If your local business isn’t marketing online, it’s missing out.
According to the Small Business Administration, only 64 percent of small businesses in the United States actually have a website. These days, people find local businesses online, but there are still millions of small, local businesses out there that don’t even have a website, which is the first step toward building an online presence.
A lot of local businesses are under the misconception that they don’t need digital marketing, least of all, their own website. Many believe that they are too small to warrant having a website, or that they get so much word of mouth business that digital marketing is unnecessary for them.
But, the fact of the matter is that, regardless of the industry your business is in, how big or small you are, how established your business is, how long you’ve been serving your community, or how much your customers refer your business to others, your business needs digital marketing. These days, digital marketing is not optional for local businesses, and there are many reasons why.
5 Reasons Every Local Business Needs Digital Marketing
#1. Consumers are online.
People don’t search for local businesses to work with like they used to. Back in the day, when someone was looking for a local nail salon or maybe the right animal hospital in their city, the first thing they’d likely do is to ask for recommendations from their friends, coworkers, and family. Barring that, the next place they’d look is the phone book.
While word-of-mouth recommendations are still the most powerful form of marketing to date, people don’t often ask for them anymore. These days, instead of asking a friend or looking in the phone book, most people will look for local businesses online.
The number one rule of visibility for your business is that you need to be where consumers are, and in this day and age, consumers are online.
#2. Digital marketing is cost-effective.
There are so many different avenues you could take to advertise your business, from billboards and direct mail to email marketing and social media. However, not all of these options will work well for your business, and not all of them are equally cost-effective.
Gaining more exposure for your business is a critical part of your success, but most local businesses don’t have an endless marketing budget. When you’re on a budget, you need every dollar you spend to get your name out there, which means that you need a marketing strategy that’s not only effective but cost-effective.
When you want a lot of bang for your buck, digital marketing is the way to go. Unlike traditional marketing, digital marketing targets only people who are already interested in what you have to offer, which prevents you from spending money targeting people who will never be interested.
On average, it costs a small business just $3 to reach more than 1,000 people on social media. In order to get that same kind of exposure, it would cost $28 to advertise on TV and $57 to advertise through direct mail.
#3. Target your audience.
Most traditional forms of marketing are outbound strategies. These include newspaper ads, television commercials, radio ads, and billboards. Outbound strategies cast a wide net, and they are beneficial because they introduce your business to a larger audience.
But the downside of outbound strategies is that they force you to pay to market to people who might never need or be interested in your products or service, and it’s impossible to cater your message to individual groups of people with outbound marketing strategies.
Digital marketing, on the other hand, is an inbound marketing strategy, which means that it targets only the people who are already interested in your products or services. With digital marketing, your customers come to you, not the other way around.
Not only can you use digital marketing to target people who are looking for what you have to offer, but you can target different subsets of your greater audience. This means that you can create ads specifically for people who have looked at a specific product, people in different age groups, people in a specific geographic area, etc.
#4. Keep a close eye on your results.
One of the challenges of traditional forms of marketing is that they’re not easy to keep track of. Take a billboard, for example. You can ask that customers mention the billboard at the time of sale, but if they don’t you, have no way of telling how effective it was. Further still, you have no way of knowing how many people saw the billboard, how long they looked at it, and what their level of interest might be in your service.
With traditional forms of advertising, it’s practically impossible to tell how effective your efforts are. But with digital marketing, you’ll have a ton of great data to work with. This will help you determine exactly where your marketing budget should go, and it will give you insights into small changes you can make to your advertisements to make them more effective.
#5. Gain a better understanding of your audience.
Most traditional forms of advertising are just one-way conversations. Whether it’s a television commercial, a direct mail postcard, or a radio ad, it’s about you speaking at your audience. Digital marketing is unique in that it allows for a two-way conversation with your audience.
When you’re advertising on social media, for example, your audience can comment, like, and share your content, giving you a lot more insight into how they actually feel about it and helping you get to know them on another level.
Having a better understanding of your audience will help you design a more effective digital marketing strategy in the future, and can even make your traditional marketing channels more effective.
If you’re looking for a cost-effective way to get your name out there that works, digital marketing is a must for your local business. Learn more and get started when you visit us online at Marketing 360® today.