The COVID-19 pandemic has been a crash course in the importance of online marketing for small business owners. While big businesses were able to bank on cash reserves or grab government handouts, many small businesses are getting by through inventive means. The struggle has been even more difficult for small businesses without an online presence. Lacking a website, email lists, strong social profiles or any other digital channels, small businesses relied on word-of-mouth to stay afloat.
Now, as small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMBs) start to open their doors, they’re working hard to make up for lost time (and revenue). It’s the perfect time to explore the benefits of working with a digital marketing agency. Not only can a marketing agency help SMBs get business back on track, it can help them prepare for the next major business disruption, whatever that may be.
Every small business needs digital marketing
Almost all small businesses (89%) invest in marketing, which demonstrates the value of marketing efforts. More small businesses (35%) prefer digital marketing than traditional marketing (31%).
There are lots of misconceptions out there about digital marketing agencies and SMBs. I can’t afford digital marketing or my business isn’t big enough to market are two of the most common. What many small business owners are surprised to realize is that they can afford to market themselves and they are big enough to benefit from regular digital marketing. Even more eye-opening are the benefits that come from partnering with a digital marketing agency.
The fact is, many SMBs avoid digital marketing for simple reasons. They don’t have time. They don’t understand it. It’s too much work. Most know they should market online, but hide behind fallacies like cost. It’s too expensive. Between this and dozens of other excuses—and misconceptions like those above—there are plenty of reasons not to hire a digital marketing agency. But they don’t come close to outweighing the reasons you need to start marketing online.
- Your customers are increasingly online, and they’re looking for you there
- Your competitors are online, taking up market share that you’re neglecting
- Digital marketing levels the playing field, allowing you to compete with larger businesses
- Digital marketing is data-driven, allowing you to track results and improve execution
- Online campaigns are more cost-efficient and come with higher ROI than physical ones
The list of benefits goes on, and on, and on… and on. The best way to tap into these benefits? You guessed it: a digital marketing agency. An agency brings SMBs the full suite of experience and skills they need to get their business up and running online, and continue to identify and pursue opportunities for growth.
Digital marketing channels are diverse
How many different ways are you interacting with your customers? You might have a website and social media platforms. Some SMBs send out regular emails. Some even have Google Ads campaigns running regularly. It’s a good start, but did you know that there are as many as 50 different digital marketing channels small businesses can capitalize on?
The value in hiring a digital marketing agency isn’t just tapping into a broader scope of marketing opportunities—it’s utilizing these diverse channels effectively. What if you could get customers to buy your products through Instagram, improve brand credibility through Quora and get an invite to a local trade show through online networking—all at the same time? Better still, what if you didn’t have to do any of the work to make this happen?
There aren’t enough hours in the day for small business owners to effectively tap into all avenues of digital marketing. Hiring a digital marketing agency is a responsible way to delegate the task to an entire team of professionals who can do it for you. You don’t need to master Twitter or figure out how to film and host a YouTube video, but you’ll still reap the benefits of these digital marketing resources.
Don’t see the point in broad digital marketing? Consider the importance of diverse online exposure:
- 41% of local businesses depend on social media to drive revenue
- 41% of brick-and-mortar buyers read reviews before making a purchase
- Email marketing’s average ROI can be as high as 122%
- 18% of marketers say content marketing has the greatest impact on their business
- 87% of marketers say video has increased traffic to their website
- The Google Ad Display Network reaches 90% of Internet users worldwide
There’s a never-ending treasure trove of data that shows just how effective small businesses are when they put their digital marketing strategy in the hands of experienced professionals. From video and blog content, to paid ads and SEO, to email marketing, networking, lead-gen and more, there are opportunities for small business success across the web.
Keeping SMBs open for business
The Internet doesn’t close its doors—not even for a pandemic. As many SMBs have recently learned, digital is the best way to keep business running when there’s disruption at the front door.
Rewind six months and ask yourself what you’d do to prepare for the greatest public health threat in a generation. How would you keep your business running, even when you knew you had to physically close the doors? Chances are, you’d pivot and start marketing online aggressively. That way, when things shut down, you’d have a backup plan up and running.
For many businesses, this was a reality. They were already marketing on social media, already sending emails, and they already had a sales-driven website. With their physical business shut down, they made a shift to digital. Restaurants took online orders via social media and coordinated curbside pickup. Plumbers booked appointments through their websites. Thrift shops sold their wares through an ecommerce platform. No matter the business, digital was the answer. And, for many of these SMBs, the quick adaptation was possible thanks to their partnership with a digital marketing agency.
Pandemic or no pandemic, small businesses can’t afford not to capitalize on the many opportunities of digital marketing. Partnering with a digital marketing agency is the best way to access them. Not only is it easier, more affordable and more beneficial than most SMBs realize—it’s also more vital than they can imagine.
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