The Importance of Digital Marketing for Small Businesses
In today’s world running a business, big or small, could leverage digital marketing and capture a wider target customer. Traditional forms of marketing such as word-of-mouth, printed brochures, billboards, radio, and television advertisements could still make a significant impact on your business. But, digital marketing allows you to tap customers beyond geographical boundaries. Imagine the possibility of growth for your small business just by investing on online marketing.
Factors to consider on Digital Marketing
There are plenty of digital marketing strategies a business owner could choose from. Deciding which one is the right fit for your company depends on the resources you have available. This includes the manpower, money, and time you can dedicate to digital marketing. The type of business you are running is also to be considered. One digital strategy might work well with retail but provides less impact on the hospitality business. Your target audience and setting key performance indicators (KPIs) are also vital in choosing which type of digital marketing best suits your business. Take a closer look at what your business needs right now and what are your set goals. This will help you understand which online marketing mix could bring success to your business.
Different Forms of Digital Marketing
With content marketing, you are adding value to your target market in terms of information. Your audience would be digesting information posted on your website. This type of strategy is a means of building your brand’s credibility by giving your customers relevant information. For a business owner in the retail industry, the articles are a way for the customers to better appreciate and understand what is being sold to them. This does not only helps in keeping your market informed and engaged but also serves as a strategy towards item purchase.
Social Media Marketing
There are plenty of social media platforms that you can choose from to market your business. The only downside is that a small business owner often won’t have the time to be managing a handful of social media accounts. One social media captures a different audience thus your marketing content on Facebook does not necessarily mean that it will also work on Twitter. If you don’t have the luxury of time, focus on one social media account first for your online marketing. Learn how to leverage the features it offers before jumping into another platform. If you wish to capture a greater audience through social media, build a strong number of followers first on one account. There is a high probability that these people will also follow your other accounts in the future once you have built a good relationship with them.
Most people could not leave their homes without their phones. Your target market is often glued to their mobile device and this is a perfect time to capture their attention. With the advancement of technology, you can target your audience using granular information to send advertising through their device depending on the time or where they are located.
Affiliate Marketing is one another person or company advertises your company or products on your behalf. There are affiliate marketing networks you can choose from to work with. If this company can sell a product of yours, they get a certain percentage from the profit. This is a great strategy if you aim to reach a wider scope of the market plus you get your products to be advertised 24 hours 7 days a week without asking too much of your time and effort. These networks will do the legwork for you. The rate of commission varies depending on the company and the location.
Think of celebrities endorsing your product. This is how influencer marketing works before but it has shifted into a different landscape. A normal person could be an influencer granted that he/she has a good number of followers. For a small business owner with a limited budget, no need to reach out to celebrities. You can tap on the influence of your local personalities and ask them to post your product on their online accounts. If they have a highly engaged audience, their strong influence could equate to your products being sold.
Start Your Podcast
Edison Research pointed out that the rate of podcast listeners continues to grow over the years. eMarketer’s research mentioned that in terms of brand loyalty and engagement, podcast audiences showed a higher percentage compared to other forms of audio formats. This is one way of making your product stand out while engaging with your audience.
This is a way of reaching out to your customers by sending out newsletters, online discount coupons, and other promotional materials via their email addresses. Email marketing is made possible because your customers opted to subscribe and be part of your mailing list. These are engaged customers and the challenge is to keep them from unsubscribing. The goal of email marketing is not just to send updates but to make sure that the mailing list keeps growing over time. With email marketing, the audience is kept informed of what’s happening in your business and the things they can look forward to. It could be upcoming sales, coupons or discounts to be given away, and other exciting news that will keep them engaged.
Search Engine Marketing
With search engine marketing, your business gets to be on the high places of a search result. If you are a bakery owner you would want to be on the top list when someone types in bread on the search engine. This is where search engine optimization, internal link building, keyword result and volume, and other variables come in. Search engine marketing is tricky and learning about it while running your business could lose you some valuable time. You may want to work with companies that specialize in search engine marketing.
What are the benefits of digital marketing?
There are plenty of reasons why a small business owner should invest in online marketing. Remember that you are just starting and your customers are still small, online marketing is a door that allows you to reach and capture a range of audiences across different locations. Below are just some of the reasons which might help convince you why it is important to mix digital marketing into your strategy.
To understand your audience better
If you can understand your audience, you will know what they need and how to provide it. With digital marketing, you can engage with your customers by asking them questions or letting them answer some surveys. If you have a social media account such as Facebook, you can check the comment section and see what your customers are saying about your product or services. If there is negative feedback, you can also address it right away to protect the credibility of your company. If your website has a blog, you can also check the comment section to see if your readers have anything to say about your article. The great thing about having online communication is that you can engage with your customers despite their distance and understand their perspectives. This is a great way of building a rapport with your customer and getting those loyal buyers for your company.
Spend Less but Reaching More
If you are just starting your business, you don’t want to be spending too much on your marketing. You can use digital marketing to get the word out. You don’t have to spend a lot on some of the marketing strategies mentioned above. If you are into email marketing, you can create a newsletter from websites such as Canva which offers free templates for newsletters. For social media marketing, you can start with your circle of friends and family before running any sponsored ads. For influencers, you can start with your network and check the people who have wide connections.
Get to know your competitors
Yes, with digital marketing you can also learn more about your competitors. You don’t have to copy exactly what your competitors are doing but rather take inspiration from their strategy and create your own. Your competitors who have an online presence will provide you an idea of how they are reaching their customers, what platforms are they using to engage with their customers, what type of promotions they are investing into, and other valuable insights.
Monitor Your Progress of Strategy
The great thing about digital marketing is the data that you can generate from this strategy. For example, if you opt to run sponsored ads on Facebook to promote your new product, you can easily generate data from the platform to learn more about your audience. Are there more males engaging in the advertisement than females? How old are the audience and where are they located? Information such as this is crucial so you can make the necessary adjustment to capture the right audience.
If you are a small business owner, remember to identify your brand’s identity and your buyer’s persona first before getting into any form of online marketing. Make sure that your logo and other marketing collateral are also aligned to the brand you are trying to build. Digital marketing could be very beneficial to any business but take time to do your research and study which type is ideal for what you want to achieve for your business.