7 minutes reading time (1328 words)

Small business marketing, digital marketing, content ... what does it all mean?


Recently I attended a digital marketing masterclass. I was lured in by the ‘masterclass’, which, as an aside, demonstrates very well the importance of a great headline for your online promotional activity.

Whilst the course was interesting, I spent most of the day learning about keyword research and on-page search engine optimisation which wasn’t quite what I had expected. The course was well received by other delegates, but I had been expecting something quite different. After all, as web design is what I do these are things that I am very familiar with and have been implementing on customer’s websites for quite some time.

My core business offering is to help small businesses and start-ups get online, primarily with a new website, so I had been hoping for some insight about the whole digital picture … how it all pulls together to market your small business in this digital age. I often support new customers with a whole host of other related services to help get them started with managing the online marketing of their small business. I’d hoped for tips on conversion tactics on landing pages, social media advice and content writing and the whole online branding process.

So, what is my point? Not, that obviously, I should have been a little more thorough before signing up and that I should have requested a course overview.

My point is, that it got me thinking about all these terms that we see used everywhere and ‘hashtagged’ all over Twitter. Not just digital marketing … think

  • content marketing,
  • influencer marketing,
  • email marketing,
  • social media management,
  • evergreen content,
  • repurpose etc.

Given that my ‘USP’ is all about keeping things simple and helping new small business owners get online as easily as possible it gave me the idea for this blog post. I decided to collate some definitions of all these terms and to demystify, with a brief overview of each, for anyone who feels the overwhelm of marketing their small business online.

Digital marketing

Digital marketing is a general term used for marketing or advertising activity that is carried out online through digital channels. Including, but not exclusively, search engines, websites, social media, email and mobile apps.

Content marketing

Content marketing is at the core of your digital marketing strategy. Content is anything that you publish online but at its heart is a great blog. Done well, content generation will drive your digital marketing activities and get you noticed.

It is not all about self-promotion, but providing value and inspiring readers to see you as a valuable resource of information as well as a provider of your services. Useful content will keep your readers and potential customers engaged with you. Loyal consumers of your content who are not customers will be, or can become, influencers and could well convert when they need your services or products.

Influencer content

Influencer content is generated by those who are already deemed to be high profile within their sector. Neil Patel is one such example within digital marketing.

Find out who the influencers are in your field. Head to Twitter, or your preferred chanel for your business, and:

  • follow them
  • share their content
  • engage with them

Not forgetting of course that their content is probably also a valuable resource for you. I’ve learnt a lot from reading influencer content.


In this context we’ll talk about repurposing 'content'. Repurposing content involves taking something that you wrote a while ago and bringing it up to date. A little bit more than simply changing the language and adding in a few new headings it can take the form of:

  • An old blog post with redundant facts removed and brought bang up to date with recent developments included.
  • An old Facebook post and/or image re-created in a new house style.
  • A post from one channel, modified for a different audience on a different channel.
  • Snippets from an old blog post used to create social media updates.

Evergreen content

Evergreen content is content that is always relevant and always of interest to your readers without the need for constant updating and editing to keep it current – it retains its value without the need for re-purposing. Evergreen content is useful for search engine optimisation and can help to bring traffic to your website and retain its position in search rankings for many months or even longer.

An example of evergreen content on this blog is a post I wrote in November 2015 about choosing a domain name for your small business website. This article is still shared by followers as it’s advice is still relevant and useful for anyone just embarking on their first online venture. A good evergreen blog post will:

  • have advice that is still sound,
  • contain facts that are still accurate and
  • not be so topical that it is out of date within 3 months of publishing.

And of course, evergreen content isn’t just in the form of blog posts it can also be content that you’ve posted and shared on social media. Some social media channels can be very fast moving, but Pinterest is rapidly becoming a great platform for evergreen content as users pin and save features for their own use and not necessarily to share with their friends as on Facebook or Twitter with their very fast-moving newsfeeds.

Further reading: Pinterest Makes Media Push Targeting Evergreen Content

Social media marketing

Social media can be a powerful tool in your digital marketing toolbox. It is estimated that by 2020 there will be 2.9 billion social media users worldwide (source Statista).

It’s not just about sharing funny dog pictures. It is the prime place for sharing your carefully crafted content and driving visitors to your blog posts. It involves identifying the best channel for your business … where your customers hang out online. Publicise your social media channels through your emails and website, in fact at every opportunity as it is the one of the best ways to build an engaged audience who will read and share your content.

Ultimately, anyone sharing your content is an influencer within their own social network.

Email marketing

Email marketing is still considered to be the most effective means of online marketing and is possibly the quickest and most direct way to reach your customers, potential and existing. Email allows you to send your content, be it advertising a blog post, a new product range or changes to your business, directly to individuals that you have already had some contact with, who have signed up to receive your updates. They’re already interested.

It is changing though! It is far better to contact smaller segments of your list with targeted information than to blanket email message your complete list with more general information.

{tweetme }It is far better to contact smaller segments of your list with targeted information than to blanket email message your complete list with more general information. #EmailMarketing{/tweetme}

Make it personal.

So what does this all mean for your small business?

All these methods of online marketing can be applied to your small business. But to simplify, digital marketing is a term for using the internet to market your small business and bringing together the best combination of the above to suit your small business online promotional strategies, plus in some cases a few more.

Not sure where to start? Then start a blog!

  • Write about things that you know are of interest to your customers.
  • Select the most relevant social channel to interact and engage with potential influencers and followers.
  • Encourage them to share your content.
  • Start to build your own reputation as a thought leader in your field by following, sharing and interacting.

I hope I’ve managed to shed some light on what some of these terms mean. There are plenty more and this wasn’t intended to be a comprehensive resource. So, if you’ve got others that you would like some help with, please leave a comment below and I’ll do my best.

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Comments 1

Guest - sravya on Wednesday, 12 February 2020 12:18

Hello Ann Warne,
Can't put into words how blessed I feel to find the Ink for all content tool. I really like its tips on spelling and grammar and how to rank better in Google. This seemed like a great place to let others know about it: https://seo.app/XzTXZsUH9

Hello Ann Warne, Can't put into words how blessed I feel to find the Ink for all content tool. I really like its tips on spelling and grammar and how to rank better in Google. This seemed like a great place to let others know about it: https://seo.app/XzTXZsUH9
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