When a small business first opens their doors, the very first priority is getting customers. And rightfully so. Customers are the livelihood of any business and are necessary to generate sales and profit. So why is digital marketing important for small businesses and what role does it play in acquiring customers?
We’ll be going into depth on these questions and how this may apply to your business.
Usually, after someone has opened up a business, they know that they need to get their name out there to make people aware of them. Many times, the owner will consider traditional forms of advertising to help create that awareness. Common among these traditional forms are direct mailers, ads in local publications, or even billboards if budget allows.
As a business owner, you are proud of your product or service. You know that if customers could only find you, they would love you and come running through your doors. It’s great to expect this. However, while traditional advertising may be a good strategy in some cases, it isn’t always the best option for small business. Often, this will be more costly than other options available to you.
And that’s where digital marketing comes into play. There is an abundance of potential prospects online. All you need to do is connect with them. So regardless of your business size, this is one key marketing opportunity you don’t want to overlook.
The Benefits of Online Marketing
There are a number of benefits that online marketing offers vs. traditional advertising, but there are just a few benefits that really sets it apart. First of all, there are many more potential customers online than you could ever reach from local advertising. Because of this, you have the ability to reach a huge audience through digital marketing. This is commonly referred to as “audience targeting.”
Results are measurable and cost-friendly on advertising budgets in many cases.
Additional benefits of online marketing:
- Ability to interact with potential customers and get to know their preferences
- You can reach customers in any geography, knowing they are right fit for your business
- Digital marketing allows you to easily track and measure the results of your efforts
- Much less expensive than traditional marketing, saving you money in the long run
- You can build a positive perception and reputation online for your business
These are just to name a few. But with benefits like these, why wouldn’t you want digital marketing for your business?
Not Sure if Digital Marketing is Right for You?
If you’re wondering if digital marketing is right for your business, it is. In fact, it’s right for any business that is trying to grow. With the sheer volume of potential customers that are online, now is the perfect time to start with digital marketing.
Understandably, business owners can sometimes be a little hesitant to jump into something they’re not totally sure of. But with the opportunities that exist to market your business online, it’s best to at least give it a try.
Many small business owners feel like they don’t have the money or even time to advertise online. Perhaps they feel like it’s just something new that they have to learn and are simply not interested in doing that.
But the truth is, you don’t really need to. There are digital marketing companies that can help with this sort of thing. That way you can focus on what you do best. Running your business.
As a small business, there is no guarantee that your business will grow on it’s own. With a little word of mouth advertising, your business may grow steadily. But to get your business off to a strong start and really raise awareness, digital marketing is your ally.
Digital marketing can take your business from one that no one has ever heard of, to one that everyone knows about. Almost overnight.
Now doesn’t that sound great?
Your Customers Are Online
If you haven’t already begun marketing your business online, have you asked yourself, “why not?” Maybe you’ve told yourself that the timing is not right or that the money is not there. But the fact of the matter is, your potential customers are online. Even as you read this.
Not only are your customers online, they are probably looking for a business just like yours. Because of this, all you need to do is be discoverable when they do look for your service or product. Meaning you want to show up when they are searching online. If they cannot find your business, they’ll likely go to one of your competitors.
I mean think about it. What is the first thing you do when you want to shop online or find a new restaurant to go to? You go to Google and you search for it. Then you read reviews and visit company websites. If you like what you read and see, you make a decision to visit or purchase. If you don’t like what you see, you keep looking elsewhere.
And this is exactly how potential customers could find your business as well. They would search for something related to your product or service. And then they would research the companies that show up on Google. They may visit your social media page or website to gather more information before making a purchase decision.
But the point is, if they cannot find your business online, how will they ever learn more about you and make the decision to buy from you?
The very fact that your customers are already online and actively searching for something similar to what your business offers is reason enough to give digital marketing a try.
Your Competitors are also Online
It goes without saying, but your competition is already online. They have company websites, social media pages, online reviews, etc. They have an established online presence.
Because of this, they have the customers that you probably want for your business. While it’s frustrating to see potential customers going with the competition, it’s also good to take a step back and look at what the competition is doing online. If it’s working, you can implement a similar digital marketing strategy for your own business.
Do they have a nice website with useful content? Are they active on social media and engaging with their audience? Do they seem like somewhere you would want to buy from if you were a potential customer? Looking at all these small things can help you in determine how you yourself can market your business online.
So rather than accepting that the competition is doing a better job with their online presence, you can use this as a learning opportunity to better market your own business? Make sense?
Sometimes business owners evaluate their competition’s marketing efforts and realize they could do a better job. So why not you, too?
Remember, prospective clients or customers cannot choose you if they don’t know you exist. So get competitive online and let those customers find you.
Be Discoverable by Your Customers
In today’s day and age, consumers often begin their search for a product or service online. This often begins in the form of a Google search. Of course, without an online presence you aren’t able to even be an option the consumer searching online. That’s why being able to compete for space online is important.
However, sometimes simply having an online presence isn’t enough on its own. For instance, if other competitors rank higher than your business online, potential customers may still have a hard time finding your company.
This is why it’s important to continuously evaluate opportunities to strengthen your business’s online presence. For example, can your website be better optimized for search engines so that your website shows up before a competitor when some searches keywords? Are there opportunities to better leverage social media?
If a potential customer is looking for information about your business online, they should be able to find it relatively easy. Location, hours of operation, even prices are pieces of information that potential customers expect to be able to easy find about your business.
So it’s a good idea to take the time to make sure that if you’re not discoverable by your customers, find out why. And then start implementing ways to become more easily discoverable online.
Digital Marketing Let’s Customers Come to You
Having an online presence for your business is sort of like having your business available to anyone, anywhere, at any time. If you have a physical location, usually your customers are going to come from close by areas. But with a web presence, you can be available to your customers regardless of their proximity to your physical location.
If they want to send an email, order a product, or make a reservation, they can do this through your company website. By making these features available on your website, you’re able to reach a much larger audience than your local customer base. Before you know it, a portion of your customers could be coming from out of the city or even state.
Establishing an online presence for your business not only adds a layer of convenience for your customers. It also makes you available to a larger number of customers that you may not have acquired otherwise.
So do yourself a favor and let your customers come to you.
Digital Marketing Allows You to Get to Know Your Target Audience
Have you ever wondered what your customers really want? What are their interests? What do they like/dislike about your business? How can you better cater to their needs as a customer?
Digital marketing allows you discover the answers to these questions and more. This is because you are able to more easily engage with customers online. With social media, customers can ask your business questions and you can answer them instantly.
You are able to have conversions with customers and communicate with them, just as you would if they were in your store. Not only do customers appreciate being answered, a sense of trust and authenticity of the business is built with customers when you engage with them on a regular basis. And if we know one thing about shopping behavior, it’s that people buy from companies they trust and like.
In addition to social media, you can allow for comments on your website or blog so people can give feedback. You can also send out emails to your customers asking them to take a survey. This way you’re able to get direct answers to the questions you have for them and improve your business along the way.
So there you have it. The reasons why digital marketing is important for small business.
There aren’t many forms of marketing and advertising that are as effective as digital marketing with a lower budget. Even with a light marketing budget, your business can still be competitive in the digital landscape and grow your customer base as a result.
For the cost of a TV or radio commercial, you can reach many more people with digital marketing than you would with those advertising options.
In our opinion, digital marketing for small business is a must. So why not give it a try? You just might be glad you did.