Why is Digital Marketing Important for Small Businesses?
As a business owner, you may have pondered the question, “why is digital marketing important for small businesses?” After all, if you have a storefront, you probably assume that customers should come and buy from you. While that may be the past business model, today’s savvy small business owner needs to leverage digital marketing to take advantage of free to low-cost online tools to help drive traffic to their business.
Digital marketing is important for small businesses because it is low cost and often free. Digital marketing presents a host of tools to allow business owners to connect with customers and potential customers, communicate special offers, and measure their results in real-time, rapidly changing their advertising strategies. It’s not to say that, as a business owner, you should abandon traditional marketing strategies. However, leveraging digital marketing strategies can complement your traditional techniques and often exceed the results you would get with traditional advertising and marketing methods.
I get it; you wear many hats as a small business owner, and trying to figure out the ins and outs of the digital marketing space seems challenging enough. But trust me when I say this is crucial to running any successful business. Digital marketing can be intimidating if you need help to know where to start; for this reason, I have put together a high-level list of 7 digital marketing tips to get you on the right path in your marketing journey and increasing your business revenue.
Create a Mobile-Friendly Website
With over 6.6 billion smartphones worldwide and their continued growth, it’s crucial to ensure that you have a website optimized for mobile devices. If you have a non-mobile-friendly site, you may lose out on potential customers using their phones to browse the web and find businesses like yours.
Mobile users are often in a rush and want to save time trying to figure out how to make an online purchase or fill out an inquiry form on their phone—they’ll move on if they can’t get what they need quickly and easily. Additionally, having a mobile-friendly website can help increase click-through rates (CTRs) because users only need one tap instead of two clicks when they’re browsing using a smartphone versus a desktop computer; this makes it easier for people visiting from their phones since there aren’t any extra steps involved once they land on your site through Google or another search engine listing.
Using various tools makes it easy to check if your site is mobile-friendly. You can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to determine if your site is mobile-friendly; enter the URL, and the tool will tell you how responsive it is.
Optimize Your Local Listings
Getting your business listed on Google, Yelp, and other local directories is the next step in optimizing your digital marketing. It is vital to ensure the information about your company is correct (address, phone number, hours of operation).
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from working with small business owners over the years, it’s this: customers love nothing more than seeing a physical address when searching for businesses online! So make sure that if you have an office or store location, it appears prominently in all the places where people are looking for businesses like yours—including Google Maps.
Another great way to get your business in front of people is through local directories. Many are out there, including Yelp, Angie’s List, and many others. The key is to make sure that your business is listed on these sites so that when people search for things like “best day spa near me” or “best dentist in Riverside,” your business will show up!
Leverage Email Marketing to Drive Sales
Email marketing is still one of small businesses’ most effective and inexpensive digital marketing channels. It’s a great way to connect with customers, build relationships and trust, and drive sales.
Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to reach your audience regularly. When you send out emails that are relevant to your customers’ interests—and don’t spam them—you increase the chances that they’ll read it in their inboxes (and learn something) versus deleting it right away because they’re tired of seeing constant ads in their inboxes all day long!
Create an Online Presence with Social Media
If you’re a small business owner, social media is likely one of your best digital marketing tools for reaching new customers. It’s free to set up an account on any of the major platforms—Facebook, Instagram, Twitter—and there are many ways you can use these channels to promote your business and engage with customers.
Social media also allows you to connect with other businesses in your industry. If they share similar goals to yours (like growing traffic), then it might make sense for both parties involved to work together on promotional, content, or advertising campaigns. By partnering together, you have the luxury of sharing audiences with the goal of gaining more followers and, ultimately, more customers.
Focus on Customer Experience and Engagement on Social Media
A fundamental way to improve your customer experience is by listening to and responding to your customers promptly. Your social media presence should reflect this and allow for interactions between you or your customer service team and your customers.
An excellent example is Amazon reviews. If someone has an issue with their purchase, they can write about it in a review they leave on the seller’s page on Amazon. Attentive sellers respond with helpful information or an apology if there is an error (like if they sent the wrong product). You can also see how companies like Apple do this—they have been known for responding fast when customers have questions about products or services offered through Apple Stores around the world.
The critical takeaway for deploying a digital marketing strategy of listening to customers through social media is that you can respond quickly—in real-time—to their concerns and work fast to solve their problems.
Engage in Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is partnering with influencers online (or offline) to promote your brand. It’s a great way to build credibility and reach new customers simultaneously, but it can be difficult for small businesses without a track record or a small budget.
To get started with influencer marketing, establish a presence on social media channels like Facebook and Twitter. You need people who follow those channels for this strategy to work! Then find influencers who are active within your niche and reach out to them by commenting on their posts or asking them questions about what they like about your industry. Once you establish a relationship with the influencer, ask them if they would be interested in collaborating on something related to their interests. Most often, it’s what their social media channel is all about.
For example, let’s say you operate a day spa business and wish to increase your clientele. You already have a presence on social media and are looking to collaborate with an influencer to help grow your followers and generate new business. Your strategy to partner with a viable influencer is to seek one that frequently posts on health and beauty or meditation and mindfulness topics. However, one word of caution: influencers with hundreds of thousands of followers may cost you more than smaller (micro) influencers. It’s wise to begin with micro-influencers and move up to major influencers as you grow your business.
Use Content Marketing for that Personal Touch with Digital Marketing
In today’s digital world, there’s no doubt that content marketing is the best way to compensate for the lack of personal touch. Content marketing is one of the most effective ways to build trust and authority for your business, attract new customers and keep existing ones happy. It can help you promote your brand and educate customers about products or services they may still need to be aware of (like yours). Content marketing also helps answer customer questions about your product, services, and business.
Final Thoughts on Digital Marketing for Small Businesses
If you’re a small business owner, the world of digital marketing can be overwhelming. There are so many platforms and strategies to try that it’s easy to get overwhelmed or discouraged by all the options. But don’t worry, like riding a bike, you get up, pedal, and if you fall off, you get back up and keep going. Eventually, you’ll get the hang of it and begin to see the results of all your efforts.
You don’t need to be an expert at everything immediately; start with one thing at a time, whether building an email list or setting up Facebook ads for your store. Don’t be afraid of failure or making mistakes along the way; those experiences will only strengthen you in the long run as long as you keep moving forward with new ideas and strategies until something finally sticks (and even then, keep experimenting!).
Digital marketing is an excellent way for small businesses to reach customers and grow their businesses. However, it can be challenging to do well. Creating a successful digital marketing strategy that works for your business takes time, patience, and dedication. These seven tips will help guide you on your journey toward becoming an expert in this area!