Small Fish in a Big Pond: Why SMBs Should Embrace Digital Marketing to Remain Competitive
16 Aug 2018
You’ve worked hard to build your business. You made customer service excellence and positive word of mouth hallmarks upon which to build your customer base. However, you’re not seeing the level of growth you expected. There’s much ado about social media and online marketing, and you’re ready to dive in, but where do you begin?
Perhaps you already have social media pages and a website. However, you’re not achieving the level of success you envisioned. You hear about changes to Facebook’s algorithms and numerous Google updates, but how do those affect you? What do you do?
Keeping Your Head Above Water
The age of internet marketing and the explosion of social media ushered in comparatively easier and cost-effective ways to reach new customers. You’re doing all you can, but it feels like you’re getting nowhere.
The “if you build it, they will come,” mentality might have worked in the earlier days of the internet and social media marketing. However, today, greater online competition means that small businesses have to do more to make a splash.
If you’re going to establish an online presence, do it the right way. Small businesses will need to devise strategies that will allow them to eke out a profitable share of their target markets.
As a small business, it can be challenging to find a competitive edge. Big businesses present obvious challenges, and the multitude of other small business in your service area doesn’t help either.
Just Keep Swimming
Knowing what it takes to improve your website’s performance, ensure your business is visible in search, and keep abreast of Facebook’s advertising policies, for example, are important if you are to promote your business online successfully.
Every day it seems as if the internet masters spew out terms and requirements about how to remain relevant. When jargon like “link building” and “UX” are bandied about, you might feel as if you’re caught within some savage, unforgiving vortex.
Maintain your resolve to go above and beyond to exceed your customers’ expectations. There is nothing wrong with preserving that small business, old-timey attitude toward customer service. A customer-centric approach is vital, but a good internet marketing campaign is that extra push you need to take your company to new heights.
Luring Your Targets
A small business might shy away from internet marketing because it seems to be a daunting endeavor. The nuts and bolts of a successful digital strategy seem overwhelming. Where do you even begin? However, neglecting your website, or shutting it down and closing your social media accounts wouldn’t be the way to go.
Regardless of the size or nature of a business, customers now expect companies to have some type of online presence. Most consumers do not trust businesses that do not have a website, and they are doing their research online before buying in store. According HubSpot’s report on Marketing Statistics for 2018:
- 72% of consumers who did a local search visited a store within five miles. (WordStream, 2016)
- 28% of searches for something nearby result in a purchase. (Google, 2016)
- 48% of consumers start mobile research with a search engine. (Smart Insights, 2016)
- 47% of buyers viewed 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep. (Demand Gen Report, 2016)
- More than half of marketers who’ve been using social media for at least two years report it helped them improve sales. (Social Media Examiner, 2015)
Trust is a critical component of the purchase decision, and consumers now rely on the digital experience as they form their opinions.
Today, an online presence legitimizes a company. Customers might think twice if a business isn’t online — considering that it doesn’t take much have a website or a social media page. Consumers research companies to make sure they‘re making the right choice and that they’re getting the best value.
Turning Ripples to Waves
Launching a successful online marketing campaign doesn’t have to be difficult. Small businesses that do not have technical confidence, marketing expertise, or resources can partner with an agency and benefit from:
- Experts who understand buyer behavior
- Dedicated resources so that you have a consistent online presence and voice across all platforms
- Professionally-developed social media campaigns
- Analysis of key performance factors that facilitate decision-making specific to your marketing program
- Various online tools that integrate with your campaign to maximize reach and generate leads
- Accurate targeting for your industry’s highest-value audiences
The right internet marketing team will simplify the process, help you to find your niche, and maximize your marketing potential within that niche. Your social media pages might have hundreds, maybe even thousands of followers, but how are your conversion rates? Are these targets biting when you put out your bait for products and services? They may react well to your latest Star Trek-inspired meme, but how can you convert this level of engagement and influence into purchase decisions?
Above all, you’ll get the best results from a diversified campaign that combines your paid and organic marketing strategies. From paid marketing that encompass all phases of the buyer’s journey to organic campaigns that help you nurture relationships, a qualified team of experts will ensure you leverage the potential of your marketing tactics.
Swimming With the Big Fish
Online marketing goes deeper than just having a website and social media pages. An online presence that does not inspire customers and guide them through the marketing funnel is a waste.
You might think it hard to outsource a portion of your business’ operations, but in today’s marketing environment you might not afford to do otherwise. Let the experts get you started while your team focuses on their core competencies.
Want to swim with the big fish? Online marketing is only a part of your marketing arsenal. A successful digital strategy will support offline efforts to enhance your reach and optimize leads and conversions.
Online marketing tools have been the difference-maker for large and small businesses alike. Your small business can reap rewards from a professional and dedicated digital marketing program. It requires the right approach to targeting and nurturing your audience. Your digital media success story awaits.
Nicola Kelly is an Inbound Marketing Specialist and a creative thinker with a passion for helping businesses to maximize their marketing potential. She has experience designing marketing campaigns and providing copywriting services for print, radio, and online campaigns for clients in various industries.
Image via iStock.