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Build And Grow

8 digital marketing trends for small businesses

Nikki Roser

By Nikki Roser

Nikki Roser is the President & CEO of First Bank, a community bank serving Southeastern Illinois and Southwestern Indiana. She is a CPA, holds an MBA, is passionate about building relationships with entrepreneurs and business owners, and leverages her experience to share financial and strategic advice. Partnering with clients and watching their business thrive and prosper is her greatest joy.

Small business owners have faced many disruptions over the last two decades, from the advancement of the Internet and social media to the Great Recession and Covid-19 pandemic.

At First Bank, we have a rich history of helping small businesses Make Great Things Happen in the Indiana and Illinois communities we serve. We are here to help you adapt and grow through the current challenges you face. In this article we’ll share what’s new in digital marketing to help you reach more customers more effectively with your messages and offers. Have questions or need help? Just reach out to our friendly and experienced team of business bankers!

We are here to help you adapt and grow through the current challenges you face.

1. Your website is your 24/7 digital location

Most small businesses now have websites. However, is your site optimized for mobile devices? Especially now, when people try to limit their exposure to COVID-19, your online presence is an important extension of your physical location. Give your website a checkup and address any needed updates before moving on to the rest of this list. That way you have a solid foundation from which to build the rest of your digital marketing strategy!

  • Is your website connected to Google Analytics?
  • Do you have a responsive website for mobile browsing on smartphones and tablets?
  • Do you have click-to-call phone numbers easily visible throughout your site?
  • Have you included your physical address for “near me” searches?
  • Do you have a blog page to provide helpful answers and information for prospective customers?

2. SEO is local

The primary goal of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is to increase website traffic through organic search engine results. You may already be practicing SEO strategies such as keywords, backlinks, blogging and more. The new focus for SEO is local: geo keywords, localized content, etc.

Think “near me” searches, which are no longer only about places, but also time and things. With local searches on the rise, Google introduced a new tool, Local Services ads, to help match small businesses with the customers looking for their specific products or services. One last point about Local SEO: The more customer reviews you get, the more authority you’ll earn from Google. Check out this “Ultimate Guide to Customer Reviews and Testimonials”from HubSpot to get some tips for incentivizing your own customers to leave reviews.

The new focus for SEO is local: geo keywords, localized content, etc.

3. Email Marketing goes mobile

While the technology of email isn’t new, best practices around email marketing have evolved. As with your website, mobile is the biggest change to hit email and how people interact with it. Your customers are are checking more of their email on a mobile device, so take a “mobile first” approach to your email strategy:
  • Keep it short.
  • Have a clear call-to-action.
  • Stick with a single-column format.
  • Leave plenty of white space between text and Calls to action.
Your customers are checking more of their email on a mobile device, so take a mobile first approach to your email strategy 

4. Artificial Intelligence (AI) can help you market smarter

We’re not talking about science fiction anymore, but AI-powered tools that can help small businesses identify trends in their raw customer data. For example:

  • Pardot: A B2B Marketing Automation tool to help you engage more meaningfully with customers, find more leads for your sales pipeline, and close deals faster.
  • Marketo Engage: Use machine learning and predictive analytics to match buyers with the most relevant content and personalized messages across channels. Measure marketing campaign performance and revenue analytics.
  • LOCALiQ: A partnership between local trust and market-leading tech for the best local marketing solutions for local businesses.

The most important takeaway for AI marketing tools is that they don’t make decisions for you. Instead, they empower you to make the best possible data-driven decisions about your marketing strategy. Save time and resources with data trend analysis that only grows stronger the longer you use it.

5. WiFi Marketing can be a win-win for you and your customers

If you own a business with a physical location, such as a store or coffee shop, you probably offer free public WiFi to your customers. After all, WiFi access is no longer just a benefit but something that people have come to expect.

WiFi access is no longer just a benefit but something that people have come to expect.

As a business owner, you can get something in return from providing free WiFi. With WiFi Marketing, you can collect information such as who visits your physical location, whether they make a purchase or not. Then you can make the right offer to them at the right time to increase the likelihood of conversion.

6. Content Marketing: Quality over Quantity

Content marketing refers to blogging, social media posts, email and other ways to provide helpful and personalized information to your customers and prospects. Using some of the AI strategies described above, you can figure out how people are coming to your website and use the data they leave behind to offer personalized content through email, social media ads and more. Above all else, quality content is helpful, meaning it provides the information your customers are looking for as they research a topic or purchase.

Above all else, quality content is helpful

7. Don't ignore voice searches

The growth of virtual home assistants like Alexa and Google Home has led to a corresponding rise in voice searches. You can take advantage of this by adding an FAQs page to your site as well as subheadings that mimic our natural speech patterns. For example, “what paint colors are popular?”

8. Tell a story on social media

Snapchat was the original social media platform for disappearing posts. Now Instagram and Facebook have adopted their own variations on the “stories” approach. Small business owners can get in on the fun with behind-the-scenes content and time-sensitive posts that won’t be available later. Stories can drive audience engagement by triggering our innate FOMO (fear of missing out).

Stories can drive audience engagement by triggering our innate FOMO (fear of missing out). 

What Great Things Can We Make Happen for Your Business?

Whatever’s next, let’s make it happen together. Check out our complete list of resources and tools for Indiana and Illinois small business owners just like you. Then start a conversation with one of our relationship managers and let us know what we can make happen for you!

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