Why Digital Marketing is so important for Small Business?
Digital Marketing for Small Business
The Internet and digital media have transformed marketing and business since the first website (http://info.cern.ch) went live in 1991. There are over one billion people around the world regularly using the web to find products, services and entertainment. We have travelled a long way since the Internets first adoption and the table below gives us an idea of the timeline of online services which highlights the innovation of business modeling and marketing communications approach.
The use of the internet and other digital media to support marketing has lead to a range of labels and jargon. For the purpose of this article I will use the term Digital Marketing, you may also come across Internet Marketing, e-marketing and web marketing but fundamentally all of these processes use the Internet as their platform to communicate and interact with online users. You may ask what is Digital Marketing and as per a definition from the latest edition of Digital Marketing Strategy, Implementation and Practice by Dave Chaffey and Fiona Ellis-Chadwick it can be quite simply defined as “Achieving marketing objectives through applying digital technologies”.
As a small business you may be asking yourself the question do traditional marketing campaigns still hold value in this new digital era? The answer to this question according to a blog on www.smallbusiness.yahoo.com is yes they do. Small businesses should look at how the two marketing strategies can be intertwined. Digital marketing is based on short cycles, real-time execution and one-to-one messaging. Based on the results of Digital marketing campaigns your small business will be able to gain a more in-depth look at consumers activity, preference, location, buying behaviour and interests. Traditional marketing is based on the “4 P’s” of marketing commonly known as the Marketing Mix – Product, Price, Place and Promotion. While Traditional marketing has the same goals as Digital marketing, traditional marketing use methods that involve longer planning cycles and run over extended periods of times for example Bill boards, TV, Radio and Telemarketing campaigns. As a marketeer for a small business your aim should be to ‘Bridge the Gap’ between digital and traditional media. TD Bank an American bank show a good example of how they have ‘bridged the gap’. When a customer accesses the TD Bank website their IP address is analyzed for location, which then results in a banner and video of local branches and management that customers can visit in person. TD Bank explain that this is their way of attempting to keep the narrative continuously flowing across all customer channels of influence.
As a small business when planning your overall marketing strategy it is important that every tactic and channel are leading and connecting with each other and are flowing in a constant loop. For example if you are running a radio or TV advert, as a call to action you can direct your audience to your Facebook page where you can continue the conversation with your audience.
The world of technology, digital marketing and social media is changing the way we do business and as a small business if you do not adapt to meet these needs your business is in danger of losing out! Understanding the minefield of digital marketing and social media before deciding what is right for your business is a challenge in itself. Many business owners are missing out on new ways to acquire customers, build brand loyalty and create communities simply because there is rarely any time left at the end of the day to experiment with new marketing methods. Here at Small Business Digital Marketing Guide will give you advice and tips on how to build a simple digital marketing strategy and in turn create a digital presence for your business.
It’s easy to get lost in the seemingly endless number of options to market and promote your small business. Perhaps you have heard about Twitter for ages, but you haven’t so much as tried to sign up for an account. You might be using Facebook as a social medium to catch up with friends and family, but you haven’t thought of setting up a business page on Facebook to keep in contact with your customers and even more importantly find new customers.
You maybe asking yourself at this stage ‘How much is this going to cost me?’. The good news is that you don’t need a huge budget to start your journey in to the digital world. In fact you don’t need much of a budget at all!
The landscape is widespread and therefore it is important to define your goals. What are you trying to get out of social media? Are you trying to generate leads, share content or create new relationships? What platform fits your business the best?
As a small business you might find it helpful to use a marketing model framework to help guide you in putting your Digital strategy together. SOSTAC was voted the third most popular model in the CIM poll on marketing models in 2011 because it is easy to remember and it makes it easy to structure plans for different planning activities. SOSTAC stands for
Situation – where we are now?
Objectives – where do we want to be?
Strategy – how do we get there?
Tactics – how exactly do we get there?
Action – what is our plan?
Control – did we get there?
If your business is beauty based or culinary you could benefit greatly from using Facebook, Twitter and Pintrest. Are you going to do the posting yourself? You need to consider the time it takes to form relationships and build a following. If your business is doing well maybe you will need to hire an expert who can dedicate their time to the many networking opportunities that revolve around social media. There are many platforms such as Hootsuite that can help you manage your social media.
Stay tuned and over the next few weeks here at Small Business Digital Marketing Guide we will help you to build a digital strategy which will help boost your businesses brand and awareness in today’s ever-changing marketplace.