7 Effective Digital Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses in Canada

digital marketing

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Last Updated on July 28, 2022 by Treana Wunsch

What is digital marketing, and why do small businesses need it?

You’ve probably heard the term ‘digital marketing’ thrown around. But what exactly is it?

Digital marketing is the practice of using digital technologies to create, manage and deliver marketing communication. Digital marketing goals may include increasing website traffic and conversion rates, developing targeted customer profiles, or creating effective social media campaigns. 

According to Forrester Research, 71% of businesses with less than 500 employees are now using online channels to market their products and services. Smaller businesses often have lower budgets and greater flexibility in their marketing plans, which makes them ideal candidates for cost-effective digital marketing solutions. In addition, small businesses can take advantage of technology such as social media platforms to build relationships with customers that are not possible in larger organizations.

Small businesses should spend 2 – 10% of their gross revenue on marketing with just over half of that dedicated to digital marketing. The exact amount depends on the target market and the business goals. 

The digital world has become so intertwined in the everyday lives that we often take for granted just how important it is to us. As a direct result, digital marketing has become a crucial component of the success of any business. And the good news is that there are many ways to go about this.

The problem with that is that digital marketing can be overwhelming and confusing. Which platforms are the best? Do I need a website? Where do I start? What should my message be? How much time and money should I be spending? What the heck is digital marketing anyway?

What are the goals of digital marketing, and how can they be achieved?

Digital marketing goals may include increasing website traffic and conversion rates, developing targeted customer profiles, or creating effective social media campaigns. 

There are many different ways to achieve digital marketing goals, but some common methods include email marketing, social media marketing, and website design and optimization. Small businesses need to have a strategy in place for digital marketing if they want to grow their business. By understanding the basics of digital marketing, small businesses can develop a plan that will help them reach their objectives.

Digital marketing has become a crucial component of the success of any business. Click To Tweet


laptop open to a website on wood table

Not everyone may agree but in my mind, an article about digital marketing wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the website. I’m sure you have heard of a website before but just in case…

A website is a digital repository of information that allows individuals and businesses to connect with customers and partners online. A website can be used for digital marketing purposes, to sell products or services, or simply to provide information. Websites can be small or large, personal or commercial, but they all share one common goal: to make the world more accessible and convenient.

Most people head straight for Google when they are looking for a product or service. If your business is not on the world wide web, you’re leaving money on the table. A website is one of the most important tools a small business can have in its digital marketing arsenal.

A website gives your small business a way to connect with potential and current customers, as well as share your brand and products. It also provides a way to track customer activity and learn more about what interests them.

Your website tells people how to contact you, it can sell your products and it can be leveraged for a digital marketing strategy.

It doesn’t have to be fancy or elaborate. Web hosting is affordable these days and there are platforms out there, such as WordPress, that make it easy to create simple but effective landing pages. If you don’t have the skill or desire to create one, outsource it.

Finally, websites can be customized to present your company in the best possible light. So whether you’re just starting or have been marketing your small business for years, a website is an essential tool for your digital marketing strategy.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

person typing on laptop keyboard with search bar across screen

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of optimizing a web page or site for better search engine ranking. SEO can be done on a small business or individual level. Small businesses that want to improve their SEO may employ an SEO company, while individuals can do it themselves with the help of free online tools. 

There are three main goals of SEO: getting more traffic to a website from search engines, improving the visibility and ranking of a website in search results pages, and earning money from ad revenue generated by high-ranking pages. The most effective way to achieve these goals is through optimizing website content, structure, backlinks and tags. 

Search Engine Optimization is the process of refining the content on your website by using the following components to help move it closer to the top of the results on search engines, such as Google (you may have heard of it). SEO is not a one-time set-and-forget thing. It should be part of an ongoing digital marketing strategy. 


Keywords are an important part of a robust digital marketing strategy. They are words or phrases that people type into search engines when they are searching for something. You want to find out which keywords are the most common and use those throughout your website. 

For instance, if someone is searching for a construction company in Saskatoon, they may type ‘construction company saskatoon’ into the search field. However, they may type ‘general contractors saskatoon’. It’s best to determine which is used more often and go with that in your content.

But it’s not just about keywords, you also need to ensure that your content is unique and of high quality. 


‘Content is king.’ – Bill Gates. He was right in 1996 and is still right today. You can’t create a good SEO strategy without content. The content on your website is the most important part of getting traffic. Content is anything that you put on your website. Blog posts, videos, graphics, images etc. Make sure it is relevant to your audience. 

Check to see what content in your industry is ranking high on Google and make yours better. Easy, right? On the other hand, sometimes not looking at your competition could be a better way to ensure that your content is unique. Creating unique and high-quality content that people engage with is sure to earn you backlinks (content from others linking back to your content) and backlinks will improve your ranking even more.


Images play an important part in telling the story of your business. People love gorgeous visuals. High-quality images are important to keep your visitors engaged. Optimizing your images for search engines by writing accurate alt tags helps improve your ranking as well as helps visually impaired individuals experience your website. The more accurate and concise your descriptions are, the better. 

Meta tags

Meta tags, also called meta descriptions can be up to 160 characters long and give a quick overview of the webpage in the search results. It’s the text description displayed under each search result. Make it as long as it takes to get the message across but no longer.

Again, you want to be concise here. It’s like any other piece of content. Focus on the visitor and the problem you are trying to solve for them. Use your keywords. Use active voice. You can get your message across more effectively. If it is appropriate, use a call to action. 

Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC)

pay per click advertising

PPC is a form of paid advertising in which you pay each time your ad gets clicked on. You’ll see this type of advertising on social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, as well as search engines, such as Google. 

Unlike organic traffic, PPC will put your product or service in front of potential customers. It costs money but you’ll typically achieve faster results. If you don’t, there is something wrong and this is a sign your ad needs to be improved or your target market needs to be adjusted. 

Quality reigns supreme in your PPC advertising as in the rest of your digital marketing strategy. The platform you choose to place your ads on will use algorithms to decide which ads to display based on the ad spend you’ve chosen as well as the quality of the ad. So the most relevant ad and a landing page where the ad leads dictates how often your ad will be shown. This requires a lot of testing and tweaking. 

PPC is different from SEO in that your product or service reaches your target market faster but with SEO you’re building a solid foundation that will lead to a more sustainable long-term business. So as you can see, deciding which method to use depends on what your business goals are. 

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

typing on laptop with words search engine marketing

Above, you learned about SEO and PPC. SEM is where those come together. Search engine marketing is focusing your digital marketing efforts on achieving higher visibility for your website. Here you utilize both SEO and PPC to get people to click on your website. 

Search engine marketing (SEM) can be a powerful tool for small businesses. SEM helps businesses identify and reach potential customers through online search engines. This can be done through paid search, organic search, or both. Paid search refers to the use of paid advertising on a website or in an online ad campaign. Paid ads are typically placed in relevant locations on a website and are targeted to specific demographics or interests.

Organic search is when a business’s website appears in Google’s results for searches that include its name and keywords. This occurs when users type in your company’s name and the right keywords into Google’s search bar, without any paid advertising involved. SEM can also be used to create websites that rank higher in Google than competitors’ websites.

By using SEM, businesses can create targeted ads that are specific to their target audience, increase website click-through rates (CTRs), and improve SEO. Additionally, SEM can help small businesses connect with potential customers who are searching for similar products or services. By using SEM correctly, small businesses can achieve the desired results – increased revenue, increased web traffic, and improved brand awareness.

Email Marketing 

email marketing

Email marketing is a powerful digital marketing tool that can help your small business communicate with its customers. By using email to send personalized messages, you can keep your customers informed about your products and services, and build relationships with them. In addition, email marketing can help you reach new customers and create brand awareness.

Email marketing has become one of the most popular and effective marketing strategies for small businesses. Email marketing is simple to use and can be done on a budget. It can be tailored to target your audience, which makes it more effective than other forms of advertising.

Email marketing can be automated, so you can spend more time focusing on your business goals. Not to mention, you own the platform and there are no algorithms to work around. The message goes directly to the subscriber’s inbox.

One of the best ways to use email marketing is to drive traffic to your website. By adding a link in your email signature or on your website, you can encourage people who see your email to visit your site. This way, you can increase traffic and potential sales.

Another great way to use email marketing is to send regular newsletters. Not only will this keep your customers updated on new products and services, but it will also build trust and loyalty between you and your customer base.

Social Media Marketing

social media marketing

Social media marketing is the process of using online platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to build relationships with potential and current customers. By creating content that is interesting, engaging, and useful, businesses can attract new followers and increase their online presence.

Social media platforms are also great tools for customer service and a well-rounded digital marketing strategy. By using social media marketing techniques, small businesses can reach a large audience quickly and easily.

When you have a product or service to sell on your website, it is important to make sure that visitors know what they can buy. Social media can be a great tool to get your offers in front of your audience. Social media is good for getting your product or service in front of potential customers who don’t know they want or need it yet.


Facebook is a great way for small businesses to connect with potential customers. With a Facebook page, businesses can post information about their products and services, as well as updates about what’s going on in the business.

Additionally, Facebook provides a platform for small businesses to engage with their customers by hosting contests and polls, as well as, connecting with other businesses in the community. By using Facebook, small businesses can create a loyal following of customers who are interested in what they have to offer.


Instagram is a great platform for small businesses that are looking to get exposure. It’s easy to set up an account and get started sharing your photos with the community. Plus, there are plenty of tools available that make it easy to grow your followers and engagement. If you run a business that sells products or services online, Instagram could be a great way to connect with new customers.


LinkedIn is a great resource for small businesses because it has a large and active user base. The platform offers features that can help small businesses grow their networks and connect with potential customers. For example, LinkedIn allows businesses to create targeted profiles that showcase their company’s unique selling proposition (USP).

In addition, LinkedIn also offers tools such as groups and events that can help businesses connect with other professionals and build relationships. Finally, LinkedIn provides analytics that can help businesses track the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns.


Twitter is a great way to connect with customers and promote your business. Twitter is also a great way to stay up-to-date on industry news and trends. You can share interesting customer stories or successes you’ve experienced.

Twitter is a great platform to ask questions of your followers and get their feedback on product or service ideas. You can also promote special events or sales. Use retweets as a way to amplify the reach of your tweets, and encourage followers to retweet them as well!


Pinterest is a social media platform that allows users to pin images and videos to boards for later viewing. It has quickly become the go-to resource for finding inspiration for small businesses, as it offers an easy way to find images and ideas that can be used in marketing materials.

One of the best ways to use Pinterest for your small business is to create boards focused on different aspects of your business. For example, you could create a board called “Store Ideas” with images of products you sell, a board called “Promotions” with ideas for marketing your business, and so on. Additionally, creating pins based on blog posts or articles that you’ve written can be a great way to promote your content and attract new followers.

Affiliate Marketing

affiliate marketing

An affiliate is a person or company that helps promote a product or service by linking to it from their website. When someone clicks on the link and makes a purchase, the affiliate gets a commission. This is how affiliate marketing works: A company sells something (a product, service, or course), and they want people to buy it. 

They put a link on their website that says “buy now” or “register for our free trial”. When someone clicks on the link, they go to the website of the company selling the product. The affiliate then promotes that company’s product by using different words (in this case, promoting the benefits of buying their product). Whenever someone clicks through one of these links and makes a purchase, the affiliate gets paid.

This type of digital marketing allows businesses to connect with customers through affiliations, or agreements between the business and the affiliate. Affiliates receive a commission on sales made through their links and can provide valuable support to small businesses. With affiliate marketing, small businesses can build a loyal customer base and promote their products without spending excessive amounts of money.

When it comes to affiliate marketing, there are a few things to keep in mind if you’re planning on using it for your small business. First and foremost, affiliate marketing is all about helping other businesses grow – so make sure you’re targeting the right niches and doing your research before you start promoting products.

Secondly, be sure to set up your affiliate marketing campaigns properly, making sure that you have a good tracking system in place so you can see how your traffic is performing. And lastly, always be willing to give back to your community by sharing valuable advice or tips with others who are also interested in promoting their businesses through affiliate marketing.


In conclusion, digital marketing is a great way for small businesses to reach a wider audience. By creating a digital marketing plan, businesses can target their customers more effectively and increase sales. There are many different ways to use digital marketing, so businesses should find the strategies that work best for them. To be successful, businesses should constantly experiment with new tactics and keep track of their results.

I’ve just outlined the very basics in this article. Creating your strategy can be overwhelming and takes time. If you still need help creating a strategy for your business, email me at [email protected].

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Treana Wunsch

Treana Wunsch

Volleyballer, dog mom, Feng Shui buff, and minimalist wannabe. Treana is obsessed with simplifying processes for entrepreneurs and small business owners.

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