In a recent survey conducted by LOCO BC, a non-profit organization promoting the benefits of doing business in BC, Canada, about 40% of small businesses in BC are spending no more than $99 per year on marketing, either traditional or digital. We are in a society where 83% of customers are looking for products or brands on their computers and 28% on their tablets or phones. This could seem surprising that small business owners are not spending more on marketing or asking help from marketing services. But why are entrepreneurs not maximizing their marketing efforts to attract their target audience and growth their business?
Why small businesses have limited marketing investments
The simplistic answer would be budget, but that is not that simple. Making the decision to invest in digital marketing, either an in-house marketer or through digital marketing consultants, is often difficult for owners of small businesses, and that, for several reasons.
Of course, budget is one thing. As a business owner, you probably don’t have a huge budget for much more than staff, office supplies or inventory. Never mind additional funds for digital marketing tactics or digital marketing services.
Small B2C or B2B business owners simply don’t have the time for marketing. They have multiple hats: founder, CEO, CFO, sales & business development rep, HR manager and, in some case, manufacturer of their own product. How could they fit, in their busy schedule, a marketing “expense”? Yes because lots of entrepreneurs see marketing as an expense, when they should see it as an investment, which leads us to our next point: lack of knowledge.
Business owners know their market and product inside out, but marketing is, for most, not their field of expertise. Many entrepreneurs are hesitant to invest in marketing activities because they are not convinced of the ROI. However, the fact remains that if you want to grow your business in today’s word, neglecting to invest in marketing, especially digital, is a big mistake. At the early stages of your business, invest in the right marketing budget. Allow for necessary time and effort to develop a result-driven digital marketing strategy. This will save yourself a significant amount of money in the long run.
In a recent study conducted by Kabbage, a small business funding company in the USA, most of the companies that were surveyed regret not investing more in marketing sooner to optimize their business growth. They even wished they’d doubled, tripled or even quadrupled their marketing expenditure if they had known more about marketing strategies and channels.
Why small businesses should invest in digital marketing
Truth is, whatever your product and targeted audience is, if you are not using digital marketing yet, you are probably losing a large percentage of prospects. You are not advertising on the media platforms where your audience spends most of its time; digital media platforms. If you don’t exist online, you simply don’t exist for your target. It’s that simple.
Here are the main reasons why you should invest in digital marketing:
1. Unlimited reach
Geographic location was one of the greatest barriers to make the sale for SMBs, and it was very difficult to get access to audiences that weren’t local or national. With internet, capturing customer, partners and prospects attention in every part of the globe is easy and fast.
2. Proven Data
Businesses all over the globe have recognized marketing and digital marketing as something that they need to invest in order to make the most of their website. You could have the most appealing website, but if your marketing strategy is poor or non-existent, then no one will even see it, which means less revenue for you but more for your competitors, especially if they use digital marketing services for their marketing strategy. To give you a concrete example, did you know that a website that ranks in the top 3 positions in Google can get up to 33% of all clicks for that search? The boost in traffic and sales will surely justify the spend for a digital marketing strategy.
3. Increased Efficiency and ROI
Whether you are recruiting internally or using the services of a digital marketing consultant, budget and conversions in digital marketing are easily measurable as you can monitor them in real time, through specific tools. You are able to identify what is working the best on your audience and invest more in that channel while relocating the budget of what didn’t work to explore other channels and opportunities. As each cost and conversion can be measured and predicted, it is easy for you to know your business ROI. Did you know that email marketing was one the most effective marketing strategy when it comes to ROI and conversion rate? It might be time for you to craft the perfect messaging for your potential customers!
4. Time Efficient
Digital marketing allows you or your marketing consultant to more easily replicate previous tasks, which save time in the long run. By simply cloning previous campaigns that performed well for example, you are able to spend more time on strategy and less time on building or implementing marketing campaigns. If you are working with a marketing consultant or digital marketing services, time efficiency will even be more optimized as you will be able to focus on other activities of your business while the marketing consultant will work in familiar territories.
You can even improve your marketing by using marketing tools to put marketing automation to market your product or service and develop brand awareness.
5. Targeted and Fast
Targeting can be really precise with digital marketing, allowing you to reach your targeted audience easily. Digital marketing also give you the opportunity to redefine or extend your targeted audience to find new markets.
6. Fits All Budgets
Being convinced by the value of marketing doesn’t mean you have the budget to put your strategy into action. The beauty of marketing is that it fits your budget. You have a large budget? Great you can explore all channels of acquisition and conversions, like Pay-Per-Click PPC (Adwords for instance), paid social media marketing, or even pay an influencer for your content marketing (blog posts or photos). You could even do traditional marketing (print promotional assets for your potential customers).
Low budget or a highly volatile budget? The best online marketing strategy for your business could be to work through search engine marketing, also called SEO for Search Engine Optimization, for low investment and long term benefits when it comes to lead generation. You could also reduce costs by using external digital marketing services, that will find the best strategy for your budget.
Ready to grow your business? Simply put, there are far more reasons to invest in strategic digital marketing channels than not. Whatever your budget, product, industry and target market is. A great digital marketing consultant will work with you to meet your unique business needs and your budget. If you are considering investing in strategic digital marketing for your marketing mix, marketing plan or marketing campaign, now is the time to get started. Soon, you may not have a choice.