Why Digital Marketing is Important – Especially for Small Businesses

Today, with how easily we can access the internet, would you believe me when I tell you the number of people using the internet every day is still growing?

It is. According to Pew Research, constant internet usage among adults has increased by 5% in the past three years alone. And although we often say it, the way people shop for things online has changed along with it. In other words, offline marketing isn’t nearly as effective as it used to be.

Marketing has always been a way of connecting with people in the right place and time. Today, that means meeting them online, where they already spend their time.

Enter digital marketing — any form of marketing that takes place online.

I talk a lot about inbound marketing because it’s an effective way to capture leads and convert them into customers. But I still get many emails from people asking about what it is. So I decided to answer their questions. 

What is Digital Marketing, and does it matter?

Digital marketing, also called online marketing, refers to all marketing efforts on the internet. Businesses employ digital channels such as search engines, social networking sites, email, and other web pages to engage with present and future consumers. This also includes communication via text or multimedia messages.

A seasoned expert would probably say that inbound marketing and digital marketing are virtually the same, but slight differences exist. From conversations with marketers and business people in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Asia, I’ve learned a great deal about how these slight differences are observed worldwide.

What does a business mean when they say “digital marketing”?

Digital marketing is critical for promoting your company and raising brand recognition. Every other brand, it seems, has a website. If they don’t, they at least have some sort of social media presence or an advertising plan. Consumers today anticipate and rely on the web to learn more about brands. And, since there are so many different strategies, you can be creative and use various platforms with a limited budget.

It uses various digital tactics and channels to reach out to customers wherever they spend most of their online time. The best digital marketers know precisely which digital marketing campaigns support their overall business goals. Depending on the goals of their market­ing strategy, marketers can support more extensive campaigns by using both the free and paid channels available to them.

For example, a content marketer can create a blog series that generates leads from a recent ebook the business has just published. The company’s social marketing team might then help promote these blogs posts through paid and organic ads on the business’s social networking sites. Perhaps the email marketeer sends out emails to people who downloaded the ebook to tell them more about the company. We’ll talk more specifically about these digital marketers in a minute, but first, let’s look at some general tips.

Why is digital marketing important?

Digital marketing helps you get in front of a larger audience than you would be able to reach through traditional means and target the people who are most likely to purchase your products or services. It’s also often cheaper than conventional advertising. It allows you to measure success on an ongoing basis and adjust as needed.

Here are a few key benefits:

  • You can focus your effort on only the most likely prospects to buy your product or service.
  • It’s more cost-effective than traditional methods.
  • It gives smaller companies an equal chance at competing with more prominent brands.
  • It’s measurable so that you can track it
  • It’s easy to adapt and change a marketing strategy if you want to.
  • It can also help you increase your conversion rate and the number of leads you get.
  • You can engage audiences with digital marketing at every stage.

1. You can focus your effort on only the most likely prospects to buy your product or service.

If you place an ad on TV, in a newspaper, or on a billboard, you have limited control over which people see the ad. You can undoubtedly measure specific demographics, such as the magazine’s typical readers or the demographic of a particular neighborhood, but it’s still largely guesswork.

On the other hand, digital marketing makes it easy to identify and reach a highly-targeted audience, and send them customized, high-converting messages.

For example, you could target Facebook ads to people who live in a specific city, are interested in a particular topic, or follow a particular brand. You might also show ads to those who have expressed an interest in your product or services or who have specifically searched for keywords connected to your industry using paid advertising or SEO techniques.

Ultimately, digital marketing helps you conduct the research needed to identify your buyer persona and allows you to refine your strategy over time to reach the right prospects. It enables you to reach specific groups within your larger target audience by using different media types. If you offer multiple products or services to various customer types, this is especially helpful.

2. It’s cheaper than traditional marketing methods.

Digital marketing lets you track campaigns daily and decrease the amount of money you’re spending on a particular channel if it’s not showing a high ROI. On the other hand, traditional advertising cannot be described in the same way. It doesn’t matter if your billboard converts or not; the cost stays the same.

You have total control over where you spend your money with digital marketing. You don’t have to spend money on things that aren’t working for you. Rather than paying for PPC ads, you could instead invest in design software to create high converting Instagram content. A digital marketing strategy lets you continuously adapt, ensuring you’re never throwing away money on channels that aren’t performing well.

On the whole, digital marketing is a better option than traditional methods because it’s cheaper and gives you more control over your message.

For example, suppose you’re working for a small business with limited funds. In that case, you could invest in social media, blogging, or SEO – three strategies that can give a high return even with minimal investment.

3. Digital marketing gives smaller companies an equal chance at competing against more prominent brands.

If you work for an independent business, it may be challenging to compete against large companies in your industry. Many of these companies have millions of dollars to spend on advertising or national ad campaigns. Fortunately, small businesses have many opportunities to outrank the big companies by using strategic digital marketing methods.

For example, you could identify specific long-tail keyword phrases that relate to your product/service and write high-quality content to increase your ranking on search engines for those keyword phrases. Search engines don’t prioritize brands; they prioritize content that resonates with the target audience.

4. Digital marketing is measurable.

Digital marketing gives you a comprehensive, start to finish view of all the metrics you might care about, including impressions, shares, likes, views, clicks, time on page, etc. One of the most significant benefits of using digital marketing is that it allows you to reach people where they are. Traditional advertising has an important limitation: It’s hard to measure.

Unlike most offline methods, digital marketing allows marketers instant feedback on their campaigns’ success. Suppose you’ve ever placed an advertisement in a newspaper and tried to determine how many people read your ad. In that case, you’ll know how hard it is to estimate how much traffic your ad generated. There’s no sure-fire way to tell whether an ad was responsible for any new sales.

With digital marketing, you can track the ROI of just about anything you do in terms of marketing.

Key takeaways

  • Marketers need to understand whom they’re targeting and where to reach them to start a campaign. They also need to anticipate what actions the target audience will take next.
  • Brands approach customers through an omnichannel lens. Marketers should connect their digital marketing campaigns across multiple platforms to effectively reach a customer.
  • Digital marketing campaigns can cost less than traditional marketing campaigns and engage customers in real-time.
  • A company can use a digital campaign to raise brand awareness, tell loyal customers about a new service, or both.
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About Brian Gibbs

Brian Gibbs, a San Antonio-based Digital Marketing Strategist, empowers local businesses with tailored AI and marketing solutions. Passionate about innovation and growth, he's your key to online success. Connect with Brian today.