Why digital marketing matters - especially for small businesses

You might be thinking, “why do I need marketing? I already get enough business. I’m located in a highly-trafficked and/or tourist destination.”

It’s no secret that the ways of operating a business have evolved. Increasing competition within a 5-mile radius from your storefront has changed the physical landscape. And increasingly connected individuals (connected to an average of 8 devices at a time) has changed consumer expectations.

This also means that the old ways of marketing have evolved. Print ads, such as newspaper, magazine, benches, and billboards are a thing of the past. They’re expensive, your return on investment (ROI) cannot be easily tracked, and you can only target your audience to a certain extent.

Marketing is all about meeting the right customers, at the right place, at the right time. Fortunately, Digital marketing exists and allows you to meet your potential customers where they spend most of their time: online. Digital marketing is defined as any form of marketing that exists online. This includes digital advertising, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), your company’s website, online reputation, organic social media, paid social media advertising, email marketing, content marketing, and more.

Digital marketing offers smaller businesses the opportunity to level the playing field. It allows you to be more flexible with your marketing budget, and know exactly where your marketing dollars are being spent.

If you’re just getting started with digital marketing or assessing your current efforts, here are some areas to consider:

Think mobile first.

When it comes to your digital presence, you should think from the perspective of someone viewing on their mobile phone. Mobile accounts for 52.2% of all web searches. On mobile, Google search ads take up 100% of the screen space “above the fold.” This means if someone is searching on mobile, and your business shows up in a Google search ad, it will be 1 of 3 businesses that person sees before they start scrolling.

Invest in digital advertising.

There are a number of search engines you can advertise with, however, Google dominates this space, taking up approximately 92% of search engine market share. Digital advertising, or “pay-per-click” advertising (PPC), provides the opportunity for you to market to potential customers using Google, whether or not they know exactly what they’re searching for.

Claim your business listings.

Do you know how much business you’re missing out on because your business name, address, phone number, and/or hours of operation are inaccurate online? Claim your Google My Business (GMB), Yelp, and TripAdvisor (if you’re in a tourist destination) listings. Make sure any time you make changes at your business (i.e., updating your contact information), you update these resources online, too.

Have a reputation management strategy.

Consider your online reviews a free secret shopper program. Use this unsolicited, unbiased feedback to help improve your business operationally so you can also improve your average review ratings. 89% of consumers read a business’ response to reviews, so it’s equally important to have a strategy in place to respond to both positive and negative reviews. Being responsive shows prospective customers you’re engaged and care about your customers’ experiences.

Cultivate your online community.

Organic social media allows you to build customer loyalty, create an open dialogue, and engage with your community. It’s a free opportunity to extend your reach, boost brand awareness, and increase your share-of-voice. 81% of people are influenced by what their friends share on social media, and this has to happen organically.

The value of digital marketing.

Digital marketing provides a flexible way to expand your reach and market your business. Taking steps to make your business easily accessible, easy to find, and always “top of mind” online will help you attract new customers, nurture your existing customer relationships, and ultimately, increase your revenue.

Ready to get started?

If you’re interested in learning more about any of the tactics described above, or you’d like a digital marketing audit for your business, let’s schedule a time to talk.