Marketing and advertising were once dominated by traditional media — print, billboards, you know, everything you’ll find in an episode of Mad Men. But in today’s business world, digital marketing is a powerhouse phasing out the vast majority of traditional marketing media – and for good reason.
We’re all aware of Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn — the social giants, you get it. Google and Amazon are now common household names. Heck, for some people these brands even control the lights in your house and what time your robot vacuum is scheduled to clean.
If all of these things have one crucial thing in common, it’s that they’re vital tools and resources for businesses and consumers of all shapes and sizes. This is advantageous for companies, organizations, and nonprofits, both online and offline, but what about small businesses? And more importantly, why is digital marketing so important for your small business?
Let’s dissect all the buzz behind digital marketing and explore why it’s so critical for the success, growth, and management of your small business.
Digital marketing increases and improves the ability for small businesses to interact with customers
In the digital marketing world, we commonly refer to customer and audience interactions as “touchpoints.”
It’s said that a consumer needs a minimum of five to seven touchpoints to confidently make a purchase, and that number increases when buying online.
Think about that for a second.
Your potential customers need a minimum of five to seven interactions with your business before they have the confidence to reach out, connect, and purchase from you.
Now, imagine being able to granularly control those interactions – the message they see, the photos they view, the promotions/special offers available, the image your company or brand conveys and so much more.
With a strong digital marketing plan and effective use of digital media, this is entirely possible and puts you in control of your next customer’s first impressions of your business.
Digital marketing through content enables small businesses to prove their insight, knowledge, and become local leaders in their niche industries
This goes without saying, but isn’t it nice to purchase from a company that you’re fully confident in, and are absolutely certain they know what they’re doing?
In the digital world, this is called “thought leadership.” Thought leaders are informed opinion leaders and the go-to people in their field of expertise.
As a thought leader, you’re recognized as an expert in your field. This instills your customers’ confidence in your company, and even if they’re not actively in-market for your product or service when the time comes that they are, you’re going to be the one they go to because you’re the one they trust the most.
Digital marketing is more insightful, cost-effective, and predictable than traditional marketing
Contrary to traditional marketing tactics, going digital provides a whole new arsenal of information that’s granularly detailed, relative to your location(s) and industries, and budgetarily predictable.
This means that before you even invest, you’re able to craft a well-informed digital marketing strategy that’s unique to your target audience and specific to your business goals and budget.
A great example of this uses Google’s Keyword Planner, which allows you to forecast the popularity of specific keyword searches based on your location setting, and provides a cost, click, conversion, and revenue prediction.
Simply put, it tells you that if you invest in search traffic for the term “Thai restaurants near me,” it will cost you $300 for the week but you’ll sell $1600 worth of food, with an ROI of 5.3:1. Basically, for every $1 you spend, you’ll make $5.30 – hard to argue with that, isn’t it?
The data you collect stretches the value of your dollars spent
The data and insights you gather from your digital marketing efforts are worth the money alone. The granularity of digital marketing data enables you to create audiences to continue to market to, to segment and diversify audiences and allows you to tweak and improve all of your digital marketing efforts, from your website design, layout, and copy, to the topics you discuss on your social media channels.
The ability to learn from your efforts and continually optimize your approach allows for smarter decision making and a clearer determination of what’s working, what’s not, what to invest more into, and what to cut.
Digital marketing works for any budget, anywhere, at the right time
One of the things that small businesses can appreciate the most about digital marketing is the ability to utilize many different digital marketing strategies, platforms, and tools for any budget. Additionally, the flexibility and versatility of digital platforms allow for small businesses to connect with their customers anywhere, any time.
Invest in marketing that provides the best results
For small businesses, it makes the most sense to put your best foot forward to grow your business with the least amount of risk possible. Fortunately, statistics prove that digital marketing channels have significantly cheaper Cost-per-Lead (CPL) and Cost-per-Acquisition (CPA) than traditional marketing efforts.
Interact with your customers where they spend their time
A key factor in connecting with your customers, both current and prospective, is the ability to interact with them where they spend most of their time, in a media they enjoy consuming. What this translates into is a cheaper, more effective way to connect with new and existing customers that mitigates the barriers to purchase.
It’s safe to say that if your small business is still stuck in the stone age of marketing, and you’re wondering why business growth has stalled, investing in digital marketing is a great step towards scaling your company.