Here’s a startling figure: There will be over 2 billion online shoppers globally by 2020 as a growing number of people buy goods and services while connecting with small businesses. That statistic is a compelling reason why small businesses, including those owned by black entrepreneurs, should consider starting or ramping up their digital marketing strategies to help fuel sales and communicate with potential and existing customers.
The trend is expected to keep picking up traction as folks use smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, laptops, and other mobile devices to tap online, research products and help make buying decisions.
And it’s crucial for businesses to have a digital marketing presence online. Businesses with free-standing locations can grow by using digital marketing to boost their exposure via social media, websites, mobile apps, search engines, and other channels.
“Digital marketing is a successful way to reach consumers,” says Kristen Herhold, a content writer and marketer at Clutch. “Consumers are increasingly online, so it’s important to be where your customers are.”
Eighty-three percent of digital marketers contend their digital marketing efforts are effective in boosting sales and revenue, shows a new survey from Clutch. The Washington, D.C.-based ratings and review firm surveyed 501 digital marketers at businesses with over 100 employees nationally to learn how they use digital marketing.
Businesses maintained digital marketing works because it’s a more direct way to reach consumers versus traditional marketing and advertising, according to a news release on the survey.
Social media marketing (81%), a website (78%), and email marketing (69%) scored the highest as they are viewed among the most popular with consumers of the various digital marketing channels businesses invest in.
Other channels included display/banner ads (55%), mobile app (53%) and content marketing (53%).
Some 28% of businesses report boosting sales is their top goal for utilizing digital marketing. Nineteen percent of respondents cite improving brand awareness as their main reason, while 13% of businesses use digital marketing to differentiate themselves from competitors.
Digital Marketing Quick Tips
Herhold offered some factors for small businesses to consider before choosing a digital marketing strategy:
- If you have a limited budget, research your target audience and the channels they use. Say your target audience is millennials, it’s important to have a digital marketing strategy that includes social media such as Instagram, where millennials spend much time. But if your target audience is baby boomers, don’t waste a lot of effort on Instagram, where fewer baby boomers spend time.
- Though it’s important to invest in a variety of digital marketing channels, it’s better to put a lot of effort into just one or two channels and make those successful rather than waste efforts on five channels, only to have each one have mediocre results.
- Small businesses should explore if they should hire an outside agency for help with their digital marketing efforts. Though it may cost money, it could save time and effort among your employees who would otherwise be giving up important tasks to work on digital marketing.
- Understand that digital marketing is a continuous effort. The channels are ever-changing, so it’s important for businesses to stay on top of trends and other factors.