Inbound Marketing. Content Marketing. Marketing Automation.
There’s a lot of buzz these days about the glory of digital marketing solutions for small business owners. And okay, we get it. We know this means Websites, blogs, online ads, social media, emails, and more. But why, exactly, does it matter?
It matters because it’s what your customers want and it’s where your customers are. Simply put, the old marketing playbook is broken and consumer behaviors have changed. Rather than tuning into traditional marketing channels – newspapers, yellow pages, print ads – your customers are tuning out as they are deep in the world of all-things digital. From smart phones and tablets, to computers and even wearable watches, the new marketing channels are literally everywhere we look, but they all exist online. So if you’re not represented in this space, it’s time to figure out why and how to get there (fast!). Read below for the 5 most dire reasons that digital marketing matters to your small business:
1. The Power of Search
The majority of consumers are using online research to inform their purchasing decisions for small business services. Seventy-five percent of consumers are going online to research businesses and 4 out of 10 consumers rely on social media or review sites as their research platforms, according to findings in our small business survey report. If you’re not visible in these search engines (by tactics such as creating SEO-optimized content related to your business), you’ll never show up in search results when potential consumers are looking for your type of product or service. A harsh reality? Your competitors will.
In today’s crowded online marketplace, it takes more than a simple SEO or SEM approach to get found when customers search. Cutting through the noise requires a strategy that is data-powered, hyperlocal and flexible enough to evolve with the ever-changing online landscape.
2. Mobile Matters
Sure you have a website and maybe even a blog. But are they mobile phone friendly? In 2015, over 50% of consumers perform their local searches via their mobile devices (BIA/Kelsey), but most small business owners do not have a website that is phone friendly. To ensure success on the mobile search channel, you’ll first need to ensure your website is formatted and accessible via a mobile device and then you need to be listed on the search engines, maps, and business directories that customers use to find local services. Sound difficult? It doesn’t have to be.
3. Simple & Affordable
Simply put, digital marketing is more efficient and cost effective, allowing you to reach more people quicker and more cheaply. Remember the days of expensive newspaper ads, TV spots, trade shows, or even going door-to-door to drop off a business flier? Digital marketing has changed all that in a click of a button, giving you the power to promote your brand, engage with customers, and advertise special offers and services all within a digital second. And since 3 billion – or 40 percent of the world’s population – uses the Internet these days, just think of all the potential customers, brand recognition, and world domination you could be missing out on. Ok, maybe not that last one, but still.
4. Competitive Advantage
More than 60 percent of small businesses use digital marketing tools, according to SmallBusiness.com. That means you’re in the minority if you’re not taking advantage of all of the digital tools and creating an integrated digital marketing strategy. Of course, this also means that potential customers who head online are learning about your competition instead of you. Yes, it takes time and yes, it can get complicated to manage.
5. Technology: the New Way of the World
Technology is eventually going to force you into the digital game. Search is already becoming a big part of the shopping experience. Although computers remain the most popular device to use, more consumers, up to 80 percent in 2015, are turning to smartphones, according to Global Web Index and reported by SmartInsights. The proliferation of technology is giving consumers more avenues for research and consumption. Anyone who stays offline is going to miss a big piece of the pie.