Small and medium-sized businesses are putting more and more emphasis on their digital efforts. Borrell’s 2016 survey showed that 75 percent of SMBs planned to increase their advertising spend in 2017. However, research carried out by web design company Clutch found that 29 percent of small businesses do not have a website.
On the one hand, it seems that these businesses are starting to realize the benefits digital marketing can bring, but on the other, it still seems as though there are many small businesses that are reluctant to make the investment. The number of SMBs that do not own a website is surprisingly large. Moreover, a study by Digital Examiner found that 45 percent of SMBs do not measure ROI.
Digital marketing is one area small businesses can really excel in and see a large ROI. If you remain unconvinced of the merits of digital marketing, here are 4 reasons why your small business needs to invest in it.
- Your customers are online.
Some businesses believe their customers are not online, so an investment in digital marketing doesn’t seem worth it to them. However, 97 percent of consumers look online before making a local purchase. Other studies show that between 70-80 percent of consumers research a company online before making a purchase. Small businesses that don’t make the digital investment may miss out on real opportunities. If you don’t have a website for your small business, you won’t rank for local searches, which have a high conversion rate. Similarly, you run the risk of losing ground to more digitally savvy competitors who rank for important keyword search terms relevant to your industry.
- Consumer expectations have changed.
The modern consumer has a heightened sense of expectation. If a prospect goes online to read up about your SMB but finds that you don’t have a website or social media presence, it will come as quite a shock, especially to younger demographics (Millennials and Gen Z). If you want to resonate and connect with the modern consumer, you need to develop your online presence.
- Take advantage of seasonal trends.
Without a digital marketing strategy in place, it’s harder to keep up with seasonal trends. Let’s take Black Friday example. Research from Custora shows that email marketing and mobile shopping are increasingly big drivers of sales on those days. If your business wants to make the most of this large shopping day, consider how to incorporate email and mobile marketing into your campaigns.
Custora’s research also shows that in 2015, 25.1 percent of all transactions were driven by email marketing. Mobile shopping accounted for 30.6 percent of all spending. Elsewhere, 16.3 percent of sales came from paid search campaigns while a surprisingly low 1.7 percent of sales were driven by social media. Similarly, the influence of digital on other seasonal events like Christmas and Halloween continues to grow. If your small business operates in the retail sector, digital marketing is now a must-have.
- Your customers are mobile.
The smartphone has revolutionized 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 optimized for viewing on mobile devices. Optimizing your site for mobile does not have to be that expensive either. There are many great themes and plugins, which will help you do the heavy lifting.
Small businesses also need to be able to put themselves in a position to convert local mobile searches into customers. One example here is when people search for things like “pizza near me”. You need to put in the work to give yourself the best chance of ranking in high intent local search like this one. Best practices here include registering your business on directories like Yelp and Google My Business and including your locality in your title tags and metadata.
Tom Demers is a co-founder and managing partner at Measured SEM and Digital Examiner. Prior to that, he was the Director of Marketing and third employee for WordStream, an Inc 500 company. He has contributed to various industry publications such as Search Engine Journal, Search Engine Land, Small Biz Trends, SEO Book and several others and has been cited by publications like USA Today, Fox Business and Media Post. Tom was also an instructor for Marketing Profs University and was a speaker at the popular search marketing conference SMX.
This post can also be found on The Columbus Dispatch.