Small businesses, especially new ones, often make a crucial mistake. They put off investing in digital marketing.
While this decision may make sense on a superficial level, due to cost or lack of familiarity with the medium, it can have long-term negative consequences. Put simply, you’ll lag behind the competition and lose valuable time while your business is still growing. At this stage, the influx of new customers is vital, not only because to keep the business afloat, but also because you need additional funds for investments and to ensure the long-term viability of the whole venture.
Did that get your attention? Good. Read on to find out what are the benefits of digital marketing for small businesses.
You get to shape your brand image
This is an important factor as you get to direct how you’re perceived from the very beginning. Word of mouth will spread more easily and you’ll be able to solidify your brand image before someone else does it for you. Contrary to the popular adage, all publicity is not good publicity. Even if it’s positive, it’s beneficial to have a hand in shaping it.
Getting this early start will also allow you to learn a thing or two about how your customers respond to you online. This means you’ll be able to course-correct before your reputation spreads too much. Finally, by interacting with prospective customers in the early stages you’ll build customer loyalty and encourage them to be your brand ambassadors.
This brings us to the second point:
Your customers are online
Yes. No matter your market or target demographic, your customers are online. If not your primary customers then your secondary audience, i.e. people making purchasing decisions for your primary customers.
In fact, they may already be looking for a business like yours, and if they can’t find yours, they’ll find something else. People expect to find things they’re interested in online, whether it’s via social media, webpages, or online reviews. Make sure your content is on point and that it’s been optimized for search engines.
Additionally, digital presence and digital word of mouth (reviews, social media posts, etc.) lend an air of legitimacy to a business. If your prospective customers can’t find out anything about you while doing research, they may very well conclude that your business simply isn’t worth the effort. And once they’ve made that decision, they’re unlikely to reexamine it. They’ve probably found your competitors and started building a relationship with their brands.
Your competitors are online
Perhaps not all of them, but enough. And they’re picking up all the customers you’ve missed out on and building their own reputation in the online world. This, however, isn’t the only factor.
You can use their online presence and behavior to get some ideas about how to implement digital marketing for your small business. We don’t mean that they’ll be willing to show you the ropes, they probably won’t. It’s both simpler and more complicated than that. You have to pay attention to what they’re doing.
By studying your competitors, you can learn from them. Learn from both their successes and failures. Check what kind of content they’re using. Is it blog posts, social media shares, videos, something else, all of the above? What channels are they focused on, and how is it working out for them.
However, just because something isn’t working out for them, don’t assume it won’t work for you. Try to understand why some aspects of their digital marketing strategy aren’t working, see if you can fix them, and then capitalize on it. After all, there’s clearly a gap they’re not exploiting. Make use of it. The reverse is true as well. Don’t just look at what’s working. Make sure you understand the why as well.
Once you understand this:
You’ll be able to compete even with larger companies
Just because your competitors are online and are implementing some form of digital marketing, doesn’t mean they’re doing it well. As we mentioned above, there may be gaps in their strategy you can turn to your advantage. In addition, people love an underdog story. Position yourself as a new business bringing fresh ideas to the table and you should have no trouble getting attention.
A well-executed digital marketing strategy allows you to compete with older and more established companies. Just make sure you actually are bringing something new to the table. Provide genuine value and connect with your customers. If you’re all talk… any gains will only be temporary.
As you can see, even small businesses can benefit from digital marketing. Arguably, they need it even more than bigger and more established companies.
The whole world is online and you really can’t afford to have a digital presence and to invest in some form of online promotion. If the whole process sounds daunting and you don’t know where to start, EBS Marketing can help you develop a digital strategy with marketing packages for small businesses.
We have plenty of experience in helping businesses of all sizes find their feet in the digital world, so don’t hesitate to get in touch.