The benefits of digital marketing for small businesses

August 11, 2014 10:09 am The UK Domain

This is not to say that all traditional marketing has been superseded by digital. Every business is different. For some, the ideal marketing mix may include TV campaigns, radio spots or print advertising. For others, a blend of both digital and traditional could work better. The important thing is to take all avenues into consideration when planning your strategy.

The changing world of technology and the evolving face of social media is having a significant impact on how consumers behave and how businesses interact with them. Digital marketing methods can offer businesses a way to move with these online trends and communicate with their target audience in the most effective ways possible.

Benefits of digital marketing

Digital marketing relies on strategies that work well across the internet and mobile devices. For businesses with big plans and small budgets, this type of marketing has many benefits. Here are just a few reasons why you and your business should harness the power of digital marketing:

1. It’s more cost-effective

Most traditional forms of marketing such as print, radio and television advertising can be expensive and it can be difficult to measure return on investment (ROI). The reason for this is because traditional marketing usually works in the form of one-way communication, making it difficult to measure the effectiveness of your campaign and how you are influencing buyers’ behaviour. With digital marketing there are many other ways businesses can use assets such as email, social media, and banner ads. These methods offer ways to open up engaging conversation with customers and you can accurately track the results by measuring clicks, email responses and general interaction with your digital marketing. This tracking means that you are able to measure Cost Per Click (CPC) – how much it costs you every time someone interacts with your advertising – which in turn means you can measure your campaign effectiveness more easily.

2. Realtime results

Digital marketing enables you to implement a campaign almost instantaneously. You don’t have to wait for weeks to see it come to life. This is great for businesses that rely on being reactive to the latest big news and market trends. The added bonus is that you can monitor your campaign results whilst they are running so if they’re not performing as well as you’d hoped, you can try a new tactic or drop it all together.

3. You can build more engaging relationships

There is so much more potential to reach larger and more targeted audiences using digital marketing. With this comes the opportunity to engage with the right audience in more meaningful ways. You can respond quickly to queries, join in conversations, outreach to potential customers and take on board any feedback straight away.

4. It’s easy to measure results

You can see the results of your marketing campaigns almost immediately. This will help you to measure things like how well your posts or promotions are performing: if your subscribers or website visitors have increased since the start of a campaign and what content is driving them to your site. From this you can analyse what is and isn’t working at the touch of a button.

Digital Marketing Channels

Online marketing doesn’t only revolve around your website. Although this is an important part of it, you should be aware of other channels that will aid your digital marketing strategy. Whether you’re looking at low budget or blow–the- budget campaigns, these forms of digital marketing are ideal for small businesses as you can adapt your activity to suit your financial situation:

1. Content marketing

Your website is a powerful tool within your marketing strategy. Most of the time this is where you will be directing your customers to when you engage with them so it’s important to ensure you have interesting content to keep your customers on the site for longer. Start by keeping an interesting blog so that you can share relevant content with your customers and draw them to your site. With new technologies, more people are reading content on their mobile phones and tablets than ever before. It’s important to ensure your website is easy to browse and interact with on these different devices so that customers can have a good user experience on the move.

2. Search engine marketing

Stay ahead of your competitors by driving traffic to your website using Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). It works by optimising your site to increase its organic ranking in search engine results (for example how high up you would appear in a search list on Google), so that customers will be more likely to visit your site. Search engine marketing focuses on improving your ranking using specific methods such as improving your use of keywords (words and phrases relevant to what you do on your site). You can find out more information on how to improve your SEO with Google’s Webmaster Tools.

3. Pay-per-click advertising

Pay-per-click (PPC) is an advertising model that helps to drive traffic to your site using a clickable advert (known as a banner ad), which is hosted on websites or search engines. The advertiser pays the publisher (the website owner) for the amount of times the advert is clicked. PPC relies on the use of effective keywords or phrases, together with well written website content that will engage your customers enough to click on your links and visit your site. You’ll see examples of these ads on popular sites like Facebook or search engines like Google. You can set your own budgets and turn the advertising on and off when needed so it’s a great option for small businesses looking to test different marketing channels.

4. Email marketing

Email marketing is a great way to build your target customer list in a cost–effective way. Once subscribers have opted-in to receive information from your business, you can then contact them directly with offers, promotions, engaging content and news. Make sure you address emails personally and only send content that is relevant and engaging to ensure your customers always read it. There are a range of email marketing services available with a variety of packages to suit businesses big and small such as sendblaster.co.uk or wiredmarketing.co.uk. Most email marketing services offer the ability to track results so you can see how many people have read your email and even what links they are clicking on within it.

5. Social media marketing

Social media has become one of the most powerful marketing tools a business can have. It allows businesses to get in touch with their customers on a more personal and interactive level by using platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube and more. It doesn’t have to cost much either. There are options to allocate budget to pay for advertising and promote your online content to wider audiences. For more information about using social media within your marketing strategy read our 5 ways to use social media and tap into trends blog.

Digital marketing is something that every business should understand and incorporate into their strategy. Make sure you keep your overall goals in mind as this will help you determine the right online channels to leverage so that you can deliver the best results for your business.