Digital Marketing Is Here To Stay
Marketing company Deluxe recently conducted a study on small business owners or SBOs. More than 500 small business owners from Research Now’s U.S. Small Business Owners panel were surveyed about their digital marketing practices both online and offline.
The results found that small businesses do have a “digital footprint” but not a very active one, according to an article by Colleen Corkery at the marketing firm VerticalResponse. (Deluxe is VerticalResponse’s parent company). A digital footprint is the trail of data that is left behind by users on digital services. It helps customers find you more easily and can include your website or various social media efforts.
VerticalResponse created a great collection of infographics that highlight some of the most important stats that were found from the study. Most small business owners believe word of mouth is the most important customer engagement method with 73 percent. 40 percent of owners value business cards, 28 percent use email marketing and a low 21 percent believe social media is most important.
“The best way to gain and keep loyal customers is, and always has been, word of mouth. Only now, instead of coming directly from a mouth, it comes directly from your fingertips,” says Shilah Anderson in SEO.com blog post.
Anderson says the most powerful form of marketing hasn’t changed. Business owners just need to switch their way of thinking. It’s all about satisfaction, whether it’s in person or online. For example, if you like a restaurant nowadays, you might post a link to it on a friend’s Facebook wall or write a review on Yelp. EIther way, these are interactions small business owners need to be aware of.
Improve Your Web Presence
66 percent of SBOs reported they have a dedicated website. So how do SBOs allocate their effort and assets for their websites if they have them? 49 percent is photos and videos, 32 percent is devoted to search engine optimization, 28 percent goes toward reviews or customer feedback and another 28 percent goes to social media share and follow buttons. Visuals go a long way. A ThriveHive article by Susan Lou talks about how images help improve the quality of your content and spark more interaction and engagement from customers.
30 percent of owners believe they are proficient at maintaining their company’s website. Currently 10 percent of SBOs spend four or more hours per week updating their web presence, and 20 percent spend two to three hours per week on it. A whopping 70 percent of owners spend less than one hour a week on website maintenance. Additionally, it’s sad, but 30 percent of companies have less than three employees not interested in improving web presence, and 53 percent of companies with more than three employees want to improve.
Devote More Time To Social Media
“Without active engagement, being online isn’t enough,” Corkery says.
51 percent of owners post to social media once a month or less. 45 percent have a Facebook, and 33 percent have a LinkedIn page. These numbers are low, but 29 percent of owners found social media to be extremely important for customer interaction and promoting new products. 53 percent use Facebook to connect and sell products to customers, another great advantage of having active social media.
Anderson talks about how social media affects the way people search online. “The way people search out information about products and services has changed drastically,” Anderson says.
Agrees Lou, “Consumers want to engage with businesses ‘one-to-one.’ They’re using Twitter, Facebook and Yelp to voice their opinions, expecting almost instantaneous feedback. For small business owners, this means that customers must be able to connect with businesses through other means than calling.”
Be Active Not Passive
Corkery says SBOs need to devote more time to customer engagement and implement more of an active, aggressive plan to help grow a larger client base and improve their bottom line. Owners also need to “transform their different online and social media tools into a unified and powerful customer connection platform,” Corkery recommends.
Anderson offers some tips for making the most out of social media. First, make a plan and set goals. Then, focus on creating interesting, original content to promote on social media. Content is king. Then, earn links and keep an eye on the competition.
Article Credit: Bravr Digital Marketing (https://www.bravr.com)