Does digital marketing matter for small businesses?

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(This article was originally published by HubSpot.com and has been edited for content and style.)

Many small businesses don’t think they “do marketing,” or need to “do marketing.” In fact, around 37% of small businesses in a survey of 500 small businesses don’t have a website to market their products and services. The basis for this line of argument for many of them is that they’re too busy trying to get customers through the door to be bothered about “fancy marketing.”

However, marketing is a more effortless and surer way to bring in the business they want. They believe that customers would inevitably find their way to them since they have a great product or service. But, unfortunately, although this strategy might bring some customers (after all, who doesn’t love great products and service?), its results pale compared to what they’ll get if they use digital marketing.

small businesses

The global pandemic and measures to curb its effects have changed the business and retail landscape. Many people have integrated online reviews and searching online into their decision to purchase a product or service. This reveals just how much digital marketing helps small businesses and why it’s in their benefit to take advantage of this new situation.

The market out there is simply too big and important to be ignored. According to the Global Overview Report, more than 4.6 billion people worldwide use the internet, and 46.3% of them use the internet to research products and brands.

Why digital marketing is important for small businesses

Relying solely on traditional marketing methods will not achieve the desired results, so small businesses should adopt digital marketing.

With so many people connected to the internet, online searches have increased in volume and frequency over the past year. Seventy nine percent of consumers currently use the internet to find information about local businesses and a digital marketing strategy makes it possible to be found easily by searchers.

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Another reason why digital marketing is excellent for small businesses is that it can turn customers into brand ambassadors. Using digital testimonials can complement the “word of mouth” way of marketing and since 89% of consumers read reviews before buying products, integrating such testimonials is a no-brainer.

Digital marketing also widens your reach. By using a multi-channel approach, you can increase conversions and reach potential customers where they are. Social media is a gem, with 4.2 billion people using it. So, by tailoring your message on the different channels you can boost your reach over time.

Here are some examples of how digital marketing can help you build your business:

  • It increases your reach
    • Considering that people today are spending more time than ever before in front of their screen. Digital marketing offers small businesses a great chance to reach new audiences.
    • Small businesses can use either organic or paid digital efforts to reach these new audiences.
  • You can target your audience at the right time
    • Most digital marketing channels have personalization and segmentation features that allow you to reach your audience with the right message at the right time. For instance, you can send limited-time offers to subscribers on your email list, or run Twitter ads during specific holidays.
  • It improves communication at all stages of the buying process
    • People rarely go straight from being unaware of your brand to being a customer. There’s typically a buying process they go through and digital marketing channels help you guide your audience through this process. For instance, you can create valuable content that answers questions your audience might have with your blog.
    • You can use social media to drive conversations and engagement among your audience.
  • It’s cost effective
    • Compared to traditional marketing, digital marketing offers a low-cost method to reach your audience. Sometimes, with channels like social media and email marketing, you might not even have to pay to market your products and services to potential customers.
  • It’s easy to track and monitor
    • Most digital channels come with analytics that help you quickly identify what elements work within your marketing strategy.
    • Once you identify an under-performing area of your strategy, you can quickly switch things up and monitor how well the new elements are working.
  • Marketing allows you to know customers better
    • Before starting your business, you may not know who your ideal customer is. However, marketing helps you get to know this ideal customer better.
    • How they interact with your campaigns and marketing messages helps you identify what’s important to them and how you can connect with them better.
  • It let’s the customer come to you
    • Consistently creating valuable content for your audience helps you build authority and subject matter expertise (SME) in your industry. When people have problems concerning the topics you talk about, it’s easy for them to turn to you.
  • Increase your revenue
    • Assuming your conversion rates are constant, it goes without saying that you’ll make more money if you reach more people—and that’s exactly what digital marketing helps you do.
    • Using social media, a website, email marketing and more, you’ll have more avenues to reach more people through at a marginal cost difference than you would if you used traditional or in-person marketing methods.

Use digital marketing for small businesses

Digital marketing can have a huge, positive effect on your business. Developing a marketing strategy might take some time, but it’s time well worth it. No business, big or small, new or old, should overlook the opportunity to generate leads and improve conversions that digital marketing offers.

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