.

foundational content

It’s the non-negotiable content your business needs. If you don’t have time to carry out a complete content marketing strategy, at least make time for this. 

Foundational content forms the backbone of your entire Digital Marketing Game Plan—and is essential to feed your content to grow and convert. 

3 types of foundational content:

  1. Content elements
  2. Content assets
  3. Base layer content

content elements

These are the building blocks for all other content and create a cohesive brand experience. 

Examples of content elements:

  • Brand colours palette
  • Graphics
  • Photos
  • Fonts
  • Forms
  • Emojis
  • “User experience” elements (such as buttons and links)

Canva has great content elements, the use of button colors stem from the brand logo and contrast so well with the white background.

content assets

Content assets are marketing collateral—high-value pieces of content that support the various marketing initiatives for your business.

Examples of content assets:

  • Downloadable guides or ebooks
  • Product or service explainers
  • FAQs page
  • Industry report
  • Survey results
  • Independent research
  • Case studies

Hubspot are the masters of adding downloadable content assets into content using multiple formats to do so. You can see 2 in the image above – one in the main banner and then and side pop out.

Below you see how they include a third download CTA mid-text.

Note: Content assets are different from content types (which are the medium or format content is presented in, such as videos, infographics, presentations, memes, and so on).

base layer content

Base layer content is the cement for your foundational content and turns your site from an empty shell into a rich resource. 

It’s the content that fills your blog or learning hub, supports your social media, provides a base for your email, and becomes your core website pages.

Examples of base layer content:

  • Blog posts
  • Product descriptions
  • Service pages
  • Reviews and testimonials
  • User-generated content (content made and shared by your humans)
  • Organic social content
SEMrush has good to town on its baselayer content within its resource section, covering just about everything

content to grow

As the category suggests, this is the content that helps you grow your business. It links back to the discovery paths we talked about above because the content you create to grow aligns with where your humans are. 

For example, you might create content to grow to:

  • Attract people through search (through search engine optimisation)
  • Increase shares through social (through social media content such as  videos, lives, images, memes, audio, etc)
  • Encourage reviews
  • Inform and educate (for example, through a blog or content hub on your website)

When we talk about growing your business, we’re really talking about building your business presence with your humans—particularly new humans. 

You can do that by increasing the number of people going to your website, following you and engaging with you on social media, or signing up to your email list, for example. 

Examples of content to grow:

  • High-quality content pages that have at least 1,500 words and are evergreen (always relevant)
  • A content hub where your humans can return again and again to find valuable information
  • Social media content (e.g. videos, posts, live videos, memes, audio, etc)
  • Podcast series
  • YouTube video series
  • Emails
  • Facebook or LinkedIn groups
  • Webinars

Xero has an amazing content hub that covers different content formats and encourages people to come back again and again.

content to convert

This is the content that helps get your humans over the line, turning them from digital window shoppers to customers and clients. 

Examples of content to convert:

  • A detailed guide
  • A strategic email series
  • A lead magnet or gated content (a free piece of high-value content provided in exchange for your human’s email address)
  • An exclusive webinar
  • A quiz

At Relearn we have a Quiz designed to help convert browsers into leads

This approach is designed to get your humans into your sales process—and what that process is (defined in more detail below) will help you decide what type of content to convert you’ll use.

When you have your foundations in place, strategically add content to grow and content to convert. Align them to the channels, media types, and discovery paths to gain maximum benefit.

Your sales funnel

Digital marketing for small business - SALES: your sales funnel

This is where everything comes together. You’ve laid down the foundational content and started creating and sharing content to help you grow your business. 

The sales funnel is the final piece in the puzzle, mapping out the process you take your humans through to buy (or book!) with you, with the help of your content to convert.

what is a sales funnel anyway?

A sales funnel (you might also catch people calling it a revenue funnel or, more simply, the sales process) maps out the stages your humans go through to complete a sale with your business. 

It can also outline the process you use to find, quality, and sell to your humans. Knowing your sales process through and through helps you map out the content you need for it OR find opportunities to refine the process. 

Examples of a sales funnel:

  • Business coach — A person hands over their email address to gain access to a pre-recorded webinar. After the webinar, they arrange a 1:1 phone call, which prompts them to book a spot in a mentoring program.
  • Electrician — Someone fills out the request a quote form, providing their phone number. The electrician follows up with a 1:1 phone call and arranges a location visit. After the visit, they provide a free quotation, which leads to a booking.

A sales process isn’t set in stone. A person might bypass the contact form and phone directly or send an email instead. But the final stages of the sales funnel are usually the same for everyone.

A lot of marketers like to focus on the stages of a sales funnel. But there’s no need to complicate it. All you really need to understand is how your sales process can be mapped to the customer journey we’ve already talked about.

lead generation

For many small businesses and solo entrepreneurs, lead generation is a typical part of the sales process.

So what is lead generation?

Let’s break it down.

What are leads? 

Hubspot defines a lead as “any person who indicates interest in a company’s product or service in some way, shape, or form.”

A lead—the human who has shown interest—is usually the one to reach out to the business (instead of the business cold-calling prospects). 

What is lead generation?

Lead generation is the process of finding new business leads—simply put, bringing new humans to your business and increasing their interest in your offer through nurturing content.

If your sales process requires an email address or phone number at the start, lead generation becomes an important part of your digital marketing strategy. 

What’s involved in the lead generation process?

While there are many ways to execute leads, the process follows 4 core steps:

  • The offer — You provide a piece of high-value content as we listed in the content to convert (e.g. ebooks, guides, whitepapers, webinars, quizzes, free consultations, etc)
  • The call to action — You provide a content element (e.g. a button, image, or text) that links directly to the place people can find and download your offer.
  • A landing page — Your humans are sent to a specialised page containing the info about that offer (more on this below).
  • The form — Your landing page contains a form your humans can fill out to download the offer. This form will collect contact information from your humans.

landing pages

You may have realised that the landing page is an essential component of the sales process if you want to “generate leads”. 

So what is a landing page?

We gave a brief definition of landing pages above but let’s look at it in a little more detail now. 

In digital marketing, a landing page is a standalone web page, created specifically for a marketing or advertising campaign. It’s where a visitor “lands” after they click on a link in an email or on ads from Google, Bing, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or similar places on the web.

Credit: Unbounce

Unlike other pages on your website, a landing page guides your visitor towards a single action. It typically doesn’t even show up the main navigation panel that’s present everywhere else on your website. The idea here is to provide NO DISTRACTIONS to your humans. 

The singular focus is what makes a landing page essential in your sales process. 

You could use a landing page to:

  • Promote a lead magnet to capture emails
  • Drive quote requests
  • Get people to download a course outline, menu, etc

email marketing for small businesses

A lot of small business owners and solo entrepreneurs fall into the trap of believing email marketing is JUST to generate sales. 

And sure, that’s probably the end goal. 

But you don’t make sales without relationships. 

That’s what email marketing, also called email direct marketing (or edm), is all about: building relationships.

So what is email marketing?

Email marketing is a form of marketing that uses emails sent directly to your humans to promote your offer, build loyalty, provide updates on your business, and keep your humans “warm” so that when you’re ready to sell, they’re engaged. 

Your email marketing strategy should nurture your humans, which is why it’s important you don’t JUST email them when you’re ready to sell. 

Sales emails should be part of a larger email marketing strategy that includes emails that:

  • Build connections by telling stories
  • Provide value
  • Introduce your business
  • Help your humans overcome their pain points

Need inspiration? Take a look at these examples of email marketing campaigns.

When you provide consistent, high-quality emails to your humans, you’re not just building relationships but priming them so they’re ready to click on your link when you promote an offer—getting them engaged and re-engaged in your sales process again and again.

Measure your success

MEASURE: measure for success

It’s the final piece of your Digital Marketing Game Plan — and one of the most important bits! You need to be able to know what’s working (and what’s not working) in your plan to achieve your objectives and further optimise your digital marketing strategy. 


The important thing is to know exactly what to measure and why — and that’s where KPIs (key performance indicators) and metrics come into play. 

  • KPIsA way to track whether your digital marketing objectives are fulfilled.
  • MetricsThe measurable values we use to determine how effective your digital marketing objective is.

Credit: consulterce

See how closely your KPIs and metrics work together with your digital marketing objectives? 

Now, as soon as you get into data and tracking, it can get quickly overwhelming. But don’t worry, you don’t have to know everything. You just need to know what you want to track. 

Remember those SMART objectives you set? Now’s the time to break them down to understand what you need to track.

Once you’ve figured out what to track, you need to know where the data is. Firstly, think about where your HUMANS are:

  • They’re on your website — You’ll find the data through tools like Google Analytics, your eCommerce system, or your website software.
  • They’re engaging with your channels (not on your website) — Look at the channel-specific insights tools. 
    •  Facebook Ads = Facebook Ad Manager
    • SEM Ads = Google Ads
    • email = Your email provider
    • YouTube = YouTube channel

Build Your Plan

get started

Creating a Digital Marketing Game Plan that’s right for your humans and your business takes time, hard work, reflection, and regular reviewing. 

But having a solid digital marketing strategy is essential for businesses big and small—and if yours happens to be small, the right strategy can help you compete (and maybe even outperform) the big leagues.   

Every part of your Digital Marketing Game Plan is intertwined so each component has to be well researched and executed for your entire strategy to work. 

Take the time out to give your digital marketing strategy the attention it deserves so you can craft a Digital Marketing Game Plan that helps your business grow from the outset. 

If the info we’ve outlined here has got your gears grinding, wait until you see what Relearn’s Digital Marketing Game Plan course can do for you. 

Over 6 weeks, you’ll go through all of the concepts we’ve outlined here—and plenty more. Through detailed video explainers, course activities, templates, and mentor feedback, you’ll have an effective Digital Marketing Game Plan in action in no time, serving the right humans for your business in the best way possible. 

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