When it comes to owning a small business — you can enjoy the flexibility and being your own boss, but you’re on the clock 24/7. I can relate, trust me.

It doesn’t matter if you’re running a restaurant, gym, kindergarten or construction business, the goal is to convert new customers into repeat customers. New customer acquisition is uncomfortable and somewhat difficult for most businesses because it requires marketing and advertising, which has gotten extremely complex in recent years.

Aside from the constantly changing digital environment, SMEs need to be concerned about tech-savvy millennials entering the market.

Small business owners need to recognise this and optimise their marketing and customer lead generation to compete in the near future. Here are four things small businesses can do to improve their marketing:

Redesign your website. Lead your customers to the information they need to make a purchase or inquiry. Even small changes can have huge impacts. Your website is no longer a static business listing. It needs to be alive, greeting and guiding new visitors. Google likes that. You should be updating your site at least each month (if not more). Your website must take mobile display into account (doh) and contain several call-to-action points.

Think about what action do you want your site visitors to take, after visiting. Fill a form? Call you? Send you an email? Visit the store, or make a booking? Action is the key!

Understand local SEO. If your business provides a service to a local area, you must understand and invest part of your marketing dollars into local SEO. These are the tactics that get you higher visibility in Google when people search for your business. You don’t have to understand how it’s done, but understand the importance of being found on Google. Gaining ownership of your Google Maps listing on Google My Business is a must and something all businesses can do themselves.

The bad news is. This takes time. It could take months to turn your SEO around.

Focus on (quality) video content. Just look at how you are spending time online these days. Look at your facebook or Instagram (or TikTok) feed. Youtube anyone? Video, Video, Video. Focus on quality (and regular) content. One video per year won’t do.

You need to be creating (good) content on weekly basis.

Tip: For best results try to combine educational content with entertaining approach. The viewer of your video should feel they got something after watching it.

Stop letting just anyone run your advertising campaigns. You could be throwing money out the window. Both Google and Facebook advertising platforms have gone through major changes in the last few years (or just months), making them more complex. It’s simply too difficult to get a favourable ROI on your ad spend unless you do it on daily basis. We see so many mistakes being made in ad campaigns from new clients that greatly exceed their budget with little to no reward.

It’s not a rocket science, but it changes so frequently, that the difference between professionals and amateurs (good vs bad results) is the number of hours they spend on it.

It is no longer possible to ask your webmaster to learn SEO on the fly and expect results. It is no longer wise to ask an admin in your office to learn social media in their spare time.

Small businesses should strongly consider working with a quality digital partner to manage their online activities or hire an in-house expert. A digital marketing expert who has a 360-degree understanding of SEO, lead gen, PPC and social media can be an invaluable resource to small business owners. They allow small business owners to do what they do best: run their businesses.

It is the future of small business marketing.