When asked what they would do if they had $100,000 to invest in their business, most SBOs (30%) said “market/promote my business”.
~The Hartford’s 2014 Small Business Success Study
Online marketing can be challenging for small businesses, particularly for those with less than 10 employees, entrepreneurs, solopreneurs and businesses with a local focus. You may value marketing but it can be tempting to push your marketing strategy to the bottom of your ever-growing to-do list, because you don't have the time or talent to create and manage it effectively. No business is too small to need a comprehensive marketing plan - one that integrates online and offline marketing efforts - and here's why:
It's where your potential customers are: nearly all consumers go online when looking to purchase goods or services, and 72% of consumers who did a local search visited a store within five... (Hubspot, 2017). Even if your small business is only targeting local consumers, you need to have a professional, vibrant online presence, including a website, search engine optimization, content marketing and active social media pages that are integrated with your website.
It's where your competitors are: consumers trust online searches and value customer reviews; in fact 74% of consumers say positive reviews make them trust a local busin.... If your competitor is online and you're not, you are going to lose business.
It's where your existing customers are: Increasingly, consumers rely on social media to leave feedback about businesses, and also to communicate directly with companies. 71% of consumers who have a good social media experience with a bra...If your customers are communicating about your brand online - or trying to communicate with your company - and you don't know about it, you are going to lose customers and control over your brand management.
You are on board that your small business needs a digital marketing strategy - now what? You have three main options: do it yourself (or ask an employee), hire a dedicated marketing employee or engage a marketing firm.
Small business owners do not have the time or resources to effectively manage a digital marketing strategy. Trying to fit marketing into your busy schedule will inevitably result in it being pushed to the bottom of the pile. Hiring, onboarding, training and managing a dedicated marketing employee is expensive and unrealistic for most small businesses. This leaves the third option: engage a marketing firm.
Expertise: Marketing agencies have the expertise and ability to manage every aspect of your marketing strategy, including search engine optimization, content marketing, social media integration/management and brand management. In order for a marketing strategy to be truly impactful, all the elements have to work seamlessly together and be managed/monitored daily. As a small business owner you don't have the time (or likely the inclination) to manage all aspects of an effective marketing strategy.
Increased Productivity: In a small business every employee needs to be fully dedicated to their main function. Trying to add even one element of your marketing strategy - perhaps social media management - to an employee's plate will reduce productivity, not to mention that they likely lack the ability (and interest) to do this effectively. Engaging a marketing firm frees every employee up to focus on their main priorities.
Immediate Execution - A marketing agency can execute your strategy immediately; there is no lost time to ramping up or training.
Cost Effective: Many small businesses dismiss the idea of a marketing firm, feeling this would be too expensive. Engage an agency that understands small businesses and their particular needs, and has a pricing structure that works for small business.
Brand Management: You have worked hard to create your company and your brand, and you would never ignore existing or potential customers in the offline world - don't ignore them online, either. It is critical to know what consumers are saying about your brand online, and have real-time responses to customer inquiries and feedback. A marketing agency manages/monitors all aspects of your brand both offline and online.
Our consultants understand small business and have a decade of experience creating and managing customized marketing strategies that incorporate all your marketing efforts. Start today with a FREE consultation!