Wasting Your Money? Welcome to Digital Marketing for Small Businesses!
You can’t just build it and hope they come. You know that already. So, as a small business owner, you know that you have to invest in marketing. And the first thing that probably comes to mind when you think “marketing” is traditional marketing – you know, newspaper and magazine ads, TV and radio, billboards, direct mail. But there is a better way – much better. And that’s digital marketing for small businesses.
It’s not that digital and traditional marketing clash or are mutually exclusive. They can, and probably should work together in a well-rounded marketing campaign.
For example, with traditional marketing techniques, it’s often easier to target local audiences. And because traditional marketing often involves hard copy of some kind, people can keep it, remember it, and refer back to it. A study conducted by the Canadian neuro-marketing firm TrueImpact revealed that direct mail required less cognitive effort for processing than comparable digital media and had a higher rate of brand recall.
Still, digital marketing has several distinct, substantial advantages over traditional marketing. And consider this. According to Ad Age, 81% of shoppers conduct online research before making a purchase. No wonder, then, that 60% of marketers are re-thinking and restructuring to take advantage of and deploy new digital technologies.
What Is Digital Marketing?
Basically, digital marketing is online marketing using the various digital venues, tools, and techniques. These include social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, as well as more advanced tools like Google Adwords and PPC.
In the US alone, there are literally hundreds of millions of people – consumers – online every day. Just think: 58% of all the adults in the US are on Facebook, 23% use LinkedIn, and 52% use more than one social media platform. Obviously, then, social media-based digital marketing can have a huge reach.
Digital marketing also includes some techniques that resemble traditional marketing in some ways – for example, landing pages, explainer videos, email marketing and funnel systems. Most of these, though, are tied to your website in some way.
Advantages of Digital Marketing for Small Businesses
As mentioned, digital marketing has several distinct advantages over traditional marketing.
Measurable results – How can you know how many people heard the radio spot you paid an arm and a leg for? And how can you know how many people saw the expensive ad you ran in the paper? You can’t.
But with digital marketing, you can. You can find out exactly how many people clicked on that ad or opened your marketing email. This precise data allows you to adjust your marketing according to what the numbers say. So, if something isn’t working, you’ll know right away and can make the necessary adjustments.
Greater ROI – Digital marketing is much cheaper, and the potential ROI is much greater chiefly because of the reach and the measurability. For small businesses, TV commercials and magazine ads, even radio spots, can be prohibitively expensive and their reach is limited.
Qualified Shoppers – With digital marketing for small businesses, you can target a much more specific and clearly defined audience. And this allows you to reach people interested in your products and prospective customers who are ready to buy.
Customer Engagement – A direct-mail piece or a billboard is pretty impersonal and so sometimes a little off-putting. But digital marketing changes all that by allowing opportunities for customer engagement. Your potential customers can actually participate in your marketing efforts by choosing to watch that video or clicking on the opt-in box to provide their information.
Brand Awareness – Perhaps, the best brand-building step you can take is to make sure you have an expertly designed, conversion-optimized website with lots of quality content. That’s the foundation of your brand awareness online.
It All Begins with Your Website
Just as you need a brick-and-mortar store for, say, a corner sporting-goods business, you also have to have some online real estate to do business these days. And most important for getting people in the door of your online store is the content on your website.
Content marketing, or inbound marketing, is probably the most effective digital marketing you can engage in. Content in this context can be anything from blog posts to videos to infographics – just as long as it provides valuable information that answers people’s questions and solves their problems.
With that kind of content, especially on your website, you position yourself as a friendly, giving expert. And that’s the kind of person we all prefer to do business with. That’s what’ll get ’em in your digital door with cash in hand. That’s digital marketing for small businesses.