If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?
Funny enough, this famous phrase could undoubtedly be applied to the daily frustration of marketing a company. If you're not making any noise, then no one will know you exist, and your business will probably struggle.
That's why digital marketing strategies are so valuable for small businesses. Digital marketing is a critical part of a business marketing mix. It encompasses advertising, direct-to-consumer outreach on non-traditional digital channels and platforms, and even involves web design and mobile app development.
Tactics may include marketing campaigns and advertising, such as PPC (Pay Per Click) or display advertising, on search engines like Google and Bing or social media platforms like Facebook, mobile phone messaging, email marketing, geofencing, and more. Simply put, you need to be leveraging the latest technologies to reach new customers and 'make some noise.'
Small businesses, even those with 100 or more employees, may find it difficult to justify the costs of hiring a full-time marketing director. Digital marketing presents companies with a variety of tools to target their desired audience and update their strategies in real-time without needing additional time and resources.
Here are a few more reasons why digital marketing is essential for small businesses:
Your local coffee shop does not have nearly the same resources or business needs as Starbucks. It's essential for small businesses to get the most bang for their buck and avoid paying for unnecessary bells and whistles.
Digital tools are useful precisely because they can be customized to fit a business’ needs. For example, popular Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform MailChimp offers basic email marketing services that are free of charge. Small businesses need not use the more advanced add-on tools available in a higher-priced subscription plans. Facebook and Google offer sophisticated targeting tools for precise outreach to potential customers.
It establishes credibility for your business.
Studies show that approximately eight out of every ten consumers use search engines for purchase decisions. A website creates an online presence and lets the world know you're open for business. Conversely, not having an online presence signals that you're no longer in business, or you have no real interest in conducting business.
There are credible reasons for perhaps a handful of companies in the world not to have a website. Chances are, they don't apply to your business. Some companies prefer to build a simple landing page, and focus all their resources on social media marketing instead.
Not every small business is operating on a shoestring budget. Many hire full-time marketing and communications staff, and they have annual budgets that allow for hiring outside agencies and consultants. In that sense, digital marketing tools are even more vital for small businesses competing against other industry heavyweights.
Every dollar must be spent wisely to reach potential new customers. Those concerns, therefore, eliminate many traditional marketing tactics that are simply out of reach. Traditional media advertising can be misleading in its effectiveness and can be overly expensive.
Circulation and UVM can be inflated, and there's no way to filter, identify, and engage with quality new business leads. For a smaller budget, businesses can reach hyper-targeted audiences with proven interests by leveraging Facebook and Google's free services. Users can set their targeting parameters by geography, demographics, hobbies, and interests, and search intent, therefore reaching customers with a much higher likelihood of engaging with your business.
Businesses that partner with digital marketing agencies will rise above the rest because they can rely upon their expertise they simply can't get elsewhere. Full-service digital marketing agencies will help with everything from paid search and video production to SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and PPC. It is vital that when choosing an agency partner that they have years of experience in creating measurable results for clients.
A full-service digital agency will be able to work with small businesses in various capacities and need not cost a fortune. As a matter of fact, an effective agency will generate a return on your investment far above and beyond the cost of their fees. Initially, a small business may simply hire a local agency to provide expert consultation and advice, but as revenue increases, they can then take over projects and entire campaigns.
The best marketing firms will help a small business grow and will help them grow over time. Seek out top marketing firms near you so that you can create a personal and close relationship. National marketing firms may be beneficial for Fortune 500 companies, but it is always best to find agencies that have offices in your city, even if they are not a huge company.
You can find and review any number of firms in your area by going to online directories such as clutch.co.