Marketing your business using digital (or online) tools has become important as people are increasingly using their mobile phones or tablets to browse products and services on the internet.

Creating a website

Most businesses have, or should have, a website to promote their products or services. A website is a digital shopfront allowing you to always be open for business.

Most customers will undertake online research before making a decision to purchase products and services. If you don’t have a website or other online presence you may be missing out on customers.

Your website should:

  • outline your products and services
  • include content and images that are engaging and relevant to your target audience
  • enable people to contact you

It is important to plan before creating a website, ask yourself:

  • What is the purpose of the website?
  • Do I intend to sell products or services online?
  • What do I want people to do after they have visited my website?
  • How much can I afford to spend on the website?
  • How will I keep the information on the website up to date?

Creating a website generally involves the following steps:

  1. Register your website address or domain name
  2. Build your website using a template or custom built design
  3. Create content for your website
  4. Determine how you would like the website to look and feel (branding)
  5. Set up hosting services to connect your website to the internet.

Action to take

Use these resources to help you create or update your business website:

Email marketing

Email marketing has become an increasingly effective way to interact with customers. The most common form of email marketing is electronic newsletters (e-newsletters), this can also include sending targeted messages or promotions to your customers to keep them engaged with your business. For example, you may have a ‘rewards club’ and email clients with special offers based on their buying habits. Email marketing generally requires you to have a database of your clients’ email addresses. It is important when collecting addresses from existing and potential customers that they agree to you contacting them at a later date.

For more information on email marketing read our email marketing for beginners and five email marketing mistakes to avoid articles.


Under the Spam Act 2003 it is illegal to send, or cause to be sent, unsolicited commercial electronic messages, including emails, instant messaging, SMS and MMS. You should always obtain permission from your customers to contact them via email marketing. There are many online products available to help small businesses create, manage and automate their email marketing campaigns. These products are available for free or via paid subscription.

Social media

Social media allows businesses to communicate directly with potential and existing customers. However these platforms have also removed some of the control businesses have over their branding and messaging. Customers can now post comments, positive and negative, about your business to their social networks.

Examples of social media platforms for business to business (B2B) and business to customer (B2C) target markets include:

  • Facebook
  • X (previously known as Twitter)
  • LinkedIn
  • Instagram
  • TikTok
  • Snapchat
  • YouTube
  • Podcasts
  • Blogs

These platforms allow you to publish text, photo, images, videos, and audio files.

If you are thinking of using social media research the various platforms first, then choose a couple that your customers are most likely to use and which will work best for you.

Social media is about listening and engaging with your target customers, not constantly selling to them. You can connect, communicate and build relationships with people via social media. Make sure that you engage in conversations and post information which is useful to your customers and encourage them to share their experiences of your business on their own social media channels.

Action to take

Read our getting started on social media blog article for more useful information on using social media to promote your business.

Search engine optimisation (SEO)

People rarely look beyond the first page of results of an online search, so ideally you want your website to rank in highly sought after space.

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the process of getting your website listed on the first page of the major search engines such as Google, Yahoo! and Bing.

A search engine aims to provide users with the most relevant information by ranking the most trusted, usable, functional and informative sites first. SEO is critical to your online success and needs to be planned in conjunction with your website. SEO involves ‘on-page’ and ‘off-page’ optimisation techniques as well as finding the right keywords for your website content.

On-page optimisation

On-page optimisation is about creating web pages that can be easily read, understood and indexed by search engines. Factors to take into consideration with on-page optimisation include ensuring:

  • quality content that is unique
  • choosing appropriate keywords
  • easy to follow navigation
  • relevant page, heading and image titles
  • relevant page descriptions
  • a fully responsive website
  • a fast-loading website

Off-page optimisation

Off-page optimisation is about building your website’s credibility and authority. One technique for off-page optimisation is to build links from other websites and social media platforms back to your website.

Link building can be difficult and time-consuming. It is also important to build links from authoritative websites rather than newly created or low quality sites. These will give you better SEO rankings.

A good quality link should:

  • come from a trusted and reputable site which is in some way related to your type of business
  • take some effort to earn
  • not be spam
  • be on a page that has content related to the topic it links to
  • provide added value for the reader
  • be likely to be clicked by the reader

You can secure good quality links by:

  • creating compelling content
  • identifying suppliers that list and link to their stockists on their website and asking to be included
  • obtaining links within your industry through industry associations or relevant sites
  • submitting news stories to media outlets and encouraging them to publish
  • putting your products and services in front of influential bloggers by commenting on posts and through direct marketing
  • signing up to quality directory sites.


Having the appropriate keywords incorporated into your website content will contribute towards how highly your website ranks when it comes to online searches.

The Google Keyword Planner allows you to conduct keyword research to identify the most commonly searched for terms when it comes to the products and services you offer. Once you have these keywords, you can then incorporate them into your website copy and any online advertising you run. 

Action to take

Read our Search Engine Optimisation made easy blog article for tips on how to create an SEO strategy for your business.

Search engine marketing (SEM)

Advertising on search engine results pages can also improve traffic to your website by making it easier to find.

SEM generally refers to pay per click or cost per click advertising. SEM advertising appears at the very top of the first page of results. You will be charged a fee when someone clicks through to your site.

SEM is good to use on content that does not rank on the first page of search results.

Find out more about how to use Google Ads.

Monitor and review

It is important to regularly monitor and review your digital marketing activities to determine whether each channel is achieving the desired outcomes.

Set a regular time each week to access the performance of your website, social media and other digital marketing activities.

Website analytics

Some website statistics to regularly review include:

  • volume of web traffic
  • how long users stay on your website
  • which pages are most popular
  • if users visit at specific times or days
  • source of traffic, including search engines and social media
  • the routes users take to reach your site and devices they use
  • your customer conversion (sales, downloads, blog reads etc.)
  • entry pages (where people are first entering your site)
  •  exit pages (the pages people are leaving your site from)
  • which browsers are being used to access your website

Google Analytics is a free tool and can be embedded into most websites to help you gather this data.

Social media

There are many options to monitor social media results. Most social media come with built-in analytics reporting that you can access. 

Some statistics to regularly review include:

  • number of followers
  • post reach
  • post engagement (likes, comments and shares)
  • click through rates from social media posts to your website

Digital marketing activities

If you are using SEM or other paid activities, some statistics to regularly review include:

  • ad reach
  • ad engagement (eg. click through rates to your website)
  • customer conversions (eg. increases in sales and/or new customer enquiries)

Useful resources

Guide to marketing and branding

Maintaining and developing a successful, sustainable business depends on your customers’ perception and experience of your product or service. That's where marketing and branding can help.

Choosing a website professional

Deciding who to use to develop your business website can be confusing. While you can build your own website, there are advantages in hiring expert help.

Build a website booklet

If you’re planning to build a website for your business, or hire a web developer, our Build a Website booklet will help clarify the type of website and functionality you need.
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