Updated: Nov 14, 2019
It is a common misconception that small businesses do not need digital marketing. Some small business owners may think that sticking to more basic forms of marketing (print, coupon mailers, newspaper ads etc.) is the key to growing a business, it is not. While those forms of marketing are still effective and can bring you some customers, they aren't going to give you the success you need to prosper.
While it is not likely that a small business can fund ad campaigns like a big company can (they just have more money in a marketing budget than most small businesses can afford) it is still possible to have a competitive online presence. Shall I say that again?
A SMALL BUSINESS CAN HAVE A COMPETITIVE ONLINE PRESENCE!
It is not a good approach to believe your business can grow just by simply existing.
Think of an online presence as a way for your business to be open 24/7. Realistically, your business will probably not be available 24 hours a day, all week, but customers are able to see what your business is all about, even after business hours.
Consumers have changed their expectations due to a growing relationship with technology. Technology and the internet make tasks like shopping easier for customers. The amount of customers you can attract online, far exceeds the amount you can find locally. One really great detail about digital marketing is you can learn from it. If you create a print ad or send out a mailer, you have no idea who is reading your material or who even opened the mailer. Digital marketing is measurable, which means it gives you the tools needed to adjust your campaign to fit your objectives. Digital marketing allows you to view analytics so that you are able to track your marketing efforts. You can learn demographics and interact with your consumers to determine what they are really looking for! If you can allow customers to know your business, especially on a level that feels more personal, you will have created brand loyalty.
The fact of the matter is that customers are online and ready to find your business. Chances are that they are already looking for your business, but are unable to find a presence online so they choose someone else who is online. Do you know what most people do when they learn of a new a business nowadays? They research online to find out what they can about you or your business. The strength of your online presence equates to the perception of the legitimacy of your business. Online reviews are another super important tool to utilize because they allow potential consumers to know the experience that others had with your business. Online reviews also help you out; they help you to determine what changes need to be made or what services/features need to be highlighted.
If you have no idea where to start, think of all of your competitors. Yeah, you want to beat them and win over customers, but you can also learn from them. You can look at all of their content online. What are they offering on their website? Do they provide any customers services? What do their reviews say? Analyze all of that and step it up. Take all of the things you have learned about what is working for them and what isn't and use that to your advantage.
There are two main concerns with creating a digital marketing strategy: money and time.
While you may believe that digital marketing is going to cost you tons of money, it doesn't. In fact, it is much cheaper (and more effective) than traditional forms of marketing. Not only is it cheaper, it can give you a higher ROI (return on investment). By increasing your digital presence, you can increase your exposure, which will provide you with data to increase your leads. Those leads can result in potential customers, which will potentially provide you with more revenue!
digital presence → increased exposure → data → increased leads → potential customers → potential $$
Time is something you MUST invest in your business. However, time is not something you MUST invest in a digital marketing strategy. Someone has to do it, but it doesn't have to be the business owner. This is where a digital marketer comes in handy. They do all of this for you! Of course, it will cost you money, but most marketers will create a strategy that fits into a budget that you can afford. If you decide to hire a digital marketer, be honest and upfront about your goals and how much money you can spend. In order for you both to be successful, it is very important to lay everything out there because the digital marketer wants to help and wants to be successful. They have to do well for your business because if they don't, you aren't going to keep buying their services and you don't want to waste your money. Most consultations are free, so shop around and find the best marketing agency that fits your needs.