Before 2020, it was already a firm fact that a vast percentage of the global population was technology dependent. When we wanted a pasta recipe, to find out the name of a song we just heard on the radio, or look up an old school friend, we turned to the Internet. In 2020 we were forced to rely on technology and our digital lives even more, due to the COVID-19 induced lockdowns. For countless people going online was the only possible way to connect with the world, and many businesses that previously traded both on and offline found their only source of income came from online custom.
Moving forward, in 2021, due to their experiences of the previous year, business owners have discovered digital marketing is rewarding and cost-effective. Therefore, like many savvy entrepreneurs before them, they will now spend their entire advertising budgets on online marketing, forgoing traditional methods such as radio, billboards, and newspaper ads.
Whether you own a medium-sized business or are a one-person band, here we look at 21 ways digital marketing can help your business in 2021.
A website allows new customers to discover you globally. With online marketing, you can reach an unlimited number of potential customers. You do not even have to pay for ads to promote your business. You can send emails to notify customers about offers, new products, and special promotions. You can trade worldwide with minimal investment.
The Internet enables companies to interact with customers in real time. If we are interested in a product but would like to know a little more before buying, sending a short message on Facebook or Twitter is usually enough to get a prompt reply. Customers, particularly the younger generation, are accustomed to engaging and interacting with brands or businesses virtually. It is much cheaper for companies to communicate with prospects this way than hire staff to work in brick-and-mortar locations to provide sales help.
Providing your product or service meets client expectations, your satisfied customers may put in a good word for you through online feedback. As a business owner, you shouldn’t underestimate the importance of online reviews. Studies have found a staggering 97% of people look at reviews of local businesses, and 90% of consumers look for reviews before deciding on a product’s purchase. Research in 2020 found 49% of users think the number of reviews matters. In 2016, that figure was just 35%.
So online reviews have great value, and provided they are positive, they can significantly affect your bottom line. Therefore, part of a solid marketing strategy should include encouraging customers to leave a review.
Digital marketing is very affordable compared to conventional marketing methods. A social media or email campaign can get news about your latest products to thousands of potential buyers at a fraction of the cost of offline advertising.
With digital marketing, it is easy to target your marketing to a precise audience. Social media platforms like Facebook give you the option to only advertise only to people whose online activities and demographics match your target customer. Digital marketers can use the data stored by the large online platforms to offer users specific products or services they are likely to buy.
Sophisticated online marketing tools allow businesses to maintain contact with potential customers. If a visitor clicks on a company’s ad, the brand can retarget them with subsequent similar ads.
When a user fills out a form online, they provide personal information. The website cookies track the user’s behaviour while they are on the site. Using advanced marketing tools, companies can analyse this data and devise ongoing marketing strategies to turn visitors into paying clients.
Branding should be an integral part of your digital marketing strategy. This is because although your products may be like those of other companies, your brand is unique.
Products may become outdated, but a strong brand is enduring and can evolve with the market. You can have a memorable logo and visual branding designed for online use very cheaply and keep your brand visible to potential customers via social media or search engine ads, again, for a relatively low cost.
SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation, is a digital marketing strategy that no company should ignore. SEO is not a one-off activity, but a process that involves improving a website to help it rank high in search engine results when a user types in specific words or phrases.
When you create a page or post that search engines consider worthy of sending users to, it can draw traffic to your site for years.
Researching and formulating top-quality content then optimising it for the search engines demands an investment. That could be a time investment on your part or a financial outlay if you pay an SEO marketing agency to do it for you. But after the initial investment, there’s no ongoing ad cost to keep driving traffic to your content. Therefore, SEO is a cost-effective way to get clients who are interested in your products. Search optimisation is a form of marketing that is only feasible online; there is no comparable offline marketing technique.
Low Entry Costs
Digital marketing isn’t just for big corporations; everyone can join in. There is no required minimum amount to spend to begin an online marketing campaign.
You can start advertising online with as little as £5 or so.
When you decide to delve into digital marketing, there are lots of options and channels to try. These include social media, video marketing, SEO, PPC, email marketing, and much more. There is no one size fits all, and what works best for one sector may not work so well for another; but with the many options available, you won’t be stuck for opportunities.
As soon as a website is live and functioning, it is possible to get instant sales via Pay-per-click or PPC marketing. As the name suggests, companies pay when users click on their ad, sending the search engine visitors to the advertiser’s website. There are various types of PPC adverts, including display ads, video ads, and shopping ads.
While a small-business owner should usually be able to learn PPC marketing over time, there is a reasonably steep learning curve involved, and hiring an experienced marketing professional is advisable. While some outlay is therefore required, PPC marketing can result in instant sales, as your ad is displayed prominently in search results as soon as you set up your campaign.
One of the most significant advantages of many online marketing methods is they consist of inbound marketing. Traditional “outbound” promotional channels like radio ads, print advertisements, and sales calls require reaching out to people whether they want to hear from you or not. But inbound marketing methods focus on making it easy for your target audience to find you when they want information. As a result, companies can connect with customers less aggressively, communicating with an audience that genuinely wants to hear from them.
Knowing the Market
Digital marketing enables you to engage with prospects. You can learn about their wants and what they’re hoping to find. On a blog or social media, it is easy to start a conversation. Or you could run a survey to get to understand their needs. Paying attention to comments and responses will help you improve the products or services you offer. Interacting with people digitally is much easier and less time-consuming than face to face, and you’ll soon learn what they’re looking for.
Keep in touch
Another benefit of digital marketing is you can keep clients up to date with your business. You can post regular updates on your company website or blog, informing visitors of new products, special offers, or even run the odd competition to keep people coming back. In this way, you develop a relationship with your customers making it more likely they will want to do business with you again.
Improved conversion rates
When selling through a website, your customers only need to make a few clicks to complete a purchase. Unlike other channels that require people to make a phone call or travel to a shop, digital sales are immediate, improving conversion rates.
One of the most powerful ways to market is email marketing. Even though it is one of the oldest online marketing methods, there are various reasons why you should include email marketing as a sales channel. Marketing via email delivers a medium to high ROI and is highly versatile. When sending an email, you can apply effective marketing techniques such as personalisation and automation without spending a large chunk of your marketing budget.
Email can support other marketing goals, and many B2B marketers chose email as their most effective tool for generating leads and sales.
Email users reached around 3.9 billion in 2020, and that figure is expected to grow to 4.3 billion by 2023, more than half of the global population.
If your email list is relatively small, many service providers will send your emails free of cost. For example, domain registrar GoDaddy allows customers to send up to 250 free emails per day. Posting a letter to 250 people in the UK by second class post would cost you £162.50, and that is without factoring in material and printing costs!
Reach Shoppers at The Start
The main aim of marketing is to get people familiar with your brand and choose you over your competitors. With digital marketing, when someone starts looking for a product, you can connect with them early in the journey, by helping them as they begin their shopping search.
Most people go online when they want to know more about a product or service. They research to find the item that meets their needs. If you sell what they require, it’s the best time to make an impact.
Shoppers are always looking to discover more about available products to educate themselves. With online marketing, you can direct people to your site to find the information they need. In doing this, you increase your brand’s exposure.
When users can find your profile on various platforms and learn more about your company, whether it’s through social media or SEO content, you’ll present your company and brand to interested parties.
Even if a lead doesn’t convert immediately, they will be aware of your business if you make an impression on them early in the buying journey. When they get nearer to completing a purchase, there is a good chance they will think of your company and choose your business over the competition.
Unlike traditional marketing, with online marketing, it is easy to track your results with web analytics and similar metric tools. You can quickly determine how effective a campaign has been and obtain detailed data about how customers interact with your website and respond to your ads.
Easy to adjust
How an ad performs lets a business owner know how to proceed. If an ad campaign performs well, you can invest more in it with just a few clicks. If an ad is not getting the desired results, you can modify it or stop it immediately.
Traditional marketing is far more inflexible and complex. If you advertise with a radio station, you will probably have to sign a contract that requires the ad to run for as long as the contract states. You cannot return unsuccessful flyers or other printed materials to the printers, and you have no other choice but to watch your advertising budget trickle down the drain.
Spy on competitors
The Internet and available software and tools make it easy to see what your competition is up to—learning what works for them (and what doesn’t) enables you to more likely succeed and avoid making mistakes in your own business.
Unlike other marketing, your digital marketing campaign runs 24/7, 365 days a year.
This is quite extraordinary when you think it wasn’t so long ago that firms would send an employee to stand on a street corner for a few hours brandishing a promotional sign or giving out leaflets.
When done correctly, online advertising can generate revenue while everyone working for the business sleeps, a seemingly impossible scenario just a few decades ago.
To Sum Up
If you are a dinosaur when it comes to marketing, you may feel proud that you’ve stuck to traditional marketing methods that work in your sector without going digital.
However, even if your business is flourishing, you will be missing out on an unknown number of leads, clients, and cash if you’re not using digital marketing techniques.
Your customers are online. If you’ve been avoiding digital marketing, it is probably because you avoid technology in general or are concerned about the cost.
But consider that right now, there is a genuine chance that someone is looking online for a product or service just like yours. When you realise this, you’ll see that not marketing online is, in reality, costing you money rather than saving you marketing agency costs.
Well, here’s some good news for you!
The Search Equation Team provides full digital marketing services for a low affordable monthly cost. You can avail of our expertise to promote your business online starting this week, without having to get involved with anything “techy” yourself.
Using a professional agency like ours gives you a distinct advantage over your competitors. As long-standing marketing consultants, we know how to reach out to different demographics. We know which ads will grab your target market’s attention to produce cost-effective campaigns.
Contact us today to find out more about how we can help you generate more sales and profits for your business.
We are digital professionals with over 15 years experience in the field of website development and SEO (organic, PPC & Social Media). Specializing in e-commerce platforms, we offer professional services for the discerning client looking for a personalized custom solution.
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