Online marketing isn’t something new for small businesses to consider anymore. In fact, it’s quite the opposite… having been going on for years and seemingly has no end in sight. Yet, far too many small business owners neglect how important online marketing is for their business success. Among the reasons this seems to be is time. Another money. And yet another is that they don’t care. The reality is, however, customers do care and in order to be relevant in today’s crowded marketplace, being online is a must.
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,” shares Jenny Servis, Vice President of Marketing for marketing solutions company SnapRetail. Expanding on this, Servis adds that “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.”
Having a website that’s search optimized, being on social media that you actually engage with and incorporating email into your marketing strategy may seem like a hefty load to carry, but the reality is it is almost too easy for small businesses to do nowadays. Automated marketing solutions help make consistent, frequent updates to all these channels nearly turn-key, and the data that’s tracked from social media, email marketing and other online strategies offers more than enough of a reason to make it a priority. The key word here is data – something small businesses can really gain from when reviewing it and reacting to it consistently.
Online or Offline Marketing… Do You Have to Make a Choice?
Many businesses, particularly those that don’t actually sell anything online, often complain that there’s not enough time in the day to “do it all” and as a result, online marketing gets shoved to the side. Unfortunately, this isn’t how customers make decisions. The reality is consumers – likely even you – turn to the internet to discover what to do, where to go, who to buy things from and more. Keeping this in mind, shopping online isn’t the only reason people go online. Instead, being online leverages multiple avenues for small businesses to gain visibility among consumers.
As Servis explains, “leveraging your online and offline marketing together can more than double your efforts.”
No matter what you’re selling, in all likelihood you are selling yourself. I make it my business to get to know you, your reputation, your product or service as well as your competitor’s reputation – their strength and weaknesses. In the end together we create revenue. Your goal is to fill the first page of Google with as many positive results as possible. Don’t underestimate the value of an integrated personal and business brand; and don’t overestimate the amount you think you need to spend to brand yourself. It is my business to brand you. Laura Erasmus|Corporate Axtion International – Social Media Marketing