Small business owners understand the value of marketing. They know it is important to promote their business’ products and services in order to gain traction for their business. However, given their status as a small-scale enterprise, they are constrained by limited resources and tight capital. A marketing campaign will entail costs but it is an investment, not an expense. You should expect a return on your marketing efforts. For small businesses, investing in a digital marketing strategy is the best option because it will give you the highest ROI.
Digital Marketing Vs. Traditional Marketing
Many entrepreneurs are hesitant to invest in marketing because they are not convinced of the ROI. A lot of the prevailing fears come from their experiences with traditional marketing methods. Examples of traditional marketing methods include distribution of flyers, installation of posters and streamers, and publication of press releases.
From the outset, traditional marketing seems like a good idea. It has been an accepted practice for decades. The number of marketing collaterals can be managed and therefore, allow you to stay within budget.
However, traditional marketing methods have been proven ineffective and inefficient. Distributing flyers is a random act; there is no thought and purpose on whom to give the material to.
The same can be said for the use of posters, streamers, and press releases. How sure are you that the people who come across your traditional marketing collaterals are potential end-users? And what happens to all of the collaterals that you printed out?
Once the campaign is over, they will end up as recyclable materials inside trash receptacles. That is money that is literally wasted.
Finally, it is hard to measure results with traditional marketing. This leads to higher marketing expenses because the small business owner cannot quantify the results of his/her efforts. He/she will keep printing and distributing until acceptable returns are generated. It becomes a vicious cycle of printing, posting, and disposing of.
Those shortcomings are not found in Digital Marketing. It has all the strengths – and more – of traditional marketing without its weaknesses.
Why Small Businesses Need to Invest in A Digital Marketing Strategy
It’s a digital world that we live in. There is more than a 65% chance that you are reading this article from a mobile device, most likely your smartphone.
Digital technology has made life and works easier and more convenient. The evolution of mobile technology has taken the benefits of digital to a whole new different level.
For the consumer, digital technology has made information more accessible. The Internet is home to over 1 billion websites. Although only a small majority are active, these websites nonetheless function as valuable resources of information.
Search is the number one activity on the Internet. Every day people are constantly searching for information that covers a need or interest. Now that mobile technology has grown to a point that it accounts for 65% of online traffic, information can be had in the palm of a consumer’s hand.
Likewise, for business owners, digital technology has made the consumer more accessible. The Internet has become a two-way street. A consumer who needs your products and services can find you online through a variety of avenues. He/she can perform a search, visit your social media page, or look for your business in an online search directory.
But why wait for the customer to find you when you can reach out and find him/her?
This is why small business owners should invest in digital marketing. It creates avenues for you to be found and to find your own customers.
Here are 5 reasons why you should invest in a digital marketing strategy for your small business:
1. The Internet Will Continue to Grow
There is a direct correlation between the growth of the world’s population and the Internet. In 1995, only 16 million people had access to the Internet. This number represented 4% of the world’s population.
Fast- forward to today, and there are 4 billion people online every day. That number accounts for 53% of the world’s population. It is estimated that by 2021, there will be more than 4.6 billion using the Internet on a daily basis.
As the world grows in number, the Internet expands its coverage. More and more countries are opening up their infrastructure to make the Internet accessible to their people.
What do these figures mean?
These figures mean your customers are online. By not having a website, you will not be able to capitalize on the opportunities available on the Internet. If you do not have an online presence, you will be undermining your prospects for growth.
As we mentioned earlier, search is the number one online activity. When a person runs a query, the search engine will present a list of websites on the Search Results Page.
How can your business get found if you don’t have a website?
And it’s not enough to have a website. You must have a mobile-responsive website or one that can be viewed on mobile devices.
We discussed the role of the website in our article, “Why Your Website Needs Responsive Design”. It is the first step in developing an effective digital marketing strategy.
If you don’t have one for your business, it is not too late. Give us a call or an email and we’ll get you started right away.
2. Allows You to Optimize Your Budget
Digital Marketing is not only more effective than traditional marketing. It is also more efficient. Instead of randomly distributing collaterals for everyone and anyone to see, you are selectively targeting the recipients of your content.
A targeted or focused marketing approach allows you to optimize your budget. You create content with more thought and purpose. Your blogs, articles, and other types of content such as videos and infographics are intended to provide information that is relevant to the needs of your market.
People who like your content; those who find great value in it, will follow you. They will click on your website and find out more about your business; its products and services.
You don’t have to do everything in one go. You have a Digital Marketing schedule that you can use to plan your content distribution strategy. The schedule is designed according to your budget.
For example, you can start out publishing 4 blogs a month. Once you’ve gained 20% more followers, you can increase the production schedule to 6 blogs per month. As your efforts continue to generate better results, you can slowly scale up your content creation schedule.
3. Consumers’ Behaviors Have Changed
For the reason that the Internet has made information more accessible, consumers are more discerning about the businesses they decide to patronize. A good example is online reviews. People tend to read online reviews before buying a product:
- 90% of potential buyers read online reviews before visiting a business.
- Online reviews have the ability to influence 67.7% of buying decisions.
- 84% of consumers report that they trust online reviews in the same way they trust a personal recommendation.
- Today’s consumers take the time to conduct research before buying a product. They will take advantage of the various tools provided by the Internet to learn more about a product before buying it.
- Other than online reviews, consumers look to the following sources to do their research:
- Social Media
- Online Search Engine Directories
- Chat Forums
If you don’t have an online presence, your business will never get found by prospective customers. No one will know if your product is good. Having an online review is like word-of-mouth. The difference is that word about your business will go around much faster and travel farther distances.
4. Keeps Your Business Running 24/7
Your website is your storefront window on the Internet. Unlike a brick- and- mortar store, it does not close. Your website is open 24/7.
Potential buyers and clients from all over the world can enter your website, view its contents, and read about your products and services. The content that you have on social media, community blog sites, online reviews, search engine directories can likewise be seen and read by Internet users.
With a website, you will never miss out on opportunities.
For example, you can set up a customer service team composed of remote workers or telecommuters. Whenever you receive inquiries about your products or complaints, your customer service team will be able to attend to them right away.
If you have social media pages, your customer service team can respond right away to comments from your followers. At the same time, they can moderate your social media pages and remove irrelevant content such as affiliate marketing links and inappropriate comments.
Fast and efficient customer service will help you acquire new clients and maintain existing ones. It shows that you care about your end-users.
5. Track Your Performance and Measure Results in Real Time
The availability of online analytics is the game-changer for Digital Marketing. With online analytics, you track the performance of your Digital Marketing campaign. You can measure results in real time.
Analytics will help you pinpoint the strengths and weaknesses of your current Digital Marketing strategy. It will give you a snapshot of where your audience comes from and the types of content that interest them.
You have empirical evidence that will show you which processes, tools, or techniques are generating acceptable RPI. Therefore, with analytics, you have a solid basis for making calculated decisions on which processes you should allocate more resources to.
Having the ability to evaluate the performance of your campaign is another reason why Digital Marketing allows you to better optimize your budget.
Conclusion: Why Businesses Hesitate to Invest in Digital Marketing
Like all small business owners, you must have thought about investing in a digital marketing strategy.
You know consumers are always connected to the Internet. You are aware that consumers and businesses, including your competitors, are becoming increasingly dependent on mobile technology to make decisions that pertain to life and work.
However, doubts and fears exist:
- “How do I start a digital marketing strategy?”
- “How much will it cost me to maintain a digital marketing strategy? My funds are very tight.”
- “Who will manage my company’s digital marketing strategy? I don’t have the time, experience, and expertise.”
- “What are the risks of a digital marketing strategy and how do I mitigate them? I’ve read stories of businesses being duped by the agency.”
- “What is my expected ROI on my digital marketing strategy if at all?’
As a digital marketing agency, we find these doubts reasonable. We know where the small business owners are coming from because our own clients have posed similar questions to us.
Small business owners have a lot on their plate especially when they are starting out. They have to manage their funds really well. For this reason, marketing gets pushed on the wayside.
By investing in a Digital Marketing strategy, you can put these fears and doubts to rest.
If you want to learn more about Digital Marketing and how you can apply it to your business, get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org or +254 725 544 155 with us.
We’ll schedule you for a free 30-minute presentation