When small busi­ness­es get start­ed, their focus is often on how to get their first group of cus­tomers through the door. They may rely on tra­di­tion­al forms of adver­tis­ing, such as print ads and coupon mail­ers or even big signs on the side of the road. They may trust that since they know they offer a good prod­uct or ser­vice, it’s only a mat­ter of time until cus­tomers will find their way to them.

While this strat­e­gy may bring in a trick­le of busi­ness, there is a bet­ter and eas­i­er way. Small busi­ness­es should con­sid­er the huge mar­ket­place of prospects online. No small busi­ness, no mat­ter how new, should over­look this vast mar­ket­place.

Benefits of Online Marketing

The group of poten­tial cus­tomers that are found online is a much larg­er group of peo­ple than you are like­ly to be able to attract local­ly. Using dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing, you can reach an enor­mous audi­ence in a way that is both cost-effec­tive and mea­sur­able.

Oth­er ben­e­fits of online mar­ket­ing include:

  • The abil­i­ty to inter­act with your prospects and learn exact­ly what they are look­ing for
  • The abil­i­ty to reach a glob­al mar­ket­place
  • You can save mon­ey and reach more cus­tomers for less mon­ey than tra­di­tion­al mar­ket­ing meth­ods
  • Get to know your audi­ence and allow them to know you per­son­al­ly which can help to cre­ate brand loy­al­ty
  • You can track respons­es to your mar­ket­ing efforts imme­di­ate­ly

Are You Postponing Digital Marketing?

Why would you choose to post­pone putting time and effort into dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing? Dif­fer­ent small busi­ness own­ers may come up with a vari­ety of rea­sons to avoid this form of mar­ket­ing, but in the end, pro­cras­ti­na­tion is still pro­cras­ti­na­tion.

Small busi­ness­es some­times believe that they don’t have the time or the mon­ey to be com­pet­i­tive online. They think they can only face so many chal­lenges all at once and they are still learn­ing the ins and outs of busi­ness in gen­er­al. Many of them may pre­fer to take things slow­ly and to stick with one or two basic forms of adver­tis­ing, assum­ing that their busi­ness will evolve as time pass­es.

They may even think the best strat­e­gy is sim­ply to wait for cus­tomers to show up. Since they are a small busi­ness, they may think they only need a small num­ber of cus­tomers.

This is not an effec­tive approach. There is nev­er a guar­an­tee that your busi­ness will attract cus­tomers just by exist­ing and even if it does, you may not attract as many cus­tomers as you need to make your busi­ness become prof­itable.

Your Customers Are Online

When small busi­ness­es get start­ed, their focus is often on how to get their first group of cus­tomers through the door. They may rely on tra­di­tion­al forms of adver­tis­ing, such as print ads and coupon mail­ers or even big signs on the side of the road. They may trust that since they know they offer a good prod­uct or ser­vice, it’s only a mat­ter of time until cus­tomers will find their way to them.

While this strat­e­gy may bring in a trick­le of busi­ness, there is a bet­ter and eas­i­er way. Small busi­ness­es should con­sid­er the huge mar­ket­place of prospects online. No small busi­ness, no mat­ter how new, should over­look this vast mar­ket­place.

Benefits of Online Marketing

The group of poten­tial cus­tomers that are found online is a much larg­er group of peo­ple than you are like­ly to be able to attract local­ly. Using dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing, you can reach an enor­mous audi­ence in a way that is both cost-effec­tive and mea­sur­able.

Oth­er ben­e­fits of online mar­ket­ing include:

  • The abil­i­ty to inter­act with your prospects and learn exact­ly what they are look­ing for
  • The abil­i­ty to reach a glob­al mar­ket­place
  • You can save mon­ey and reach more cus­tomers for less mon­ey than tra­di­tion­al mar­ket­ing meth­ods
  • Get to know your audi­ence and allow them to know you per­son­al­ly which can help to cre­ate brand loy­al­ty
  • You can track respons­es to your mar­ket­ing efforts imme­di­ate­ly

Are You Postponing Digital Marketing?

Why would you choose to post­pone putting time and effort into dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing? Dif­fer­ent small busi­ness own­ers may come up with a vari­ety of rea­sons to avoid this form of mar­ket­ing, but in the end, pro­cras­ti­na­tion is still pro­cras­ti­na­tion.

Small busi­ness­es some­times believe that they don’t have the time or the mon­ey to be com­pet­i­tive online. They think they can only face so many chal­lenges all at once and they are still learn­ing the ins and outs of busi­ness in gen­er­al. Many of them may pre­fer to take things slow­ly and to stick with one or two basic forms of adver­tis­ing, assum­ing that their busi­ness will evolve as time pass­es.

They may even think the best strat­e­gy is sim­ply to wait for cus­tomers to show up. Since they are a small busi­ness, they may think they only need a small num­ber of cus­tomers.

This is not an effec­tive approach. There is nev­er a guar­an­tee that your busi­ness will attract cus­tomers just by exist­ing and even if it does, you may not attract as many cus­tomers as you need to make your busi­ness become prof­itable.

Your Customers Are Online

If you have been avoid­ing dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing, is it because you think you are sim­ply not ready? Do you think you just need some time to get estab­lished and then you will fig­ure out the dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing angle?

The prob­lem with this approach is that your cus­tomers and poten­tial cus­tomers are already online. Right now. Today. There’s a good chance they might already be look­ing for a busi­ness like yours, but if they can’t find you eas­i­ly, they are prob­a­bly going to choose some­one else.

This is how peo­ple do busi­ness today. When some­one has an inter­est in your busi­ness, whether it is in your niche in gen­er­al or if they are curi­ous about your brand, the first thing they are going to do is research online and see what they can find out about you.

They expect to find you there with a web­site and a social media pres­ence. They may be look­ing for reviews so they can learn what oth­er peo­ple are say­ing about your com­pa­ny and whether it is a good place to do busi­ness.

If a poten­tial cus­tomer can’t find you online, they may con­clude that your busi­ness doesn’t appear to be legit­i­mate. There is a very good chance that a lot of these prospects may decide not to take your busi­ness seri­ous­ly and they will quick­ly head some­where else.

Once they have made that deci­sion, they prob­a­bly won’t be back.

Your Competitors Are Online

For your busi­ness to be suc­cess­ful, you need to pay atten­tion to what your com­peti­tors are doing and learn from it. Think of your com­peti­tors not just as some­one that you are plan­ning to beat, but as peo­ple who have some­thing to teach you.

When you look at what your com­peti­tors are doing, you will get some idea of what is work­ing and what isn’t work­ing. Most like­ly, what­ev­er type of busi­ness you are in, your com­peti­tors have estab­lished a web pres­ence. What kind of con­tent are they using? Are they blog­ging, or are they using a lot of graph­ics and videos?

How do they com­mu­ni­cate their brand and what makes them unique? How well do they engage with the audi­ence? Do you think you can do bet­ter? You can’t if you don’t par­tic­i­pate in com­pet­ing in the dig­i­tal world.

If your prospects begin to search for a busi­ness sim­i­lar to yours and are able to find your com­peti­tors’ web­site but not yours, your busi­ness is not even in the run­ning. Your prospects can’t choose you if they don’t know about you. In this sce­nario, your com­peti­tors have just raced ahead of you regard­less of whether they have an effec­tive web­site or a clear mes­sage.

Be Accessible to Your Customers

It’s clear that in today’s dig­i­tal world, the first place the aver­age con­sumer looks for what they want is online. What­ev­er prod­uct or ser­vice they are look­ing for, they will most like­ly start their search with Google. If you have no online pres­ence at all, you won’t be found, and you can’t com­pete.

If you have an online pres­ence but your com­peti­tors are eas­i­er to find and are found first, you still might not be found at all. Besides cre­at­ing a web­site, learn­ing search engine opti­miza­tion is a strat­e­gy that can help you move ahead of your com­peti­tors just by being the first name that a prospect finds in a Google search with key­words that can lead them to your busi­ness.

Sim­ple ques­tions that your prospects may want quick answers to should be eas­i­ly dis­cov­er­able online, such as where you are locat­ed, what your hours are and what you spe­cial­ize in. By look­ing at your web­site and your com­peti­tors’ web­sites side by side, your prospects should be able to com­pare hours, prices, spe­cial offers and more.

This is why it’s imper­a­tive for you to know what your com­peti­tors are up to. Your prospects are already check­ing both you and your com­peti­tors out. They are already com­par­ing you against each oth­er. What are they find­ing out?

Let Customers Come to You

Think of dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing as a way to make your­self acces­si­ble to the peo­ple you are try­ing to reach in order to offer your prod­ucts and ser­vices. The scope of your busi­ness can reach well beyond your walls. You are able to attract a much larg­er audi­ence than you pos­si­bly could by just cater­ing to local prospects.

By cre­at­ing a web pres­ence, your busi­ness is open for busi­ness even when it’s closed. You can cre­ate an atmos­phere in which your cus­tomers can come to you any­time day or night.

At their con­ve­nience, cus­tomers and prospects can send you emails with ques­tions, make pur­chas­es and browse your inven­to­ry. Poten­tial cus­tomers who have no way to phys­i­cal­ly come to you can still do busi­ness with you, whether they are lim­it­ed by dis­abil­i­ty, trans­porta­tion or sim­ply liv­ing too far away.

Get to Know Your Target Audience

Dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing allows you to engage with your prospects. You can grad­u­al­ly get to know them and what they are hop­ing to find. On social media or on a blog you can start a con­ver­sa­tion. Run a sur­vey or try to get to know them. Pay atten­tion to their com­ments or their respons­es to sur­veys.

By inter­act­ing with peo­ple dig­i­tal­ly, you can start to get to know what they are look­ing for. Where is their pain? What is keep­ing them up at night? What solu­tions can you offer to them? Instead of try­ing to guess, dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing allows you tools and meth­ods for find­ing out who your cus­tomers real­ly are.

In this way, you start to build a rela­tion­ship with your cus­tomers. You become much more than a busi­ness. You become a trust­ed part­ner. Peo­ple are much more like­ly to buy from busi­ness­es that they have already bought from.

SOURCE