Myth disproved: “I am a small business, I don’t need digital marketing”
If you are an entrepreneur, own a small or medium business (SBM), you might have to wear many hats, and, understandably, staying on top of marketing trends isn’t necessarily your top priority. However, as we discussed in our previous articles (customer loyalty, customer retention and pain points), customer experience is now the new key brand differentiator, overtaking price and product, and the question is not whether or not you need digital marketing anymore, but whether or not you can satisfy the growing need of your customers’ for smart, omnichannel marketing solutions. If you don’t have an in-house digital expert, this might sound overwhelming so let us break it down for you.
Millennials, born and raised in the digital era, are now the largest living generation of consumers (CSBS). That means they are your consumers too. They are used to having everything at their fingertips, their bread and butter is the Internet, they use computers, tablets, and smartphones with their eyes closed. If a business wants to reach Millennials, it has to have an active online presence and to be easily accessible. We discussed the difference between multichannel and omnichannel marketing (The key differences between multichannel and omnichannel strategies) and, even though we know that omnichannel strategies are certainly taking over, you don’t have to employ them right away. Let’s take one step at a time and examine how to get started in the digital world.
1. Have a mission statement. Defining your mission is the very first step to build any kind of (digital) presence as it pretty much compasses everything you’ll do (online). You need to know what your long-term goal is, what you’d like to achieve.
2. Know your customers. This is also a crucial point in your digital journey – how could you target them if you don’t know who they are, what they need, what they like? Know your worth and what kind of problem you can solve for your customers.
3. Brand your business. Think of it as a human being with its own personality, style, tone, colors, hobbies. Have a brand story about how your business came to live, what motivated you, why you do what you do.
4. Develop a digital strategy. This step might be the most complex one on the list and you may need an expert to help you master it. The 6 major steps are:
- define your goals,
- pick your channels,
- develop a content strategy,
- create a content calendar,
- execute everything you’ve planned,
- monitor and measure the results.
5. Create a website. If creating websites is not your cup of tea, it might seem like rocket science but there are several platforms, such as Squarespace, Wix, and WordPress, that you can easily use to design a basic website (without any coding knowledge) that displays your products, services, mission statement, location, contact information, etc.
6. Make your business available on Google, a.k.a. create a Google My Business account. With Google’s over 92% dominance in the search engine market, it’s crystal clear why every business has to be present here – to be found by potential customers. Millennials don’t go looking twice if they haven’t found what they were looking for at first glance.
7. Use social media platforms. There are plenty of platforms all over the Internet and although it might be tempting to sign up for all of them, the key is to choose the right ones for your business and be active. You need to consider your niche, the age bracket of your customers, where they like to spend time, what interests them, what kind of content they prefer to consume, so on and so forth.
8. Build partnerships with local niche influencers, non-competitive local businesses, nonprofits, and your best customers (they are the best advocates). This can be a smart, cost-effective strategy to connect with the right audience.
9. Advertise. We know that being a small or medium business quite often means being on a budget, however, you can start small, experiment, monitor the results, feel it out and go from there. Try advertising in social media, Google Adwords, and even in local print publications if applicable. Be creative, cooperate with other local businesses, organize an open day and give your potential customers a chance to meet you and get to know your products/services.
If you have some experience with digital marketing, after reading this article, you might see more clearly and have a better idea on how to get started, however, if you’re brand new to this topic, you might be even more confused. We know that these 9 steps can seem pretty overpowering when you have to handle so many different aspects of your business, but luckily you don’t have to do it all on your own. Explore Liferay’s digital solution and let us take some of your load off!