Digital marketing is online marketing that refers to promoting products and services through various digital channels, including email, SEO, social media, mobile apps, and more. In general, any form of marketing that involves using electronic devices can be considered digital marketing.
In this article, we are going to talk about the use of digital marketing for local businesses and its benefits compared to traditional marketing.
Why is digital marketing important for business?
As a business owner, you should understand that digital marketing is important for your business’ success. However, in order to achieve your marketing goals, you should use effective and profitable marketing techniques and tools. Here is why digital marketing is important for business and why you should consider using it:
- It helps promote your business 24/7. The best thing about the Internet is that it never sleeps. That means you can use online assets for your marketing all the time. If you use them (websites, blogs, social media pages, etc.) correctly, they will work as your salespeople by selling your products and services and attracting new clients non-stop.
- It is cost-effective. In comparison to traditional methods of marketing, digital marketing is cost-effective. For example, such online marketing channels as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook can be used for free. And even if you decide to use their paid advertising options, most of them are affordable for small businesses.
- It helps target the right audience. One of the best things about digital marketing is that it allows businesses to target the right segments of the audience across regions. There are numerous tools that help track the online activities of the audience and their demographic information. Digital marketing also allows to target the right audience with relevant content and offers based on what stage the target audience is at within the buying journey.
- It connects with the customer. As a business owner, you need to know how to treat your current and prospective customers. With the help of digital marketing, business owners can use online space to reach out to their customers and treat them accordingly. Businesses can create an online community of loyal followers and fans.
Does digital marketing replace traditional marketing?
It is important to understand first what traditional marketing is. Traditional marketing is defined as any form of marketing that uses offline channels to reach an audience. The most common examples of traditional marketing include TV, radio, newspapers and magazines, billboards, and mail advertisements.
Since digital marketing is becoming more and more popular, one of the main questions is whether it will replace traditional marketing. It is obvious that traditional marketing is not as relative as it used to be, but it is still used in many industries. Traditional forms of marketing are usually more effective, but many companies keep using them to promote their products and services. Billboards, for example, are among the most effective traditional marketing tools because of the amount of time people spend in their cars every day. For example, an average American spends over 17,000 minutes in a car every year. That is why it is no surprise that outdoor advertisement, including billboards, is still very popular and effective.
It is also important to remember that there is a large sector of the population that trusts traditional marketing more. They grew up with traditional marketing and are accustomed to it. It is impossible to say what the future of traditional marketing will be hundreds of years from now, but it will definitely remain quite popular in the near future, especially for certain businesses and industries.
Here is a list of key benefits of digital marketing over traditional marketing:
- Wider reach. With digital marketing, you can reach millions of people in a short period of time. If you use traditional marketing, you can target an audience in a particular location only.
- Affordability. Digital marketing is more affordable, especially for small businesses and young entrepreneurs with a limited budget. Due to its higher cost, larger and established companies usually use traditional marketing.
- Real-time results. When you use digital marketing, you do not have to wait for weeks or months to see and analyze the results of your marketing campaign. With digital marketing, you can see everything in real time, including the number of visitors, bounce rates, conversion rates, most active time of the day, and more.
So, is digital marketing replacing traditional marketing? Yes, it may replace traditional marketing, but not right now. Even though digital marketing services has been on the rise and continues to become more and more popular, traditional marketing is still a key component to reach certain sectors of the population.
Getting started on digital marketing for small businesses
Are you ready to start working on your digital marketing strategy for growing your business? Before you start, you need to learn about the most popular and effective digital marketing channels that you can use for your business:
- Social media marketing. According to the result of numerous studies, almost 72% of adults in the United States used at least one social media network on a regular basis. You can use any social network in your digital marketing strategy, whether it is Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. It will be even more effective if you use all of them. The use of social media networks is beneficial for any type of business that deals with the public.
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization). By using local SEO solutions in your digital marketing strategy, you help the website of your company to come up often and in top positions in search engines, including Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Local SEO for small businesses helps online users find businesses organically, which increases their trust. Moreover, with the help of local SEO for your business, you also help existing and prospective clients connect with your brand.
- Email marketing. It is one of the simplest channels in digital marketing with great returns. Email marketing can be defined as the process of acquiring email addresses of potential customers and sending them emails. It is an effective way to reach your audience directly, and it can yield fast results. In order to start using this channel, you need an email list with addresses of your current or potential customers.
- Video marketing. People like watching online videos and spend about 16 hours per week doing that. It is one of the most effective digital marketing channels: about 86% of businesses using video marketing in their marketing strategy say that it generates leads for their businesses.
- Pay-per-click (PPC). It is a channel of digital marketing where the advertiser pays a certain fee each time when someone clicks on their ad. According to statistics, almost 74% of businesses use this model as one of the major components of their marketing strategy. PPC advertising is effective because it provides nearly immediate sales.
- Influencer marketing. Influencer marketing is becoming more and more popular today. It is a local marketing service that uses content creators and influencers to share a product, brand, or service experience on their social media platform, such as Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. It is one of the best marketing tools to increase brand awareness and build trust and credibility.
Now that you know about the most effective online marketing channels that you can use to promote your business or brand online, keep on reading to find out to make your marketing strategy more effective.
Realize Your Customers Are Online
One of the most important things you need to understand is that people interested in your business or brand always start researching online to find more information about it. Your prospective clients expect to find a website or social media page to learn about you. They also may be looking for reviews to see what other people say about your business or brand. According to statistics, about 87% of prospective customers read online reviews, and this number continues to grow.
Therefore, you should understand that if prospective clients cannot find any information about your business online, they may think that your business is not legitimate. As a result, they may not take it seriously and decide not to get involved with it. Instead, they will most likely go somewhere else. For this reason, it is very important for businesses to be discoverable online. You should create a website, Etsy page, Instagram or TikTok account – whatever you decide is the best online platform to engage with your current and prospective clients.
Find Out What Your Competitors Are Doing Online
It is very important to keep an eye on your competitors, see what they are doing online, and conduct regular competitor analysis. Competitor analysis is defined as the process of analyzing the marketing strategies and business characteristics of the businesses operating in a given market.
Here is a list of reasons why you should conduct competitor analysis regularly and keep checking the online activity of your competitors:
- To catch up with market trends and industry. Market trends tend to change, and many trends are seasonal recurring annually. In order to be aware of them, you should monitor the competitor landscape all the time.
- To learn the mistakes you should avoid. It is definitely better to let your competitors test new marketing channels and tools and make mistakes, which will help you save your budget and not to waste it. Learning from your competitors’ experience is one of the best things you can do.
- To adjust your strategy and goals. The online market is always changing, and by watching the online activity of your competitors, you may decide to adjust your strategy, as well as your goals and objectives.
Get to Know Your Target Audience
One of the main benefits of digital marketing is that it allows you to engage with your current customers and prospects. By interacting with them online, you can learn what they are looking for and how you can help them. You can gather information about your target audience to learn about their needs and problems and offer solutions through your services or products.
Digital marketing helps you build a personal relationship with your customers. You become more than just a business, you become your audience’s trusted partner. You should remember that people like buying from businesses that they trust and have had a good experience with.
Here is what you can do to get to know your target audience better:
- Conduct surveys. Surveys are an effective tool to get specific answers to questions you have for your audience about your product, services, or company in general.
- Monitor audience comments, engagements, and feedback. When you monitor the actions of your audience, you learn a lot about their preferences, likes, and dislikes. You can monitor the feedback of your audience through surveys and forms, feedback, comments, customer support channels, forums, community web pages, and more.
- Utilize analytics. When you use analytics, you can learn where your audience is coming from, how and how much time they are engaging with your content, what they are most interested in, and what lights their fire. One of the most popular and effective online tools that you can use to get this data is Google Analytics. This tool is free, but there are also similar paid tools that you can use as well.
- Analyze your competitors. As mentioned above, analyzing your competitors is a very effective tool that you can use in your digital marketing strategy. It also helps you get to know your target audience better. For example, you can read reviews on your competitors’ products and services on Google, Yelp, and Amazon to get to know the audience you share.
Do more marketing for less money!
If you choose to grow your business, you should consider using digital marketing because it is one of the best ways to do no more marketing for less money. The best thing about digital marketing is that you can create an effective digital marketing strategy without investing a lot. It is possible to say that digital marketing today is the most effective way to grow your business, establish trustful relationships with your audience, and promote your products or services.
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