Mar 1, 2016

Does Your Small Business Really Need Online Marketing to Thrive?

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For the “big boys” of your industry, having a strong digital presence and marketing via the Internet is a virtual no-brainer. After all, these major corporations and institutions must cater to a larger audience and fuel growth via a variety of channels to remain profitable and viable.

But does this same concept also apply to small businesses like your own? To answer this question once and for all – and prove that online marketing is essential for organizations of all shapes and sizes – let’s break down the current case against this practice for small business, as well as all of benefits that you’ll be missing out on if your brand doesn’t embrace this form of digital consumer outreach.

Breaking Down the Case Against Online Marketing

Before delving into what you stand to gain by enacting a proactive online marketing strategy, it’s a good idea to break down the commonly cited reasons related to why this practice doesn’t translate to the realm of small businesses. Fortunately, industry experts, like Forbes magazine’s Jayson DeMers, have already done an excellent job of dispelling these misguided myths.

  • “My customers don’t use the Internet.” – Considering that CNN’s 2015 report regarding Internet usage shows that 17 billion people worldwide use the Internet – and 69 percent of Americans shop online at least once a month according to the Mintel marketing intelligence agency – it’s hard to believe that any business could truly fall under this blanket categorization.
  • “Online marketing is too expensive.” – Like purchasing an ad in the local paper or renting a billboard, online marketing is an investment. If you properly enact this strategy, either on your own or with the help of a team of trusted professionals, then generating a positive return on this investment (ROI) and more than covering your expenses is a fairly straightforward process.
  • “It’s just a fad.” – Saying that online advertising – a pillar of the digital customer experience – is just a fad is like saying the world is flat; you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone with more than a rudimentary understanding of the Internet that would be willing to truly stake their reputation to such an absurd notion.
  • “I already have plenty of customers.” – If you’re perfectly fine with having a “cap” on how many sales you generate and how much revenue your business brings in, then consider yourself one of the few lucky smaller brands that just might be able get by without a smart approach to online marketing.

As you can see, the case against marketing online as a small business is a flimsy one at best. In fact, adopting this mindset is an easy way to damage the viability of your brand and let a hefty amount of potential sales slip through the cracks.

Why You Need to Embrace Online Marketing Today

Now that you understand why the points of contention levied against online marketing for small businesses don’t actually carry any weight, it’s time to talk about what you stand to gain if you’re willing to commit to a progressive approach on this front. Naturally, the best place to start this portion of the conversation is with how online marketing can bolster your bottom line.

“Through this channel, you’ll be able to reach out to targeted audiences, generate leads and achieve as much as 24% increase in conversion rates. – Jomer Gregario, Business 2 Community

In his look at the benefits of online marketing for small businesses, Business 2 Community’s Jomer Gregario points out that the biggest reason to embrace this form of outreach is a fairly simple one: Marketing online is a powerful way to increase conversions and revenue. Regardless of your chosen industry or marketplace, it’s hard to say, “No thanks!” to a healthy influx of sales.

Online marketing doesn’t just offer a short term jump in sales though. It also is a means to greater business sustainability and longevity. Specifically, this practice ensures that your brand competes on a level playing field with its larger competitors, all while tapping into the increasingly important and constantly growing sectors of social media and mobile shopping.

From a big picture perspective, adopting a strong stance on online marketing also prepares you for the inevitable rise of the completely interconnected “Internet of Things” that major research institutes like Gartner predict will define the modern customer experience by as early as 2020. In other words, as smartphones, tablets, wearable tech like Google Glass, and other technologies continue to shape the daily interactions of the average person, your small brand will be ready and waiting to make the most of this ongoing digital revolution.

At the end of the day, your brand is well within its rights to eschew the power of online marketing and continue interacting with customers on its own terms. However, with so much information pointing toward this practice as the right call for your organization, it’s hard to imagine any small business that’s serious about making a splash with its target audience actually turning away from the benefits of this digital outreach process.




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