There’s a difference between surviving and thriving, and as a business owner, you’re probably familiar with it. But are you familiar with the role of digital marketing as it relates to your business?
If a business is surviving, it’s doing okay. It’s breaking even, the owner is relieved.
But if a business is thriving, it’s growing. Its revenue is increasing by leaps and bounds. Company employees are happy, and the owner is excited. It feels good to be in charge of a growing business, right?
The question is though: what helps a business not just survive, but thrive? Lots of factors help businesses grow, but one of the most important is digital marketing.
The role of digital marketing is absolutely essential for business growth in today’s day and age. Are you taking advantage of the digital channels and advertising your business through online strategies? If not, you should–and we’re about to tell you why.
Let’s break down what digital marketing is, why these marketing channels are so important, and why the role of digital marketing plays such a pivotal part when it comes to business growth.
By the end of this article, you’ll recognize why digital marketing is so important to grow your business–and you’ll know how to leverage the power of the Internet to help your business thrive.
What is Digital Marketing?
The world of digital marketing might seem confusing, so let us break it down for you.
According to HubSpot, digital marketing refers to any marketing effort that involves the Internet, digital technologies or an electronic device. If the marketing department exists online, it’s classified as digital marketing. That means social media marketing, search engine marketing (SEM) or pay-per-click advertising, email marketing, content marketing, and SEO are all under the umbrella. social media marketing, content marketing, and SEO are all under the umbrella.
Digital marketing has been rising in popularity over the last several years. And there’s a simple reason why: the world is online. Technology Review gives us the stats–in 2000, the average American spent about 9.4 hours online. Today, most people spend 24 hours a week on the Internet, most of the time using their smartphones.
Internet usage is growing, and as a small business owner or marketer, you’ve got to take advantage of this. Know where the role of digital marketing stands in your business — or you’ll be left behind.
Consider this graph: 57% of companies got new customers from their blog. 62% gained customers from LinkedIn, 52% got customers from Facebook, and 44% had some serious inbound traffic from Twitter.
No longer do you have to lure potential customers to your brick-and-mortar store–instead, just go to them.
No longer do you have to lure customers to your brick-and-mortar store–instead, just go to them.
Most people spend at least thirty minutes a day on Facebook (which comes out to almost two years over a lifetime), said a comprehensive Mediakix study, and that equals thirty minutes a day of prime-time advertising for you as a business owner.
According to Every Channel Marketing, companies that implement a solid digital marketing plan have a 2.8x higher revenue growth expectancy. In a nutshell, more digital marketing equals more money. Companies who focus on their digital marketing campaigns also have a 3.3x better chance of expanding their workforce and business.
What we’re really trying to say here is that digital marketing is important. Your business won’t grow without it.
The Role of Digital Marketing is Perfect for Small Businesses
If you have a small business or a start-up, you probably don’t have much money, time, or a whole marketing team to invest into traditional marketing techniques. But that’s okay! You don’t need a fancy building with hundreds of people or staff. You just need a simple but solid digital marketing strategy.
Your Size Doesn’t Matter
When the Internet came around, the playing field leveled out.
Gone are the days when businesses think that digital marketing is only for those big companies that have the budget and resources to do it. Ironically, digital marketing levels the competition allowing small and medium businesses to go head-to-head with other big and established brands. Digital marketing lets small businesses choose their preferred digital media channels and target the right market to broaden their audience. Having physical stores is also no longer a hindrance in getting sales as in online marketing, you can reach customers located in any part of the world.
Digital marketing makes it easier for small businesses to compete in a big marketplace. It gives them an opportunity to quickly catch up to their big-name counterparts.
Uber is a prime example. A humble startup that has its roots in San Francisco, today Uber drivers give around 5.5 million rides a day, says Engadget. A big key to that number? Uber’s impeccable digital marketing strategy.
Online reviews and recommendations make a huge difference in consumer decisions. And Uber taps into that by offering free rides for people who give referral codes to their friends. Uber’s online presence (with slogans such as “Drive when you want, make what you need” is very customer-focused. Uber’s mostly millennial audience appreciates the company’s fun social media posts. And the layout of Uber’s website is spot-on whether you’re viewing on desktop or mobile.
In a nutshell, Uber does digital marketing right… and that’s what helped them become the second-ever venture-capital-backed startup, right after Facebook, to pass a $50 billion value.
Chart courtesy of WSJ
The role of digital marketing helped- and is still helping, Uber grow by leaps and bounds. It can help your small business or start-up grow, too.
It Costs Less
Digital marketing not only saves time and doesn’t require a large personnel, it’s cost-effective. Gone are the days when marketing managers need to rent out a big billboard to spread the news about their company. Today, all you need to market your business is a laptop and some know-how. A little help from a digital marketing agency doesn’t hurt either.
Compared to other types of marketing, digital marketing will get you a better cost-per-lead (CPL is a metric that measures how cost effective a given marketing campaign was). Having a low CPL is your goal.
Chart courtesy of Hubspot
When it comes to lead costs, social media and email marketing tie for top strategy. How many times a day do you check your Facebook or your email? It’s probably a lot… which is why these platforms are so important.
No matter how small your business budget is, you can still implement some kind of digital marketing strategy: Write an SEO-optimized blog post. Allot time for quality content creation. Send a few email automation. Create social media accounts for your brand.
Digital marketing is the closest to free as you’re going to get when it comes to advertising. With data that shows more traffic at a smaller cost – it’s something you’d be crazy not take advantage of.
What will you do with all that money you save on advertising your small business? Simple: invest it back into your business and watch the exponential growth. Use part of your budget to hire professional digital marketers so things can really take off.
Digital marketing makes it easy to start small and grow big.
Digital Marketing is Easy to Track
Your goal is simple: conversion. You want the people visiting your website to download that lead magnet, join your email list, and eventually become your newest happy customer. And with digital marketing, tracking your conversion rates and other KPIs real-time is a breeze.
High conversion rates equal business growth, and the Internet makes it simple for you to keep an eye on what’s converting well and what’s not. According to Google Ads, formerly known as Google AdWords, conversion rates are calculated by taking the number of conversions and dividing that by the number of total ad clicks that can be tracked to a conversion during the same time period.
As you can see, this means it’s far easier to track online conversions than offline ones.
But there’s no need to remember all that when there are so many technologies that will track your conversion rates for you. You can also utilize analytics tools like Google Analytics to help you out.
The role of digital marketing makes it simple to increase your conversion rate. For one thing, it’s easy to run split tests and see what works best, allowing you to hone in on what’s most effective with your prospects and customers.
For another, social media allows you to personally interact with customers on a daily basis. Customers are more likely to purchase from a business that they have a good working relationship with.
You can even optimize your website to be both desktop and mobile friendly. Smartphones are used in over one-third of total U.S. retail sales, says AdWeek, so it’s important to cater to the mobile customer.
Not only is it easy to track conversion rates, but the role of digital marketing when it comes to conversion rates can really help your business grow. SEO, email marketing, and other forms of digital marketing will help your conversion rates skyrocket-making them not only a breeze, but also a pleasure to track.
Digital Marketing is So Easy
We’ve already covered how digital marketing is great for small businesses and low budgets, but there are even more reasons digital marketing is the easiest choice you’ll ever make to help your business grow.
First up: it’s easy to build a brand reputation and boost your brand awareness. With digital marketing, you’re completely in control of your image, which is important when it comes to business growth. People want to patronize businesses they feel they can trust. The role of digital marketing in reputation management is a huge one.
Forbes puts it this way: reputations are permanent and important, and these days, your online reputation matters the most. You’ve probably heard someone joke, “Google said it, so it must be true!” 91% of people genuinely trust what they see and read in search results. And your digital footprint, Forbes reminds business owners, never disappears.
To some extent, you’re in control of what appears on the Internet about your business. If you want to rebrand your company towards a different demographic, it’s easy to implement a new advertising campaign and completely rebrand yourself.
If you want to improve your brand image and be seen as an influencer in your industry, you can pick from a variety of digital marketing forms to get across the message you want people to hear.
The role of digital marketing in your business makes it easy to build a good online reputation. This equals more happy customers, which equals business growth.
Second, digital marketing is like free advertising in more ways than one. We’ve already covered how cost-effective it is, and this is where things get even better. If you put out quality content, people will hit the “share” button-getting more eyes on your content, website, and product or service.
Word of mouth is extremely important: while 75% of people don’t believe ads, 92% do believe recommendations from friends.
So creating shareable content will help your numbers skyrocket.
What makes content “shareable?”
The process starts with doing your research, scoping out both your competitors and your target audience. Next, focus on storytelling. Content marketing is the new trend. Almost half of the millennial population has ad blockers enabled and 84% of them have specifically said they don’t like advertising. So it’s important that your advertising efforts tell a story instead of just selling a product.
Finally, you can also offer incentives, such as a giveaway or a contest, to encourage people to share your content and your business.
The role of digital marketing, and of content marketing, specifically, is a huge help to leverage you some free advertising and help your business grow.
And finally, digital marketing makes it simple to target your exact audience. With the capabilities of the Internet today, it’s never been easier to identify your audience. Who’s visiting your website? Where are they coming from? What device are they using? Are they sharing your content?
Once you know who your target audience is, you can easily figure out whether or not you’re attracting them, and launch a new campaign to pull them in if need be.
Focusing on your specific target audience increases both customer satisfaction and revenue.
Digital Marketing is the Future
Digital marketing is huge, and it’s not going away anytime soon.
We’ll prove it to you: $120 billion is the amount the U.S. will spend on digital marketing in 2020, Boostability says. That number equals almost half of the total amount spent on media. The role of digital marketing is rising dramatically.
Boostability lists more stats: from 2016 to 2021, the amount spent on social ads is expected to double ($15,016 to $32,977). The amount spent on display ads and online videos will increase, too.
Before long, digital marketing is expected to outperform conventional marketing strategies. People simply prefer online content. Kevin O’Kane, managing director for Google Marketing Solutions of Google Asia Pacific, described the Internet as rocket fuel when it comes to business growth. And he’s right.
“Every business needs to be online and digital,” O’Kane said, according to BusinessWorld. “To keep growing, SMBs [small and medium businesses] need to meet consumers where they spend an increasing amount of their time, online. Online, your ‘local’ market is as big as you want it to be.”
So what’s the role of digital marketing in business growth?
From social media to SEO to shareable content, digital marketing is extremely important. Your business is not going to grow without it. Ready to start growing? Contact us today to learn the role of digital marketing in your business.