Online marketing offers undeniable benefits for businesses savvy enough to take advantage of it.
According to Jenny Servis, Vice President of Marketing for SnapRetail, online marketing has gone from an option to an essential:
“Ten years ago it may have been a choice to jump on the online bandwagon, but now it’s an absolute must to survive and thrive as a small business. With over 85% of searches for products and services happening online, it’s just a ‘duh’ at this point,” Servis says. “Being online means having a responsive, search optimized website as well as an engaging and growing following on social media plus using email as part of your marketing mix.”
Digital marketing has become a must-have. But why? We’ve come up with 6 simple reasons your business needs online marketing more than ever.
6 Simple Reasons Your Business Needs Online Marketing
1) Your Customers are Online
If you remember anything from this post, remember this: you need online marketing because that’s where your customers are.
Since you made it to our blog, you probably don’t need us to explain how important the internet is to modern commerce.
We don’t need to mention facts like:
- about 25% of Americans make at least one weekly online purchase
- total online sales surpassed $304 billion in 2014
- 78% of mobile searches for local business information result in a purchase
We could go on, but you’ve got the idea. Your target audience is already out there, searching for what you do. Online marketing can lead them to you.
2) Increased Traffic = Increased Sales
It’s no secret that Google and other search engines favor websites that are constantly updated with unique, useful content that follows SEO guidelines.
While it may take a few months to show measurable results, a consistent online marketing effort will increase your company’s online visibility and drive more traffic to your site. More people reaching your site means more interest in what you offer.
Online marketing also includes setting your website up to drive conversions. Your page should encourage visitors down a path toward purchasing a product, signing up for a service, scheduling a consultation, etc. Optimizing for conversions means that more of those interested visitors will become buyers.
3) Cost Effective
Reaching your audience through online marketing is much more cost-effective than traditional methods. You aren’t paying for space on billboards, bus benches, or banners at baseball games. There are no physical maintenance or rental costs, and no store displays that have to be kept up.
As this infographic shows, reaching an audience of 2,000 potential customers through digital marketing is 50% less costly (at least) than any form of traditional marketing.
[Infographic: Seriously Simple Marketing]
For small business owners on a limited budget, online marketing makes a lot more sense than print, broadcast or direct mail advertising.
With an optimized website and online marketing, your business will no longer be limited by store hours.
Customers that find you online will be able to learn about your products during a 2 a.m. web search. And if your website sells your products, that random, late-night Googler could turn into a loyal customer – one that won’t require overtime hours for your staff.
Marketers have access to more data about their audience today than ever before.
Since everything online can be quantified, your marketing team can look at how many people are searching for relevant keywords to your industry, how many are adding local modifiers to their searches, and what they are looking for in a product or service.
Through website analytics, you can see how many people are visiting your page, what pages they are looking at, how long they stay, how they got there, and a thousand other details.
Tracking and analyzing online data enables you to target your ideal customers and personalize offers just for them.
Let’s say your ideal customer loves the outdoors, and also happens to love Sesame Street. (Anything is possible, right?) You can create a landing page just for them on your site.
Customization even allows you to follow website visitors after they have left your page. Through a tactic called remarketing, targeted ads for your business can appear on other pages courtesy of Google AdWords.
Instead of blanketing the general population with a generic advertisement, online marketing enables you to reach the right crowd and increase the return on your marketing dollar.
Connecting to your audience goes beyond data and analytics. Companies that are successful online use marketing strategies that increase a customer’s lifetime value by keeping them engaged with your brand.
For example, when a customer makes a purchase from your store, your website should automatically generate a confirmation and thank-you letter. But this is only a first step.
That same customer information can lead to a longer relationship with a few simple online marketing strategies. Email newsletters, product or service reviews through Yelp and social media, personalized offers (see #5) and discounts based on purchase history are all possible with online marketing.
Simple enough, right?
Finally, if you’re already marketing your business through traditional means, we’re not here to tell you to stop.
We believe in a holistic, “try it all” approach to marketing and advertising. That can include online marketing, email, print and TV ads, and those inflatable tube characters that flop around in front of car dealerships, assuming they’re effective.
Just remember: your audience is already online, looking for a business that does what you do. Online marketing reaches your customers where they are – on their smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktop computers. Expanding your online presence will help you connect with them and stay connected longer.
It’s as simple as that.