By Elin Enrooth
As a business owner, you understand that businesses must spend money in order to make money. However, many business owners make a huge mistake when it comes to spending money- they don’t account for digital costs. As you may have heard by now, your website is your digital storefront. For many customers, it’s the first point of contact. You could spend a ton of money on the appearance of your store or office, but it won’t mean anything if your digital presence doesn’t match.
There was a time when the most valuable marketing you could do for your business was to run print and TV ads. This provided a large audience and also cost a ton. Now, the most valuable tool you can take advantage of is digital marketing. Along with other benefits, digital marketing is both cheaper and more effective than traditional marketing.
As a small business, it is more crucial than ever to ensure that your marketing strategy evolves with the times. Everything and everyone has gone digital, which means if you don’t cater to this tech-savvy audience, you’re going to fall behind your competitors and lose potential business.
This doesn’t mean that you have to throw out the traditional print ads, especially if you’re seeing success from them. It’s merely a matter of learning how to make traditional and digital marketing work hand-in-hand.
There’s no question that an enormous amount of the population is online today, whether it’s through a smartphone, tablet, desktop device or a combination of all three. Today’s consumers are moving toward digital for all stages of the consumer journey; whether they’re researching products or making purchases.
This means that having a digital presence is the difference between earning business and being invisible to online consumers. Your business needs exposure to find customers, and the online market is the best way to make it happen. If your business is difficult to find online, or not online at all, you risk missing out on all of the users searching for the services and products you provide. In the end, customers will end up purchasing from a company that has a strong online presence, causing you to lose out on that sale.
Digital marketing allows you to meet customers where they already are online. This makes finding and reaching your target audience easier than ever before.
While traditional marketing is successful at reaching large audiences in specific geographic areas, digital marketing provides new opportunities to reach hyper-specific audiences. This will help control your budget as you will only spend money on the people that want what you have.
Online advertisers have access to demographic and psychographic information about their users. This information can be used to build a custom audience. Want to reach people interested in purchasing a home in the new future? You can build an audience for that.
Digital tools also allow businesses to interact with their customers. By engaging with user conversations, responding to reviews, and answering questions, business owners can eliminate the guesswork in finding out who your customers really are and how your product or service can enhance their experience.
The diversity of digital marketing means that you can be in front of your target audience at any point during the consumer journey whether it’s through remarketing, email, text, or social media.
Businesses with a strong digital presence are able to establish authority and credibility with their customers online. A digital presence gives your business a platform to comment on issues and controversies that relate to your products or industry. Through a blog, social media account, reviews or any other form of online content, you can establish yourself as a trusted, authoritative expert on such topics.
If you are seen as an expert in your industry, users will trust you and your business.
When you want to learn more about a business, where’s the first place you go? Chances are your answer was one of the following: search engines, social media, website, reviews or ratings. However, if you can’t find that business after a quick search, you may start to doubt the business’ legitimacy. Why trust that business? If a user can’t find you online, they’ll lose interest quickly.
If you want to remain competitive, you must keep up with your competitors. There's a good chance that many of them already have a digital presence. If your competitors are easier to find online, you won’t be found at all. Users can’t choose your business if they don’t know about it. In this case, your competitors will get the business regardless of whether they have an effective website or message.
For your business to be successful, you need to pay attention to what your competitors are doing. This will give you a good idea of what is working and what isn’t.
If you don’t work to integrate digital tactics into your company’s strategy, there’s a good chance you'll get left behind.
Few forms of advertising are as cost-effective as digital marketing. Unlike traditional tactics, such as billboards and TV spots, businesses don’t need to spend the big bucks to reach their target.
Businesses can reach a larger audience through email, social media and SEO-driven content at only a fraction of the price that it costs to distribute print ads or place ads on radio or TV.
Business owners can better optimize their marketing budget by implementing affordable digital tactics for some campaigns, while allocating remaining funds to campaigns that require traditional marketing. In the end, this helps businesses get the most out of their budget.
If you have limited resources, spending money to advertise traditionally just doesn’t make sense. Even the need to print flyers for your business is expensive. Small businesses can find digital channels that produce higher returns and don’t cost as much.
Not only are digital strategies more affordable, but they often offer a higher return on investment (ROI). Highly-targeted ads are more likely to reach the correct audience, and therefore are more successful at generating promising leads. More leads mean higher revenue.
While traditional marketing only involves one-way communication with the consumer, digital marketing allows for two-way communication in real time.
Digital marketing lets you communicate directly with the customers who see your content, whether it’s through messages, reviews or social posts.
To make sure that you stay on top of these conversations, it’s good practice to monitor your digital advertising and social sites. This allows you to solve problems, answer questions, and manage crises quickly before they escalate.
Participating in online conversations also allows companies to learn its customers’ wants and needs. By understanding the customer, brands can work to provide a more personalized experience and develop products and services that meet their needs.
When it comes to personalization, product recommendations are the best way to encourage repeat sales. With the amount of data available through digital marketing, businesses can provide personalized recommendations based on past purchases or browsing behavior.
Digital marketing offers much more accurate targeting than traditional advertising, taking the guesswork out of tracking campaign success. Through the website or analytics platform, you will have immediate access to user data and campaign metrics. Along with impressions and engagement, you can use data like referral paths to monitor which ads and types of content your customers saw before they made a purchase. This can help you determine which marketing methods are most effective, so that you don’t waste money on ineffective strategies.
These measurements are available in real-time, so users can test different ad content to see what resonates best with their target audience and make improvements as necessary. With most traditional methods of advertising, it often takes months to analyze how an advertising campaign performed.
It isn’t uncommon for a business owner to believe that they don’t have the time or the money to be competitive online. As you can see, digital marketing is crucial in the survival of today's businesses. You need to expose your brand to a bigger audience if you want your business to grow.
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