The average small business spends 11% of their revenue on marketing. With a new wave of local customers just around the corner, it’s important that that marketing budget goes towards effective strategies. Digital marketing strategies are a must for small business owners to win new customers and gain new growth in the upcoming years. Here are my personal, top five ways for small business owners to win with digital marketing in 2022 and beyond.
Local businesses must have a digital marketing strategy. An effective strategy goes beyond having a website: it includes paid advertising, spotless reviews, friendly customer service and more. The local consumer finds, validates and chooses where to make their purchases online more than any other time in history. This means that your marketing strategy needs to cater to the high expectations of online consumers. One of those expectations is that your business is easy to work with online.
Your digital representation must match your brand promise. If someone clicks to call from your Google My Business page, it’s paramount that your response time and friendliness supports your digital identity. The local consumer has been treated to revolutionary convenience with the likes of Amazon. The local community now expects the same convenience from their local businesses. If your website isn’t mobile friendly or has a slow load speed, consumers will find your business cumbersome to work with and they’ll find an alternative. Similarly, if your return policies or customer service reps are difficult to navigate, consumers will find a more convenient and flexible business.
If your buying process is smooth in-store and offline, your online presence must reflect similarly.
If you are easy to work with online, you are building an asset for your business name. Local brand recognition is key in placing you ahead of the competition. When people in your community think of you, what do they think?
The local consumer has so much power with all the information at their fingertips. They have learned how to quickly spot a trustworthy brand. A business that cares about their brand integrity, follows through on their promises and lives out their values will always win in the long run. Digital marketing offers your brand the chance to grow in influence, recognition and, ultimately, trustworthiness with more potential customers.
Word-of-mouth marketing is still the greatest form of buying motivation. Online reviews are the digital word-of-mouth marketing. Reviews are powerful because they can be seen by the masses. Positive online reviews have an impressive compounding effect.
Local consumers often make decisions and judgment calls in three seconds or less.
Local consumers often make decisions and judgment calls in three seconds or less. They have been trained to validate a business through their overall online presentation. Local businesses that care about the voice of their customers show it by having a strategy to gain positive reviews and respond to negative reviews in a compelling and compassionate manner.
The MarTech (Marketing Technology) industry has over 10,000 vendors. Many of them are platforms focused on providing a value that relies on the business to do most of the work. Today, less than 4% of small business owners say they have a digital marketing partner who does the work for them and with them.
With how quickly digital marketing changes, the complexity of making strategies work and knowing how to optimize appropriately is virtually impossible for business owners to do on their own. The cost of online marketing isn’t cheap, but the cost of not doing it at all or doing it wrong is far greater. During the pandemic, many business owners lost their businesses when they weren't able to adapt their marketing efforts. Working with a partner who knows what they are doing and communicates through an ongoing relationship is the best chance at helping your business grow.
Consumers are now accustomed to buying online. Local consumers may want to do business with you without seeing you or coming to you. Making sure that you are set up to do business in a way that gets the long-term benefits of your marketing dollars matters more than ever. Cashless payments, loyalty programs and integrated CRM (Customer Relationship Management) solutions are all critical in the small business world today.
In the last two years we have experienced a rapid change of how consumers prefer to buy. The small and local businesses that evolve to not just accept the digital disruption, but use it to their benefit will win in the next decade.