5 Ways Small Businesses Can Survive (& Thrive) with Digital Marketing
Doesn’t it seem like every day there’s a new marketing trend that threatens to turn your small business strategy entirely upside down? As soon as you feel like you've mastered one technique, it’s pulled clean out from under your feet, suddenly considered outdated and ineffective. As a small business with limited time and resources, it’s hard to keep up. We know.
The good news? The marketing landscape isn’t changing as drastically or as rapidly as you think—and certainly not on a daily basis. There’s really only one seismic change small businesses need to be aware of in order to survive (and thrive): the shift from traditional marketing to digital marketing. There’s simply no denying the overwhelming power of the internet. Of course, under the umbrella of digital marketing are loads of techniques and tactics—some worth your time and money, and some not. But—just as there was with traditional marketing—digital marketing has a handful of its own dependable, tried-and-true ways of getting you major results (many of which actually save you time and money). That’s why we’ve put together a list of the top 5 ways small businesses can survive and thrive in the shift to digital marketing. The beauty of these strategies is that they all work seamlessly (and best) together. And trust us, these ones are here to stay.
1. Claim your digital property with a website.
There’s no question about it: if you want to get your brick-and-mortar store in front of a (much) larger audience than the people who happen to stroll by your door during open hours, you need an online presence. And the most essential way to claim that valuable digital property is with a website. Not having a website in today’s digital landscape is like not having a phone in 1965. If customers can’t easily find you via the devices they’re (literally) using all hours of the day, they’re going to go somewhere else—and quick. There are so many reasons why every small business needs a website, and with the breadth of free website-building tools available today, it’s never been easier to create one.
2. Create a robust online presence with social media.
Having a presence on social media—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn—is another vital way to stay relevant and visible in a cluttered global marketplace. Not only is it a powerful way to build brand recognition, it’s one of the best ways for you to engage directly with current and potential customers. Our advice? Open accounts on as many social media platforms as you can (so no one else can claim your company name there), and then devote the bulk of your time and effort to just a few of them—making them rich in excellent content and consistent engagement.
3. Start a business blog, and write often.
Okay, so you’ve got a website and you’re all set up on social media. Building your online presence is a crucial first step into digital marketing, but simply claiming the digital property won’t guarantee your small business success—you must have an exceptional content strategy to go with it. You wouldn’t go to a carnival if it were just an empty lot—devoid of thrilling rides and distorted mirrors and deep-fried Oreos—would you? In our post about the importance of business blogging, we talk about the enormous benefits of having a blog on your website—offering real value to your customers, boosting your SEO and search engine ranking, becoming a trusted leader, and fueling your social media—just to name a few. By blogging at least 1-4 times a month, you’ll eventually develop a deep archive of valuable content that not only helps customers find you, but keeps them coming back for more. People do business with companies they trust; earn your customers’ trust by positioning your small business as a resource they can rely on.
4. Dive into video (in a big way).
Video has firmly earned its place as one of the most essential components of any content marketing strategy—its demand, popularity, and lasting effectiveness make it a powerful way to communicate with your current and prospective customers. In our post about the advantages of video for business, we reveal statistics that show the staggering popularity of video content among consumers, suggesting that video for business is more effective now than ever before.
Small businesses can (and should) take advantage of video in numerous ways. Spice up your monthly blog content calendar with a vlog (Vlogger) that can be easily shared on social channels. Save valuable time by using an explainer video (Talker) to explain your products or services (so your customer service reps—and you—don’t have to). Or, the holy grail of video for business: tell your small business story with a creative, high-quality, long-form video (Teller) that you can host on your homepage to greet visiting customers.
5. Meet your customers where they are (hint: in their email inboxes).
Email marketing is an efficient and cost-effective solution that allows you to meet your customers where they are almost every day (if not multiple times a day)—their inbox. Because the digital landscape is also a global one, email marketing gives you the power to reach anyone with electricity and an inbox.
According to MarketingSherpa:
72% of consumers prefer email as their source of business communication.
61% enjoy receiving promotional emails from businesses on a weekly basis.
38% enjoy receiving promotional emails from businesses more frequently.
If your primary method of communicating with your customers is still traditional—cold calls, physical mailings, and print advertising—adding email marketing to your business strategy will completely transform the way you generate and convert leads, all while staying in better touch with your existing audience.
It’s not difficult to implement the digital marketing strategies we’ve mentioned here. After all, you don’t need to do everything by yourself. The key to surviving and thriving in the digital marketing landscape is to acknowledge that you’re in it—to realize (quickly) that small businesses either need to get started or get left behind. And remember, we’re always here to help you out.