6 Benefits of Digital Marketing for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses

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Digital marketing allows startups and small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) to cater to their customers in ways they previously could not. For instance, 57 percent of companies have obtained a customer through their company blog, while 67 percent of business-to-consumer (B2C) firms have acquired a customer through Facebook. 

Based on these figures, it’s clear that online marketing strategies can do wonders for businesses. In this article, we discuss how digital marketing can benefit your SME in the long run.

6 Ways Digital Marketing Helps SMEs Thrive

1. Attract New Leads

Attracting new customers is one of the biggest challenges faced by startups and SMEs. Local SEO is one such way to expand your reach and tap into potential revenue. Research shows that 72 percent of consumers that performed a local search visited a store within five miles.

Google My Business (GMB) is a free and user-friendly tool that makes local businesses visible on Google Search and Maps. It also allows customers to leave positive feedback about your business. 

A typical GMB listing will include relevant information that any potential customer might want access to including your:

  • Business name
  • Location
  • Contact number
  • Store hours
  • Customer reviews
  • Star rating

GMB is one of the top determining factors in local rankings. If you’re looking to connect with your local community, continuously updating your online information through Google My Business can increase your search visibility and drive more foot traffic to your store.

2. Ramp Up Your Conversion Rates

Conversion rates refer to the number of visitors who completed a desired action on your website, email campaign, social media page and other platforms. Such actions can take the form of:

  • Resource download
  • Product purchase
  • Service or newsletter subscription
  • Online form submission

Conversion rates also provide insights into your campaign performance. Low conversion rates often signify poorly designed user experiences. Paying close attention to your conversion rates can help you identify what you’re doing wrong and further optimize your campaigns.

Higher conversion rates mean more opportunities for sales and engagement. Without conversion, all your traffic and marketing efforts would mean nothing. 

Digital marketing strategies like social media and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising can help boost conversion rates by driving more qualified leads to your page.

3. Gain a Competitive Edge

With the majority of consumers turning to the internet to search and buy products, there’s a good chance your competitors are already online. The longer you delay working with a digital marketing company, the more potential customers you lose to other companies. 

Digital marketing helps your business stand out. When a prospect wants to know more about your products or services, the first thing they do is search online. In fact, 49 percent of users say they use Google to discover or find a new product. Today’s consumers expect to see a fully responsive website and a social media presence. They may also search for customer reviews so they can better gauge if your brand is worth doing business with.

If a potential lead can’t find you online, the absence not only suggests that your marketing is outdated but it makes it hard for prospects to make an opinion about the quality of your services/products. Without a strong digital marketing presence, potential customers may decide not to take your business seriously and choose someone else. That said, simply building a website and setting up your social media pages is not enough. You need to ensure these pages are constantly engaging your target users and outperforming your competitors.

One way to move ahead of the competition is through search engine optimization (SEO). By improving your search rankings, you’re the first name that a prospect finds during a Google search. The more visible you are for industry-related search terms, the more leads and sales you’ll attract.If you need faster and more predictable results, PPC marketing might be a better option for you. Paid search is ideal for startups that are aiming for instant market share and brand awareness. Unlike SEO, which takes a while to be profitable, PPC offers instantaneous growth in visibility and inquiries.  

Similarly, publishing useful and compelling content, such as blogs, videos and podcasts, can help build credibility and brand awareness. Such shareable content cements your position as an industry leader and drives prospects to trust you instead of your competitors.

4. Provide Real-time Customer Service

In the digital age, consumers are not only better informed but also more critical of businesses that don’t meet their expectations. They want fast solutions to their problems, and if a company fails to provide answers right away, they simply move on to another brand. Modern consumers want to be able to contact companies on their terms. They gravitate towards brands that offer 24-hour customer support and flexible communication channels such as email, live chat, social media or SMS.

Consider your website as a 24/7 salesperson. Your FAQ page alone is one of the easiest ways to attract new customers, improve customer experience and save time answering repetitive questions. Here are some tips to improve your website FAQs:

  • Update the questions to accurately reflect your target market’s present needs and pain points.
  • Keep answers concise yet meaty. If longer answers can’t be avoided, convert some of the text into short and engaging videos.
  • Use Google’s Autosuggest and commonly asked questions features to determine which queries to put on your own FAQ page.

By arranging text in a Q&A format, you make it easier for visitors to discover the answers they’re looking for. If your FAQ section is highly informative and well-written, you might even get featured in one of Google’s featured snippets or answer boxes, which can help boost your search rankings and traffic.

Apart from adding a strong FAQ page, another way to strengthen your customer service operation is through chatbots. Customers want instant answers, and chatbots can give them real-time support day or night, wherever they are in the world. This way, visitors can seamlessly carry on with their activity on your site.

For a small or medium business, staying within budget is important. A strong online presence can help you provide round-the-clock accessibility and customer support – minus the cost of hiring additional staff.

5. Easily Measure Campaign Performance and Effectiveness

Unlike print and TV ads, digital marketing lets you track the success of your campaigns in real-time. Tools like Google Analytics let you monitor various performance metrics, such as:

  • New and returning traffic
  • Traffic sources
  • Average time spent per visit
  • Bounce rates
  • Impressions
  • Cost per conversion
  • Most visited pages
  • Overall return on investment (ROI)

Engagement and conversion metrics are much harder to quantify in traditional marketing platforms. With digital marketing, however, you can see results within mere hours after implementation. Gaining invaluable insights into your digital campaigns gives you the ability to see what works and what doesn’t. This way, you can identify issues quickly and make adjustments accordingly. Data also enables you to craft personalized and targeted marketing campaigns for certain types of audiences and, eventually, convert them into buying customers.

6. Enjoy Higher Returns at Minimum Cost

Many small and medium-sized enterprises don’t have budgets for costly traditional marketing services such as TV, radio, print and billboard advertisements. This clearly puts them at a disadvantage to competitors with more money to spend. Fortunately, a well-executed digital marketing strategy offers less operational costs and higher returns. It lets you effectively target customers and deliver extremely relevant messages at the right time and on the right platform. And since you’re only targeting users who are actively looking for your services or products, you’re saving both time and resources. 

Digital marketing can be tailored to suit any budget. Traditional marketing strategies, on the other hand, often have set development, production and publishing costs. With online advertising, you don’t need additional publishing costs since most campaigns are mostly done through your own website and social media pages. This means startups and SMEs now have a greater chance of expanding their audience and dominating the market. For instance, pay-per-click marketing only charges you when a user actually clicks on your ads, allowing you to maximize every dollar spent. Since PPC results are also measurable and easy to track, you get to determine exactly how much your return on investment is.

Online marketing also removes the need for an ongoing commitment since most digital strategies can be improved or updated anytime depending on your current goals and budget. This gives you greater control of your finances and prevents overspending. Similarly, most email marketing platforms will let you upgrade your plan easily. Depending on your platform of choice and the number of subscribers, a mid-sized business can expect to spend anywhere between $0-$1000 on an email campaign. Some platforms may charge more depending on the frequency of sent campaigns. For example, a weekly newsletter will usually cost more than a monthly email. 

Digital marketing is no one-size-fits-all solution. The right strategy for you will depend on your company’s specific goals, targets and budgets. Keeping a close eye on your campaign performance and industry developments will help you stay ahead of the curve.

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