There are approximately 28 million small businesses with fewer than 500 employees operating in the United States, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Unfortunately, though, many of these businesses are forced to close their doors. Statistics show that 8 out of 10 small businesses fail within the first 18 months.
But the good news is that you can use digital marketing to reach new customers, generate more sales, and increase your chances of success.
What Is Digital Marketing?
Digital marketing is a catch-all term used to describe marketing practices involving digital technologies.
In the past, small business owners were forced to rely on traditional marketing techniques, such as direct mail, word of mouth, referrals, billboards, etc.
With the advent of the Internet, however, there are now dozens of other, more powerful techniques to promote products and services.
More Consumers Buying Online
It’s no secret that fewer and fewer consumers are buying products in physical retail stores. According to a survey conducted by Nielsen, nearly half of respondents say they purchase goods online because they cannot find them in store.
And roughly 61% of respondents from this same survey said they will shop online if it saves them money. This number is growing each year.
The bottom line is that more consumers are buying online instead of choosing brick-and-mortar retail stores.
This isn’t a trend that’s going away anytime soon, either. As mobile usage and e-commerce continues to thrive, we will see this trend continue.
Small business owners who fail to embrace the ever-growing e-commerce trend will get left in the dust by their competitors.
Boost Your Conversion Rate
Even if your small business is generating a positive return on investment (ROI) using traditional advertising platforms, you can boost your ROI with digital marketing.
According to this article, digital marketing generates 24% higher conversions than traditional advertising. Of course, this shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s used digital marketing.
You can make small changes to your campaigns to improve conversions and capture more sales. Perhaps this is why so many small business owners are shifting their budgets away from traditional advertising and towards digital marketing services.
Easier to Measure
One of the lesser-known benefits of digital marketing for small businesses is the ability to measure it with greater ease. With TV commercials, it’s difficult to track key performance indicators (KPIs).
Sure, you can probably see how many people viewed your commercial. But do you know how many viewers took action to seek out more information about your business? Or buy its advertised product or service? Normally, the answer to this question is no.
Digital marketing platforms, however, differ in the sense that you can easily track and measure KPIs. Whether it’s ad views, click-through rates (CTRs), conversions, etc., these are all things you can track with digital marketing.
And by measuring such KPIs, you can optimize your campaigns for a higher ROI. It’s just that simple.
It’s frustrating when you spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a new advertising campaign, only to wait several weeks for it to go live.
When you buy a direct mail campaign, for instance, the service provider may not mail your promotional material for two or three weeks.
If you need to generate revenue now, traditional advertising solutions such as this probably aren’t the best way to go.
Rather, you should choose digital marketing because of its instant results.
With digital marketing, results are often immediate. If you send an email to a list of prospective customers, for instance, those prospects will receive your email within seconds of clicking the “send” button.
And some of those prospects may purchase your products or service the same day, yielding instant sales for your small business. This alone is reason enough for small business owners to use digital marketing.
Real-Time Customer Service
Customer service is an important part of running a successful small business. When a customer has a concern, they may write on your business’s Facebook page, in which case you can respond to such inquiries to prevent them from snowballing into negative reviews.
Turning a blind eye to customer inquiries is a sure-fire recipe for disaster, as it can result in negative reviews that discourage other consumers from buying your business’s products or services.
So if you’re looking to improve customer relations and ultimately generate more sales, keep a close eye on inquiries made by customers and prospective customers.
It only takes a minute to respond to a Facebook message, but doing so can make a world of difference in the way in which customers and prospects perceive your business.
Your Target Audience Is Using the Internet
Regardless of the industry in which your small business operates, your target audience probably uses the Internet daily.
According to this infographic, 80% of consumers use the Internet to research information about a business’s products and services.
If you don’t maintain a strong and active presence on the Internet, which is typically achieved through digital marketing, those prospects will likely choose one of your competitors instead — and that’s something no small business owner wants to see happen.
As you can see, digital marketing offers numerous benefits for small business owners. From the growing trend of e-commerce to analytics tracking, real-time customer service and more, this is something that every small business owner should be using.
If you don’t have time to launch a digital marketing campaign for your small business, we can help. We love to see small businesses succeed! Schedule a FREE business growth call here to see how we can help your small business grow!
Have any other digital marketing strategies that you would like to share with our readers? Let us know in the comments section below!