Did you know that consumers spend about 50 minutes a day on Facebook? Or that 81% of people conduct a web search before making a purchasing decision? Whether you’re selling accounting services or beer, in today’s digital era there are plenty of opportunities to engage with your target customers online. And, if you’re not currently using online channels to grow your business, you’re missing out!
If you are not using online tools to grow your business, here are the top 8 reasons why you need to get started:
1. Customers are looking for you online. With the ease of the internet to search and find the best products and services it’s no surprise that most people search online before they buy. Today, 4 out of 5 people conduct a web search before making a purchasing decision, and 3 out of 4 B2B searches start with generic search engine research on sites like Google and Bing.
Do some quick research: Enter “Arlington, Virginia” or “Northern Virginia” and “[your top service or product type]” into your search bar. Is your business listed on the first page of the results? If you’re not at or near the top of this list, there is plenty of room to improve your digital strategy. And, if you are at the top of this list, congratulations! But, don’t stop reading. Continued and evolving digital strategies are necessary to maintain your spot.
2. They are finding your competitors (and not you). There’s no doubt; potential customers are searching online for the goods and services you are providing by using the search terms above. See those other companies listed higher on the page? They are getting your business. The competition online is fierce and you must do better than your competitors.
3. It’s cheaper and more effective than traditional marketing. Direct mail, trade shows, telemarketing and other traditional marketing tactics can be expensive and time consuming, while bringing minimal impact compared to digital techniques. Once you’ve completed your strategy, design and outreach you’ll likely end up with a large bill, and not enough new business to justify the expense. Traditional marketing tactics are also historically difficult to track and measure for success.
Today through digital marketing, businesses are saving more than 61% more per lead. Digital is easy to measure for success, refine and retarget. And the outcomes, including enhanced social media reach and SEO, are long lasting – not tossed out with yesterday’s paper.
4. You can easily refine your campaign and reach your target audience with precision. Traditional marketing is best described as a one-size-fits-all approach. You spend weeks to months working on a campaign that’s launched to a huge audience as you cross your fingers in the hopes of reaching your target customer. The evolution of marketing in today’s era has resulted in a virtual marketing pathway that enables businesses to precisely target your customer based on demographics, interests, geographic location and even email address. You can also pay based on views and clicks, and start and stop a campaign at any point.
5. You can interact with and learn from your customers. Most traditional marketing tactics only allow your message to go one way: from your business to your marketing audience. But, digital outreach allows you to seek responses and reply to your customers in real time. And the reports and analytics data show you what’s resonating with your audience and what’s not, so you can refine and re-launch based on their preferences. Changing and evolving your campaigns to meet your customers' needs has never been easier.
6. You can share your insights, expertise and opinions. Your customers are not just looking for your products or services; they are looking for the leading expert who can provide them with the most effective solution. Digital communications allows you to showcase your insights, expertise and opinions so your target customers recognize you as the go-to resource.
7. You can easily build your brand and reputation (with the right digital partner). In the fast-paced and crowded Northern Virginia business community it can be difficult to find the time to strategically build your brand relying on in-house resources alone. Many businesses do not have the internal capabilities or expertise to effectively launch a digital strategy; in fact, it doesn’t typically make sense to bring in a full-time, in-house expert. However, expanding your digital footprint can be easy when you’re working with the right digital marketing partner. A qualified external expert can help you tell your story online, build a positive image and grow your business in the digital era.
8. You need to evolve and grow (to survive). Throughout time, successful businesses have recognized the need to adapt to new technologies, and evolve their marketing practices to meet customers where they are interacting. If your business is not engaging with your customers online, other business are (i.e., your competitors), and you risk losing your business to them. Online searches for products and solutions like yours are happening on Google, and conversations about your products or services are happening on Facebook. Now is the time to get out there and engage and innovate.
While the internet brings endless opportunities to share and engage, the competition for your customers’ attention is fierce. Billions of gigabytes of information are posted online daily, reinforcing the need for your business to reach your customers where they are with relevant content and information.
Small business or large, if you are new to the digital world it can be challenging to get started. But, there’s good news: there are external partners, like myself, with expertise to bring you into the digital fold. My work at Spundl Digital Strategies centers on employing tactics that enable your business to effectively harness these channels. I rely on free and low-cost digital tools that position your products and services directly in front of your customers - at an average of 1/3 the cost of traditional marketing with better, long-term results. For all Arlington Chamber of Commerce members, I’m offering 50% off a Digital Opportunities Analysis from now through the end of August 2017. The analysis will provide you with an evaluation of the challenges and opportunities facing your business in the digital landscape, as well as a topline plan for action. I look forward to hearing from you and helping you grow!