Your small business is up and running, however, you are a little lost when it comes to marketing and gaining more fans, followers, and customers. Marketing can be quite the science and can take a fair amount of planning and strategize to be completely successful and worth the budget you are allocating to marketing.
When it comes to marketing for small businesses it is advised to begin with the internet or digital marketing to secure your initial audience. When mentioning the term “internet marketing”, a wide variety of questions come to mind and need to be addressed.
What is Internet Marketing?
If marketing is not something you are too familiar with, then you may have a dozen questions about internet marketing, what it is, how it works and what you need for it to be successful. First of all, internet marketing refers to all marketing activities that play out on the internet, quite obviously.
The Internet or digital marketing as it is more commonly known, involves a variety of areas, namely social media, search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and email marketing.
Digital or internet marketing is known for being highly beneficial to marketing strategies for a variety of reasons, most notably for being extremely cost-effective and wide reaching. It is important for businesses looking into internet marketing to first identify their audience to determine if they are internet users.
For example, a product that targets an elderly population who are not predominantly active on the internet, should not be doing internet marketing, unless the marketing targets their internet-using families. Additionally, if you are targeting populations who do not have easy access to the internet, you might need to consider a different approach.
Why is internet marketing important to small businesses?
Internet marketing is an ideal platform for small businesses to really connect with their audiences and target markets in a meaningful and effective way. Internet marketing makes it easier for consumers to engage with brands and ultimately build relationships of trust.
The internet has provided consumers with instant gratification in terms of obtaining information on a product they intend to buy and even purchase them from the comfort of their homes. The internet is a 24/7, 365 resource, allowing consumers to engage with the information you put out there at any given time that suits them.
That being said, a website is a marketing tool that promotes your website 24 hours a day and is readily available whenever a consumer is searching for information.
The traditional “word-of-mouth” marketing has now expanded to a whole new level with social media and online reviews. Almost 90% of people trust reviews and testimonials posted online, regardless of who posted them.
This goes above and beyond reviews and recommendations by friends and family in traditional marketing terms. Consumers can now communicate their opinions and experiences with products to complete strangers.
For small businesses with small marketing budgets, internet marketing is the way to go since it is much more cost-effective. Traditional marketing generally costs a lot more than digital methods for the same results.
Digital methods can also be tracked and analyzed more effectively than traditional marketing methods.
Why do small businesses need to embrace internet marketing?
In addition to the points above regarding the importance of internet marketing, there are many more reasons why small businesses, in particular, need to embrace the digital side of marketing.
One great thing about internet marketing is the ability to target your audience. If you know you are only targeting women, or consumers aged 22- 45, internet marketing provides you with a way to seek out those exact audience demographics.
Marketing activities can thus, be streamlined to the people who need to see your advertising. This also helps keep your marketing efforts effective within a cost-effective budget.
Knowing who your audience is and being able to target them also helps if you have different categories of targeted consumers. You have the ability to tailor your digital content to the various groups without an overly-excessive budget.
Providing your consumers with content they enjoy, appreciate and find useful is also beneficial in improving customer retention rates, as well as customer satisfaction and experience, which will lead to improved leads and sales.
Marketing Strategy for small businesses
As they say: “Content is king” and is most certainly one of the most important elements of marketing online. When consumers see that you are committed to providing them with useful and meaningful information that interests them, they are more likely to value your brand highly.
The ultimate goal of content marketing is to turn the average visitor to your site or social media page into a loyal customer.
Social media can be tricky and depends on the type of business you have. This goes hand-in-hand with knowing your who your audience is. If your audience is predominantly active on LinkedIn, you probably won’t get too far by putting a huge amount of effort into marketing on Twitter.
Search Engine Marketing and Optimization
The majority of product research starts with a search engine. This is why marketing on search engines and ensuring you have a good SEO strategy is of great importance, especially for small businesses.
It also affords you the opportunity to compete with bigger companies by making your brand and business more visible in the digital sphere.
This form of marketing is all about building a database of prospective and definite customers. This generates an interest in your product or service right in people’s inboxes.
It is also an important form of marketing since consumers choose to participate in this marketing activity since they would have opted in to receive your emails.
Small businesses can benefit greatly from internet marketing while remaining within their often, quite limited marketing budgets. The greatest benefit, however, is that small business have the opportunity to compete on a larger scale with big businesses and known brands in the market.
Internet marketing has opened a whole new world for small business to succeed and grow in their given industry.