Small and medium businesses have their work cut out for them when it comes to keeping up with larger competitors. Fortunately, technology and digitalization have made it easier to stay in the game. By using smart digital marketing techniques, a SME can grow their business significantly, especially when compared to relying solely on traditional advertising.
Credit: PhotoMIX Ltd.
The role digital marketing plays in the expansion of your business cannot be underestimated. Here is a list of what digital marketing can offer:
A targeted, specific audience
Traditional marketing relies mostly on luck — placing an ad, taking a step back, and hoping your target market finds it and contacts you. With digital marketing, you can create campaigns directed specifically to those who might benefit from (or are looking for) your products and/or services. You can select your audience based on their interest, geo-location, demographics, age range, and online habits.
Additionally, digital platforms make it possible to track your campaign using analytics. You can:
- review results and make any necessary changes
- collect user data
- learn about your customers and their behaviour
- tweak your campaign, and enhance its efficacy
Expand your reach and client base
Google alone sees over 3 billion searches every day, representing 65% of all online searches, globally. With the right digital marketing strategy, you will be able to tap into this massive number of users to improve your bottom line.
Search engine optimization (SEO) — one of the major digital marketing strategies — can help you reach a greater portion of your target market. When someone needs information related to your products, services, or industry, you want them to find your pages. If you don’t use the right techniques, your website may as well be invisible. What you want is for search engines to share the appropriate page and recommend your site as a credible source of information.
In addition, your reach is not limited to a single location (like with billboard advertising) or community (e.g. radio or local newspapers). Even if your business operates within a specific location, it can be highly advantageous to expand your reach to nearby areas. If a potential customer outside your city is looking for a service or product nearby, properly placed keywords and the right SEO techniques will have search engines direct them to you, expanding the possibility of increased profit.
Maintain your competitive edge
The Internet levels the playing field for smaller businesses. The prime online real estate is the first page of search engine sites. One way to appear at the top of the first page is through Pay-per-Click (PPC) advertising. Though this may be a little too pricey for many small- and medium-sized establishments, you do not have to break the bank to match the efforts of bigger brand names. Organic (i.e. unpaid) placements on the search engine results page are incredibly valuable — more so than paid ads. Exhibiting a behaviour called “banner blindness,” most users tend to ignore ads (or anything resembling one), making organic placement highly desirable.
Proper SEO techniques will help you get on the good side of search engines — Google especially— to land that organic placement you seek. Search engines rank web pages on their overall reliability and relevance to individual users’ queries. If a potential client searches for a term, Google will display a list of web pages containing content relevant (or related to) that term.
Search engines have refined their algorithms to be incredibly selective when ranking pages. SEO strategies, along with other digital marketing techniques, can help your website pass the selection process with flying colours, making it possible for your brand to appear on the first page, side by side with bigger brand names in the ads section.
Strengthen customer relationships
The more a business interacts with customers, the more the clientele trusts them. Digital marketing allows business owners have increased engagement with potential and existing customers. If a prospect wants additional information about a product or a service — or if a client has a problem — they turn to the Internet. We only have to search for an article, turn to social media, or send a message to a chatbot or a live assistant. Of course, response time is key when they’re looking for a personal response, but digital marketing opens the channels of immediate communication.
Use your site to enhance customer service and strengthen your business’ relationship with patrons. Responding to their inquiries makes them clients feel cared for, and they’ll rely on you more. A brand that is responsive and engaging has repeat (and loyal) customers.
Build brand reputation
Digital marketing techniques help you establish your brand as an authority and expert in your field. You can also build your company’s reputation online. Content marketing and social media marketing are a great platform for improving customer engagement and trust; but they are only part of the puzzle. You can also post client reviews, testimonials, and case studies to show your target market that you are a reliable and trustworthy company that delivers.
Register on third party review sites (like Yelp) to give your clients a platform to either share dissatisfaction or sing your praises. Reviews also give you invaluable information about your clients’ behaviours and expectations. If you’re worried about negative reviews, don’t be. Negative reviews are opportunities to show that reviewer you will remedy the issue and/or take it as a lesson you can use to improve. This way, you can build your reputation as a problem solver. Never ignore negative feedback. Be proactive, and it will pay off.
Entice visitors with calls-to-action
You have earned current and potential customers’ trust; you have shown them you have a product or service they want; how do you get them to take action, register, call, book an appointment, or make a purchase?
Web design plays a key role in getting your customers to go a step further. By strategically placing calls-to-action, you make it easy for them to know what to do next. Design your page so it’s easy to spot contact information, a link to a purchase page, etc. Use colours, buttons, positioning, graphics, or images to get visitors to act.
Increase leads, conversions, and generate revenue
Seeing an increase in web traffic is not the only goal. The ultimate priority of a consistent, continual digital marketing campaign is greater conversions and sales. The top three strategies to use are SEO, social media marketing, and email marketing. These three techniques allow you to interact and engage with potential clients more quickly and effectively, generating better conversion rates for your business.
Get strong ROI for your advertising dollars
Digital marketing is a cost-effective means of reaching your audience. With traditional marketing, a business can spend hundreds to thousands of dollars on a single ad placement (e.g. newspapers, magazines, and TV). In contrast, some digital marketing strategies (e.g. social media and email marketing) can be done for free, using free online platforms and tools.
A single full-page ad in an annual Richmond Hill community recreation guide (60,000 copies) costs approximately $1,800 (up to $3,200 for more prominent placement). However, this type of marketing approach casts a wide net. You are targeting a general audience — though every reader can view your ad, there is no guarantee you are reaching potential customers.
Outsourcing your digital marketing strategies to an agency involves a fee, of course (depending on the type of work you need), but effective results are tangible and long-lasting. Wouldn’t you like to have the “problem” of having too many customers?
Hiring an agency offering digital marketing and SEO services in Richmond Hill (like Local SEO Search) may cost as little as $10,000 a year (depending on the package). What you get in exchange is a team devoted to promoting your constant online presence, targeted reach, and better lead generation. You will be reaching those most likely to do business with you, providing a higher return on investment.
Digitalization has changed the face of commerce and has given small and medium businesses the leverage they need to compete in the marketplace. Digital marketing does more than increase web traffic and generate leads, it paves the way for higher conversions and more revenue. Acquire new clients, maintain relationships with existing ones, and succeed by creating a digital marketing strategy today.