business charts commerce computer


The greatest misconception amongst new business owners is that if they have a great business or website (online store) that customers will find your business.  There are exceptions, but for the vast majority a marketing plan is critical to getting your product or service offering in front of your target audience.

“Field of Dreams – Build it and they will come” A great movie but not an accurate analogy for small business owners.

Ideally you have sufficient working capital to invest in the development of a marketing plan and the outsourcing of its implementation to a digital agency or freelancer. However, the majority of start ups are bootstrapped so the management of the digital marketing plan is likely another hat the owner has to wear (until sales grow to a sufficient level). Either way every small business owner should understand the basics to ensure they are in control of their own destiny.

The first step to understanding the basics of digital marketing is to understand the primary channels available.

1) Google Paid Advertising (Pay Per Click)


Google (Alphabet) did not become a $1.7 trillion dollar company simply by providing a free search engine. Over 80% of the companies’ revenues are derived from paid advertising, last year approximately $150 billion in revenue was generated through paid ads.

Anyone can sign up and create campaigns on the Google Ads Platform, generally Google will apply a starting credit promotion to your campaign (currently $600).

So, what is Google Ads, basically it is a bidding system between your competition to show your shopping products (ecommerce) or services (text / search ads) at the top paid position of the search engine.


The key campaigns that can be set up include:


  • Search (text ads)

Search ads are limited by specified characters and extensions.

  • Shopping ads

Shopping ads are promoted based on the images and details on your online store. The products are picked up through your Google Merchant centre.

Google Shopping PPC

Other campaigns available include display / remarketing ads (Ads show up when past website visitors are browsing the internet) and performance max campaigns which hands control over to Google AI to show your ads where they expect best results (but for who?).

Ultimately you can then select (or influence) the keywords you want your ads shown for. Most importantly you can set the daily budget you are willing to spend ($10 per day = maximum $300 spend be month) and the bid allowed for each click. So, for example if your selected keyword costs $1 per click and you have a $10 budget you would expect 10 shoppers to click on your ad (product) for a cost of $10, after this your ad budget would be utilised and your ad would not show up (impression) for the remainder of the day.

Generally, Google PPC is a necessary evil in that it can be a significant cost, does materially impact your margins but also brings you sales. The success is dependent on your cost per click, site conversion rate, average order value and return customer rate.


2) Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

For long term and sustained success your sites SEO is absolutely critical, however business owners need to understand that SEO is the long play, results build over time but competitive rankings can take years to achieve.

SEO is effectively the process of optimising your website or online store to meet the expected Google Algorithm used to rank sites for different keywords. Googles job as the worlds largest internet search engine is to connect user searches with relevant and credible business providing those products or searches.

For example, if my hot water system fails and I search “Plumber Melbourne” I expect the first listings to be credible plumbers in my location.  Digital agencies will have their own checklist (secret herbs & spices) to achieve ultimate success, however ultimately no one knows the algorithm Google is using which changes on a regular basis.

As a startup business owner looking at building their own ranking I would suggest you keep it simple, here is an example of tasks to undertake on a routine basis:

  • Keyword research (Volume and difficulty of keywords targeted, start with long tail keywords)
  • Build your site on an SEO friendly platform (WordPress, Shopify etc)
  • Check and Optimise Load Speed
  • Run a Technical Site Audit and Rectify major Issues and Errors (Fix broken links etc)
  • Set Up Google Analytics
  • Set up and Submit your Site through Google Search Console
  • Find a SEO tool to report on rankings performance
  • Check and optimise Crawlability
  • Research and Implement Internal Linkings
  • Build your Domain Authority (External Linking)
  • Optimise your local Google Search Account (Google Places)
  • H1, H2, Meta Tags, Meta Descriptions and Alt Text (In line with your Keyword Strategy)
  • Continuously increase your written content (Content is King with SEO)
  • Reverse Engineer your Competitors Site
  • Add Video Tracking and optimise for User Experience (UX/UI)


3) Social Media

Social Media can include Facebook (Meta), Instagram (Meta), Tik Tok and Pinterest to name a few. Creating engaging posts and advertising through these platforms is a task that can be done by the business owner, and I would argue one done best by someone internal (access to regular engaging content including images).


The advertising works similarly to the Google PPC but the platform is focused towards location and audience preferences (traits). For some businesses social media is a well aligned marketing channel, however our experience is that the channel is best used for building brand awareness and credibility.


4) Email Direct Marketing (EDMs)

A non-financial KPI that should be measured by all business owners is the size of your subscriber base. Email marketing tools (SaaS) available in the current market are significantly evolved, platforms like Klayvio allow for segmentation of your subscriber base and in-depth analysis that can be used to refine your future campaigns.

For a company with a large subscriber base and effective EDM strategy can result in predictable cashflows used to support the working capital of the business. For example:

20,000 Subscribers

X 2% Conversion Rate

= 400 sales x $100 average order = $40,000 Sales (Month)

This graph published by one of the leading digital marketing tools SEMRush best illustrates the timing and importance of the above-mentioned digital marketing channels over time.


Google PPC, SEO and Social Media

The above information is generic in nature and is not customised to your specific needs. For tailored advice to help grow your business book a consultation with TR Consulting