When you’re the owner of a local business, some of your customer base finds out about you through word-of-mouth, traditional marketing methods such as door hangers or direct mail, or just by passing by and noticing your business. But are you getting enough customers this way to keep your business not just surviving, but thriving?
Brick-and-mortar businesses are still holding their own against eCommerce companies. One-third of consumers shop at a small business at least once a week, and 75 percent visit a small business at least once a month, SCORE reports.
But the way consumers find those businesses is changing. As more and more of our time is spent online, digital marketing is becoming more important to every business — including local businesses. If you still think you can get enough customers with your Yellow Pages ad and a big sign out front, consider these seven reasons every local business should start using digital marketing strategies.
What is digital marketing: Learn the lingo
At its heart, digital marketing is all about using online strategies to spread the word about your business, product, or brand to an ever-growing crowd of potential customers. Think social media, search engines, emails, and content creation – these are just some of the tools in the digital marketing toolkit that can help your business make waves in the digital sea. But, hey, we get it – it can feel like you’re learning a new language, especially if you’re a small business or just starting out.
To help you navigate this exciting but sometimes confusing landscape, let’s break down some key terms.
We’re talking about things like SEO (making sure Google loves your website), ROI (basically, the bang for your marketing buck), CPC (what you pay when someone clicks on your online ad), and CTA (the magic words that convince visitors to take action).
And if you want the ultimate digital marketing dictionary, check out this handy guide: The Small Business Digital Marketing Dictionary.
Reason 1. Business websites are essential digital marketing tools
Roughly 99 percent of consumers hop on to the web to find and discover local businesses. Most people assume that your business has a website, so when they type in your business name, or your business name with “.com” at the end of it, they generally expect your website to pop up.
Your business website doesn’t have to be fancy, but you need one! Setting up a website is easier than ever to do, but if you’d rather, you can turn to marketing experts to build an optimized website for you.
Ways to create a winning business website
To say that a website is necessary for every business is an understatement. Websites drive traffic, and ultimately, conversions to your brand or business.
But contrary to popular belief, it’s easy to create and launch your very own online space. All you need to do is head on to a reliable online solutions provider, like Web.com, and choose a service that best fits your needs and preferences.
At Web.com, we offer three options to get you started:
Web Hosting: Think of web hosting as the plot of land where you’ll build your digital storefront. It’s where your website’s files and data hang out, waiting for visitors to drop by. With Web Hosting, you’ll get a reliable spot to park your site and make it accessible to the world. It’s like renting a prime location in the online marketplace. Plus, you’ll enjoy features that ensure your website runs smoothly and securely, creating a welcoming online space for potential customers.
Website Builders: Alright, so you might not be a coding wizard, and that’s totally cool. Web.com’s Website Builder is your trusty sidekick for crafting a professional-looking site without breaking a sweat. This user-friendly tool comes with sleek templates and drag-and-drop features, so you can customize your site’s look and feel in a snap. No need to stress about the technical stuff – just focus on showcasing your products, services, and brand personality.
Want to give it a try? Here’s a comprehensive guide on how you can get started.
Web Design Services: If you’re aiming for a website that’s as unique as your business, Web.com’s Web Design service helps bring your vision to life. Imagine having a team of design pros crafting a tailor-made website that perfectly captures your brand essence.
From layout to colors to graphics, everything is designed with your business in mind. By leaving your website to the pros, you’ll have a site that not only looks stunning but also performs like a champ.
Reason 2: Digital marketing via search engines drives brand awareness
Search engines have become the number-one way consumers search for local businesses. In fact, 93 percent of consumers use local search when they’re looking for a business nearby. Sure, there may be a few shoppers out there who still use the Yellow Pages as something besides a makeshift child’s booster seat, but they are few and far between.
How to get attention? Creating a strong online presence helps your business appear in consumers’ search results. The more places they can find you online, the better. Having a business website, a social media presence, a listing on popular online review sites, and a listing on local search directories (more on these in a minute), will all contribute to helping your local business get noticed.
The basics of search engine marketing
When it comes to making your online presence shine, search engine marketing (SEM) guides your potential customers to your doorstep. Let’s break it down and shed some light on its key aspects.
You might have heard of search engine optimization (SEO) — but what is it and why do you need it?
SEO involves a series of steps that enable your website to show up on search engines like Google when people look up keywords related to your business. By optimizing your website’s content, structure, and technical details, you increase the chances of it showing up in search results.
Think of SEO as the compass that guides users right to your digital doorstep. It’s all about giving search engines a roadmap to navigate your digital space and match it with what users are looking for.
SEO vs. PPC
SEM isn’t just one thing – it’s the umbrella term for all the strategies used to get your website noticed on search engines. Under this umbrella, you’ve got SEO and digital advertising, which is like the paid version of getting noticed.
Digital advertising, often known as Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads, is where you pay to have your website show up as an ad when users search for specific keywords. While SEO focuses on organic growth and takes a bit of time to blossom, PPC ads give you an express lane to get noticed and drive traffic to your website.
So, when to use SEO and paid ads? If you’re looking for a long-term investment that builds steady, organic growth over time, search engine optimization is your go-to. It’s perfect when you’re aiming to establish a solid online presence, enhance your website’s credibility, and attract a consistent stream of visitors.
But, if you’re after instant visibility and want to drive immediate traffic to your website, PPC advertising will power digital marketing campaigns. When you need a quick boost in website visits, leads, or sales, paid ads can put your brand at the top of search engine results right in front of your target audience. It’s an excellent choice when you’re launching a time-sensitive promotion, entering a competitive market, or simply want to see results sooner rather than later.
Learn more: SEO vs PPC Marketing
Reason 3: You reach your target audience with precision
One of the biggest advantages of leveraging digital marketing is the ability to target your audience with surgical precision. Let’s dive into how this targeted approach works and why it’s a game-changer for businesses of all sizes.
Demographics. With digital marketing campaigns, you can define your audience based on characteristics like age, gender, marital status, education level, and more. This means you can tailor your message to resonate specifically with the people who are most likely to become your customers. If you’re selling skincare products for young adults, you can focus your efforts on reaching that exact age group and avoid wasting resources on unrelated audiences.
Interests and Behaviors. Understanding your audience’s interests and online behaviors is like having a treasure map of their preferences. Digital marketing allows you to tap into this valuable information. Are your potential customers avid readers of food blogs? Do they follow certain influencers? By leveraging this knowledge, you can craft content and ads that speak directly to their passions, making your brand more relatable and engaging.
Locations. Whether you’re a local business or looking to expand globally, digital marketing lets you zoom in on specific locations. If you’re running a neighborhood bakery, you can ensure your promotions only reach people in your immediate area. On the other hand, if you’re launching an online course, you can target different countries or regions based on their time zones and cultural nuances.
Tailored Messaging: Think of it this way: With traditional marketing, you’re casting a wide net and hoping to catch some fish. With a digital marketing campaign, you’re using a fishing line with the perfect bait, aiming for a specific type of fish. This level of personalization enhances the likelihood of capturing your audience’s attention and building a connection.
Reason 4: Digital marketing captures mobile searchers
Another extremely popular way consumers find a local business is by searching on a mobile device. In fact, 58 percent of organic searches come from mobile devices, which makes sense. If you’re out running errands and think of something else you want to buy, do or eat, you probably grab your phone and look up the nearest location, too.
Even when prospects are relaxing on the couch, they’re more likely to reach for their phones and look up a business than to dig out their laptop. Plus, Google takes into account how mobile-friendly a site is when ranking it in search results. All of these factors are big reasons to make sure your business website appears well on mobile devices.
When you have a business website and you incorporate digital marketing techniques in your marketing efforts, you’re sure to pop up on your customers’ mobile searches.
Reason 5: Digital marketing cuts costs
Unlike traditional methods that cast a wide net and often reach uninterested individuals, digital marketing lets you aim for the bullseye.
By focusing on users who match your target demographics, behaviors, and interests, you’re not only increasing the likelihood of conversions but also minimizing wastage. This means your marketing efforts are channeled directly to those who are most likely to become loyal customers, ensuring every cent spent has a purpose.
Here’s a detailed comparison of how digital marketing strategies are more cost-efficient than traditional marketing campaigns.
- Digital: Precise targeting based on demographics, behaviors, and interests, reducing wastage.
- Traditional: Less precise targeting, often reaching a broader audience, leading to potential inefficiencies.
Cost of Advertising
- Digital: Offers various budget-friendly options, such as Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads and social media ads.
- Traditional: Typically higher costs for traditional avenues like TV, radio, and print ads, with fixed rates regardless of engagement.
- Digital: Flexible budgets allow adjustments based on performance and goals.
- Traditional: Fixed budgets for campaigns, limiting flexibility for optimization during the campaign.
Tools and Resources
- Digital: Abundance of free or low-cost marketing tools, reducing the need for expensive software.
- Traditional: Often require significant investments in resources like printing, filming, and distribution.
Analytics and Insights
- Digital: Real-time data analytics provide insights for immediate adjustments, optimizing spending.
- Traditional: Limited real-time insights, making it challenging to adapt strategies during campaigns.
Measurement of ROI
- Digital: Accurate tracking of Return on Investment (ROI) through detailed analytics.
- Traditional: ROI measurement can be more challenging due to limited tracking capabilities.
- Digital: Global reach with potential to target specific locations based on the audience’s geographic location.
- Traditional: Limited geographical reach, especially for local businesses with a smaller budget.
Longevity of Campaigns
- Digital: Short-term campaigns can be launched quickly and adjusted in real-time.
- Traditional: Longer lead times required for planning and execution of traditional campaigns.
Interaction and Engagement
- Digital: Direct engagement with the audience through social media, comments, and direct messages.
- Traditional: Limited direct interaction with the audience, often relying on indirect feedback.
Cost Control and Optimization
- Digital: Easy cost control with real-time adjustments to optimize spending.
- Traditional: Limited cost control once campaigns are in motion, potentially leading to overspending.
Return on Investment (ROI)
- Digital: Often provides higher ROI due to targeted reach and cost-effective options.
- Traditional: ROI can vary depending on the effectiveness of campaigns and their impact on the audience.
Reason 6: Diverse digital marketing channels to leverage
What’s great about a good digital marketing strategy is that you cannot just use one. There are a myriad of digital marketing channels that you can use to supercharge your marketing campaigns.
Effective ways for a successful digital marketing strategy
Social media marketing: Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn are more than just platforms to stay connected – they’re bustling marketplaces where brands can shine. Social media marketing allows you to create an authentic brand voice, interact with customers directly, and share content that resonates. From eye-catching visuals to engaging stories, these platforms are your canvas to craft a compelling narrative that draws your audience closer.
Online business listings: Listing your business on online directories and platforms like Google Business Profile and Yelp is like planting a flag on the digital map. When potential customers search for products or services you offer, your business will show up with key information like contact details, opening hours, and reviews. This not only boosts your visibility but also helps establish credibility by showcasing positive customer experiences.
Influencer marketing: Influencer marketing is all about leveraging the reach and credibility of individuals who have a dedicated following in your industry. These influencers can introduce your products or services to their audience in a way that feels personal and authentic. It’s like having a friend recommend your business to their circle, instantly building trust and credibility.
Email marketing: Email marketing is a must for your growing business. It’s a direct channel to share updates, promotions, and valuable content. By segmenting your email list and tailoring your messages to specific groups, you can provide personalized experiences that keep your audience engaged and informed, nurturing long-term relationships.
Content marketing: Content marketing is the art of sharing valuable information that positions your brand as an industry expert. Through blog posts, articles, infographics, and more, you can educate your audience, answer their questions, and provide solutions to their problems. This not only establishes your authority but also drives organic traffic to your website.
Ready to get started with a winning content marketing strategy? Get started with these tips.
Video marketing: Video is the medium of the moment, capturing attention like never before. Whether through short videos on platforms like TikTok, engaging stories on Instagram, or longer-form content on YouTube, video marketing lets you convey your message with visuals, music, and a touch of personality. It’s a powerful way to tell your brand’s story and foster a deeper connection with your audience.
Marketing automation tools: Managing various digital marketing activities can be a juggling act, which is where marketing automation tools step in. These tools streamline your efforts by automating tasks like scheduling social media posts, sending emails, and tracking analytics. They not only save time but also ensure consistency in your marketing strategy.
Reason 7: Digital marketing provides measurable results
Unlike traditional marketing methods where gauging success can be more nebulous, digital marketing offers a wealth of data that empowers digital marketers to make informed decisions, refine strategies, and achieve ever-improving results.
Accurate data from marketing campaigns
Digital marketing provides a treasure trove of data that gives you a front-row seat to how your marketing campaigns are performing. From the number of website visits and clicks to the time spent on a page and the demographics of your audience, every interaction is meticulously tracked.
Tools like Google Analytics, social media insights, and email marketing reports offer a detailed view of how users are engaging with your content. This level of granularity allows you to quantify the impact of your efforts and identify what’s resonating with your audience.
Make data-driven decisions
Once you have the data in hand, it’s time to put it to work. Data-driven decision-making involves analyzing the numbers to uncover trends, patterns, and areas of opportunity.
For instance, you might notice that a particular blog post has an unusually high bounce rate – this could signal a need to revisit the content or improve the user experience.
Alternatively, if specific social media platforms drive the majority of your website traffic, you can allocate more resources to that channel. By digging into the data, you’re not just guessing; you’re making strategic decisions based on tangible evidence.
Refining strategies for the best results
The beauty of data lies in its ability to reveal both successes and areas for improvement.
Let’s say your email open rates are consistently low – this could prompt you to experiment with different subject lines or send times to boost engagement. On the flip side, if a particular type of content garners high engagement, create more of it to cater to your audience’s preferences.
Data-driven digital marketers are always fine-tuning their strategies based on what works, resulting in more efficient campaigns that deliver better outcomes.
Whether it’s tweaking ad copy, adjusting targeting parameters, or revamping your content strategy, data provides the insights needed to pivot and stay ahead of the curve.
Craft an effective digital marketing strategy today
Whether you’re a small business with big dreams or an individual looking to make your mark, the digital stage offers a host of tools to help you shine bright.
Remember, digital marketing isn’t just for the tech-savvy or the big players; it’s for anyone with a passion to make their mark in the digital world. As you navigate the intricacies of social media, SEO, email campaigns, and more, you’re not just promoting your brand – you’re building a community that resonates with what you stand for.
And here’s a pro-tip: partner with a reliable online solutions provider like Web.com that’ll help you establish your online presence from start to finish. Check out our wide range of products and solutions and see which works for your business best.