How Digital Marketing Can Help Your Local Business Grow
Written by Shawn Byrne, Forbes Online
Times have indeed changed. It seemed like only yesterday when businesses were entirely dependent on traditional marketing avenues to get the word out about their products and services.
Now experts are saying that digital ad spending worldwide is expected to account for half of the predicted global ad spending across all media by 2020. While that doesn’t mean that traditional marketing is dead, it surely signals that digital marketing has come a long way and is poised to become the most potent form of marketing in the world today.
The beauty of digital marketing is that it boasts a wide variety of strategies that are applicable to businesses of all shapes and sizes. Digital marketing works for companies with a global reach as well as for local businesses. If you’re running one or a few of the latter, here are some ways digital marketing can help your local business grow.
One of the most common issues facing small, local businesses related to their marketing is budget, which is often limited at best. With traditional marketing channels like TV and print charging an arm and a leg for advertising, local businesses tend to have a hard time competing with bigger companies for ad space — and the attention of consumers.
However, with the cost-effectiveness of digital marketing platforms like social media, your local business should be able to reach the same number of people at a fraction of the cost. That means the products or services of your local business still get marketed to people, and you won’t need to spend a lot of money to do it.
Reaching the right people is essential to any marketing campaign. Digital marketing tactics allow you to target specific people who are interested in your local company and the products or services that you offer.
SEO, for example, allows local companies to optimize for location-specific keywords for their specific type of business so that when users type them in a search engine, it will readily serve up the information they need. And if your business is at or near the top of that list, users will likely click on it, and you will have reached your target customers, all because you optimized your website for local SEO.
You also get to set your target audience whenever you create a PPC or pay-per-click ad or a Facebook ad. You can use age, gender, hobbies, occupation and other attributes to describe your target audience. You can be as specific as you like when you’re targeting customers through such digital marketing platforms.
Digital marketing strategies also allow you to create buyer personas, which are essentially made-up people who possess the attributes of your ideal customer. With these buyer personas, you can target the most likely people who will be interested in your products or services.
With the narrower focus provided by digital marketing strategies, your local business should be able to use its marketing budget more efficiently and effectively.
Highly Measurable Results
If there’s one thing about digital marketing that will definitely help you as you grow your local business, it’s the measurability of all its results. You need to know if your marketing campaign is working or not, and tracking everything is so much easier when it’s digital.
Unlike traditional marketing, digital marketing has no room for guesswork. Every tactic used in every campaign is measurable, thanks to digital marketing analytics.
With the data that Google Analytics and other similar tools provide, you get to see if a particular approach is effective or if it needs some tweaking. You can also use the things you learn and apply them to future campaigns to ensure better success rates.
The capability to track and measure results in real-time also enables you to make adjustments to the way you use your marketing budget. If analytics say a particular tactic isn’t working, you can simply redirect your resources to the ones that actually work, allowing you to reduce unnecessary expenses at the same time. That way, you can concentrate on strategies that will more likely help your local business grow.
The Mobile Advantage
The number of mobile users has long outnumbered those of desktop users, and the difference will only grow more significant over time. For your local business to grow, you need to reach the mobile population who tend to search for things they want to try in a specific location and do their buying exclusively on their mobile devices.
If you make your website mobile-friendly, you will have a digital marketing tool capable of reaching billions of mobile users at your disposal. Remember, sites that aren’t mobile-friendly don’t display well and are harder to navigate on smartphones and tablets. Mobile users have no qualms about dropping your website if they find navigating it on their devices bothersome and time-consuming.
These are just some of the ways digital marketing can help your local business on the road to earning more leads, conversions and revenue. Results may not be instant, but digital marketing, when done right, can take your local business where you want it to be over time.