The heart of any good marketing strategy is to go where your customers are, and today that means having an effective online presence. The world wide web has brought about a fundamental shift in the way the public shops for products and services, and people are increasingly turning to the internet and social media to research their purchases before they pull the trigger.
Major corporations understand this, and rely on their digital marketing divisions to build their brands, mobilize their customer base, and increase their market share. But, digital marketing isn’t the sole province of big businesses with deep pockets.
The internet has leveled the playing field, and small business owners can take advantage of digital marketing techniques to go toe to toe with their major competitors. Unfortunately, too many small business owners fail to see what this inbound marketing can do for them, and how it can help to grow their company and make it prosperous.
Digital Marketing – Are You Missing Out?
If you think digital marketing has nothing to offer your small business, think again. At last estimate, more than 60% of all online shoppers began their transaction with a general search. That means they were unclaimed customers who were open to finding new businesses offering the product or service they needed.
But, it’s not just online shoppers that are up for grabs. Recent statistics show that more than 81% of all shoppers research a product or service online before making a purchase, whether that purchase is online or at a brick and mortar establishment.
That’s a large pool of potential customers and clients you may be missing out on if you fail to have an internet marketing strategy. If that’s not enough to pique your interest, let’s look at what else internet marketing can do for your small business.
What are some examples of digital marketing channels?
Reaching More People
Digital marketing makes it possible for your business to reach more potential customers, and your reach is only limited by your ambitions. A local mom and pop restaurant, for example, can use the internet to promote their business using local SEO strategies, and build their reputation as the best eatery in town. Driving customers to their doors through mobile searches and online reviews.
Retailers can use an inbound marketing campaigns to reach beyond the barriers of distance to service customers around the country, and even globally. Digital marketing can be used to broaden your target market, making your brand recognizable to more potential customers.
But digital marketing isn’t just about increasing your customer base, it’s also about building long term relationships with those customers, using techniques such as social media marketing. Client retention is one of the keys to growth, and inbound marketing is a vital component. It can start with something as simple as a confirmation email after a purchase, and extend to building an online community through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
You can use email marketing to offer customers special discounts, and encourage them to leave product reviews on your website. You can create an entertaining and informative blog that gets customers to revisit your website (even when not making a purchase), and encourages them to share your content and your brand with others, increasing your pool of potential customers yet again.
Leveraging Social Media Even Further
Social media has become an increasing important part of any successful marketing strategy, especially when social signals are used with SEO. It provides a unique opportunity for small business to increase their online visibility, establish their brand, and drive traffic to a primary website where leads can be converted to customers. A recent study by the Harvard School of Business found that consumers were highly influenced by social media, and that businesses with a social media presence saw an average increase in sales of 5%.
Targeting Your Audience and Your Advertisements
A large part of digital marketing is data collection and research. You know what your customers are buying, how often they are making purchases, and what areas of your website they visit most often. This data can be used to personalize the customer’s web experience, keeping the products and services they are interested foremost in their minds and allowing you to make actionable suggests as to future purchases.
The same data can be used to help you target advertisements to specific customers, offering up products and services that you know they are already primed to purchase. This makes your paid advertising more effective, and gives you a better return on your advertising dollar.
Digital marketing isn’t just for big businesses and large corporations. It is a cost effective way for small business owners to build brand recognition, increase their customer base, and improve sales over all. Like any marketing strategy, it takes time and constant attention to see results. But, digital marketing can be a real asset for small businesses, and the return on the investment can be substantial.