Small and medium-sized businesses are putting more and more emphasis on their digital efforts. Studies show 77% of SMEs planned to increase their advertising spend in 2018. It does look like these businesses are starting to realise the benefits digital marketing can bring but, with 29% of small businesses showing to not even having a website, it still seems as though there are many SMEs that are reluctant to make the investment. They shouldn’t be. Here are a few reasons why digital marketing for small businesses is essential:
1. Your customers are online
Some businesses believe their customers are not online, so an investment in digital marketing doesn’t seem worth it. However, 97% of consumers look online before making a local purchase, and between 70–80% of consumers research a company online before clicking the ‘buy’ button. Small businesses that don’t make the digital investment may miss out on real opportunities and run the risk of losing ground to more digitally-savvy competitors who rank in an online search for important keywords relevant to their industry.
Essentially having a strong web presence becomes critical to successfully grow your business. If you don’t have a website or a strong digital presence, your customers will likely go elsewhere to make a purchase. That’s not how you successfully grow your business – by losing customers to the competition.
Invest in a professionally designed website that YOU own – or updating your existing one.
2. Consumer expectations have changed.
Think about it for a minute, we are online every single day, whether it be to connect with friends on social networks, pay bills online conveniently , bank online and shop online, the internet has made tasks extremely easy for consumers. This has led to consumers having a heightened sense of expectation. If a potential client goes online to reads up about an SME but finds that they don’t have a website or social media presence, it is considered a huge disadvantage, especially to the younger demographics (e.g. Millennials and Generation Z). If you want to resonate and connect with the modern consumer, you need to develop your online presence and make it convenient for them to engage with your business online.
3. Seasonal trends drive sales
Without a digital marketing strategy in place, it’s hard to keep up with seasonal trends. Research shows that on Black Friday, for example, email marketing and online shopping via mobile phones drive sales in a significant way. If your business wants to make the most of this large shopping day, consider how to incorporate email and mobile marketing into your campaigns.
In 2015, 25.1% of all transactions were driven by email marketing, and mobile shopping accounted for 30.6% of all spending. Similarly, the influence of digital on other seasonal events like Christmas and Halloween continues to grow. Whatever the sector, digital marketing is now a must-have.
4. A positive reputation for your business can be made online
A good online presence that shows your business is reliable, responsive and trustworthy, and creates a great experience for your customers while positively impacting your brand’s reputation. Not having a social media presence or taking too long to answer queries via email can cause potential customers to lose trust in your brand, resulting in them looking to your competitors to solve their needs.
5. Your customers are mobile
The smartphone has revolutionised the way we go about our daily lives. Consumers today have the power of a personal computer at their fingertips at all times. Google has confirmed that there are now more searches conducted on mobile than on desktop. To target your mobile customers, your site must be optimised for viewing on mobile devices. Optimising your site for mobile does not have to be expensive either. There are many great themes and plugins, which will help you make your website mobile friendly.
Small businesses also need to be able to put themselves in a position to convert local mobile searches into customers. You need to put in the work to give yourself the best chance of ranking in local searches based on location. Best practices includes registering your business on directories like Yelp and Google My Business, and including your locality in your title tags and metadata.