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Digital marketing from a SME perspective

Where should a small business owner put up their digital store windows?


Sari Haavisto

opettaja, yrittäjyys ja liiketoiminnan uudistaminen
Haaga-Helia ammattikorkeakoulu

Published : 25.11.2022

Multiple consultants and experts advise business owners that they should take the benefits of digital marketing. This is a superb advice.

However, where should a small business owner begin? Their time is limited and days can be filled with trying to meet the demands of all relevant stakeholders. Marketing might not be the most crucial task of the day, nor core area of expertise of the business owner.

Nevertheless, it is crucial to think about where you should meet your potential customers, and how you might persuade them to do business with you.

Step 1: Follow your potential customers to build your digital store window

The first step is to understand where your customers begin their search for information on products. According to Statista’s data from 2022, 71% google their path to this information. Since this is the case, then the business owner can begin the building project with a simplistic tactic. Surprisingly, this does not require much, just the time invested in letting Google lead you to build a company profile.

This company profile means that when a potential customer searches for you, your business is shown with a picture that you choose yourself. You can write about your service, have a call button, provide easy access to your company with a map showing your brick-and-mortar, or a one-click path to your online store. If you own a restaurant, you can even have a click to reserve a table. One can always supplement this with purchasing search engine marketing and optimizing the company website, but doing a company profile and taking this first step is fairly easy, begin with this. This way you will let consumers searching for you specific product or service, find a more lucrative display to your business.

Step 2: Find out where in the digital arena your potential customer spends their time

There seems to be a constant cry, that businesses need to reap the benefits of the social media platforms. Old ones become less attractive and new ones spike up the life of consumers. Does the business need to spend money and advertise on all of the available ones? Simple answer is no.

Where and how you should market to your potential customers, depend on their media behavior, in other words, where they spend their time. Take for example, a second-hand store selling and renting only Finnish brand dresses to women. The owners want to reach their potential customers, which they have defined to be environmentally conscious, appreciative of aesthetics, and of domestic product, living in Helsinki and around 30–40 years of age.

These potential customers can be found amongst the 2,4 million Instagram users or 2,5 million Facebook users.

As the business owner of this second-hand store has the visual eye and possibility to produce beautiful pictures, but lacks the competence to do compelling videos, Instagram is chosen as the best social media platform. Again, it is fairly simple to create a business account and even a shop in Instagram. As Meta owns both Instagram and Facebook, the best option is to use the Meta Business Account and Suite to administer the business’s presence in both of these platforms.

Step 3: Identify your skills and evaluate if you need help

A business owner needs to be a kind of jack of all trades, it might be unnecessary to add marketing to your portfolio. Hence, the last step is to evaluate what skills you need to do marketing on the above-mentioned platforms. A pinch of honesty is advisable, drafting compelling communication and choosing pictures or visuals that resonates with your customers, is not a skillset that all have.

If necessary, use your network and ask for someone to produce the marketing material for you. There are several freelancers and small marketing agencies that can help you on your digital journey. The applied universities, like Haaga-Helia, has students that are building their skillset and seek a place to train to become marketing professionals.

Good luck on your digital journey!


Statista, Statista Global Consumer Survey, 5/2022.


DigiTikkaat trainings are free of charge training with ESR support between 2022 and 2023. The training is carried out in collaboration with three universities of applied sciences. The training is provided by Haaga-Helia, Laurea and Metropolia. Each university of applied sciences has its own target group for which education is targeted in view of the digital needs of the future. Read more about DigiTikkaat trainings.