Why (and How) Small Businesses need to do Online Marketing From the Get-go
So, you have started a small business of some kind; perhaps it is a local burger joint or a small manufacturing business for machinery parts, or something completely different. You are still looking for your footing, resembling Bambi when he first walks on the frozen pond. You are still trying to stay afloat and the last thing on your mind is online marketing. Well, that’s is a mistake. A mistake that may cost you dearly down the road.
Why this is a mistake
Sure, at a critical point like the first few months of running your business it may seem that marketing should be the last thing on your mind and that there are many more essential aspects of your operation that you need to be taking care of.
In today’s world, however, if you are not present online, it is as if you are invisible. Okay, maybe not entirely invisible, but definitely transparent. In any case, you are not reaching nearly as many people as you could by going online and doing some online marketing.
According to the numbers from Hubspot, more than 60% of internet users worldwide use the web to research products that they are looking to buy. If nothing else, they are learning new facts that will influence their decisions down the line. These could be your facts; facts that will, down the line, influence them to approach you and buy from you.
The most important thing to remember about these numbers and the importance of online marketing is that the percentage of people who go online to find products and services will only grow in time. You can see these trends most easily when you look at countries where internet is used much more extensively and heavily than in other parts of the world, like in Japan and South Korea.
There are other numbers that will illustrate how big of a mistake it is not to do online marketing. For example, according to these numbers from CMO Council, business-to-consumer ecommerce sales will rise by nearly 20% in a single-year span. Also, more than 70% of internet users are more willing to buy something from a brand that they follow on Facebook or Twitter, for example.
It’s not even all about the numbers
Even when you forget about the numbers, it is very clear that online marketing will, if nothing else, provide you with more exposure to people that might otherwise never hear about you. And it is not like you will be spending too much money or your time, which are the main reasons why online marketing is becoming so popular and why small business who are just starting are most likely to benefit from online marketing.
You have probably looked into the prices involved with local traditional media advertising. Even radio commercials and local paper ads will not come too cheap. Combine this with a relatively small number of people they will reach (geographically limited, on top of that) and it becomes clear that they are becoming less and less useful and attractive when compared to online marketing which can be done by spending very, very little, if anything.
How to correct the mistake
Now that we have covered the reason why small businesses need to start doing online marketing as soon as possible, it is time for us to look at how. Keep in mind that these will be just the basics as it would take up so much more time and space to even touch upon the more intricate and comprehensive online marketing techniques.
For one, you will need a website. It will be the cornerstone of your online presence and the marketing efforts that you will employ to spread the word about your business and your brand. Keep in mind that brand is essential for successful online marketing. This article from Marketing Angels blog will provide you with some valuable tools for branding your business.
Depending on your budget, you will be able to get a website that will be more or less elaborate but which should always be unique and in tune with your industry and your particular business. Keep in mind that your website needs to be mobile-friendly unless you wish to lose half of your potential visitors.
The next thing to do is to start using social networks which have permeated every facet of modern life and which can greatly improve the exposure of your brand. Your business will need profiles on all the biggest networks, such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and you will need to keep these profiles active. You can do this either manually or by using tools like TweetFavy that will provide you with some level of automatization and enhanced results.
There are other ways to increase the number of people that come to your website, which will need to be done through improving your position on Google. For example, a great blog will go a long ways, as will guest blogging on other, preferably popular blogs. In addition to this, you can always create instructional videos, host online events and perhaps dig even deeper when it comes to online marketing.
In short, every business, no matter how big or small needs to start doing online marketing and it is a fact. There will soon come a day when businesses without online presence will be truly invisible. On the other hand, those who build their online presence from the start will benefit from this and reap the benefits down the line.