With the rapid rise of digital marketing as a successful strategy to grow your business, you may be missing a trick as a small business if you don't have a website or aren't posting, tweeting or blogging.
Most businesses have some kind of digital presence today but statistics state that around 49% of businesses don't have a clearly defined digital marketing strategy and 37% have no plans to. (Source: www.smartinsights.com)
We explain why digital marketing is especially great for small businesses and why you really need to be doing it.
Digital marketing is far more accessible to the small business owner than other traditional methods been.
Having a good, engaging website is a must for any business as it is your "always open shop front" and digital hub. With so many great creative and digital agencies, you can get an impressive online presence to cater for all your digital marketing needs at a reasonable cost. Don't scrimp on this element though as it will tie all your marketing efforts together and set you up as a quality online presence from which you have a platform to create and share content.
A well-made website will allow you to make updates for your search engine optimisation, a key part of your digital marketing strategy. If you're not being found, you not reaching people, so you need to make sure that your website uses the same language that potential visitor's do when searching for your service or product. This will change and evolve so it's key to be able to keep this updated on your website.
Social media is one of most accessible platforms for you to access with not even a cost associated to set up. Creating business profiles on the most popular platforms is often quick and simple. There is plenty of online guidance to help, but the principles for all the same:
- Use good, clear images for your profile and header images
- Explain your business concisely and clearly
- Create posts that engage with your target audience, solve your user's problems as well as advertise your business
The cost of digital marketing can be lower than other offline mediums. Social media platforms are free to set up and when you move to paid advertising you can start by setting low-level budgets.
With the sheer volume of social media users, marketing on these platforms means you have the potential to reach a vast audience with not much outlay. Using Facebook Advertising to target your audience is a great way to start. With a small budget, you can run ads capped at a certain amount so you are completely in control of your spend. You can test your ads and scale up on the ones that are working when the budget allows.
Free to use email platforms, mean that email marketing, still a very popular and successful approach, can be done for next to nothing. With research showing that email has a median return on investment of 122%—more than four times higher than other marketing formats, including social media, direct mail and paid search. (Source: www.emarketer.com), using a platform, with an eye-catching template and content can really bring value to your business.
Whilst traditional marketing methods often cast a wide net with messaging, digital marketing allows you to communicate with the exact people that want or need your product or service.
Being in the digital domain provides a huge amount of tracking and analytics so you can gather some great metrics about how your target audience behaves, what their interests are and what they consume online. You can quickly establish if they are visiting your website and engaging with your content, and if not you can adjust to meet their needs.
Appealing to a more defined audience enables you to reach people that are far more likely to convert into paying customers. Your paid targeted adverts work in exactly the same way making your investment far more likely to bring returns.
Digital marketing is easy to scale as your requirements change and your available budget grows.
You can increase your advertising spend, the platforms you choose, the content you produce. You can commission high-quality videos or creative infographics. Your digital marketing campaigns can scale to be as big as your imagination and not always with an equal increase in costs.
Digital marketing allows you to test your approaches. Most systems allow you to A/B test a piece of content or email. A/B testing is where you have more than one version of the same content with a slight difference in each, maybe the call to action button changes position or the language used is different.
These different versions are served up to your audience and from the interaction and engagement with the page or email you can narrow down on what really is effective and maximise on them.
Marketing staff do have to sleep, whereas your website and online presence is working for you all the time.
A well designed, engaging website is showing off your products and services 14/7 not just when you physical shop or office is open. It doesn't shut for holidays and as long as you have good contact forms, means people can post a question or query to you as and when they think about it. It doesn't mean you need to provide an in-depth reply straight, but making sure you have some kind of automated response to set expectations means you've already started engaging with your prospect.
With digital marketing, you can measure engagement and even track return on investment, far more easily than perhaps a magazine or radio advert.
Google Analytics can supply some really insightful data about your website and who is using it. You can also create goals to measure when your visitors complete a certain action, so you can get a great understanding of what is appealing to your audience.
With Hubspot, we have tracking code on every page of website and forms that put customer data straight into our secure CRM. This gives us a real insight to what content (not just website, but social media too) is generating engagement. When that engagement turns to a paying client, we can track it right back to the very first interaction so we have a real picture of our buyer's journey through our sales process.
So what's the catch?
Time. Digital marketing does take time and effort and it's so easy when you get busy making money to put it off. But delaying the creation of that piece of content or to not replying to posts when you usually would, will start to affect your popularity.
Digital marketing isn't always instant, so neglecting it and picking it back up when you suddenly have no sales, may not bring the quick wins back to your door.
The best way to allow for the time needed is to create a simple strategy and allow time in your schedule to stick to it. If you really don't have the time, don't let things slip, get help so you don't undo all that hard work and effort.
Here at Carbon Pixel our digital marketing service offers as much help and support as you need to keep things on track for you.
So if you need pointing in the right direction or it's got a bit too much effort for you, please don't hesitate to give us a shout to see how we can help you on firstname.lastname@example.org.