3 Reasons Why Small Businesses Need a Strong Website and Strategic Digital Marketing
October 20, 2021
A small business without a strong online presence and digital marketing strategy is like a car without a driver.
Now consider all the stakes that are involved. No matter your location, industry, service or product, the first place a potential consumer, client, or partner is going is your social media channels and your website. And don't get me started on how quick people jump to conclusions. According to CXL.com, "It takes about 50 milliseconds (ms) (that’s 0.05 seconds) for users to form an opinion about your website that determines whether they’ll stay or leave." That's 1/10th of a second and the same applies to a first impression about your social media channels.
To create a winning first impression for your small business through your website, social media and email marketing takes time, dedication, planning and hard work. But hard work with focus on the pillars below, will pay off tenfold.
The Pillars of Digital Marketing
There are hundreds of potential ways to approach a digital marketing strategy. There is no one size fits all, and each approach deserves specific attention to detail. In over 5 years of assisting restaurants, authors, non-profits, media agencies, medical device companies, and more with their digital marketing strategy needs, the four pillars have always stayed true.
1. Responsive Website
Your website serves as your "home base." Chances are extremely high that your website is the first time a user is familiarizing themselves with your brand. And as discussed above, you have a gracious 1/10th of a second to make a first impression. This means creating an excellent UI/UX design is at the top of the priority list when designing and building a website. The goal is to instill enjoyment while scrolling through the site accompanied with on-brand colors, animations to make the site feel alive, and of course, clear and concise CTA's to eliminate confusion.
The website is the place where you send potential customers, clients or prospects to learn about your product or service.
It is also a hub for content marketing, this is where your content will live.
The list of benefits can go on to be longer than a CVS receipt; however, we can't go on without mentioning the importance of being able to be found through SEO. Contrary to some belief, SEO is far from dying. In fact, organic search is still the #1 source of website traffic and holds immense value in building trust and credibility.
2. Email Marketing
Many people look at email marketing as an outdated method. But marketers know how beneficial email is to their overall marketing strategy, especially for small businesses. In fact, 4 out of 5 marketers surveyed in 2020 said they would rather give up social media than email marketing.
More on email marketing statistics and best practices below from HubSpot:
- 78% of marketers in 2020 said email is important to overall company success, compared to 71% in 2019. (Litmus, 2020)
- 31% of B2B marketers say email newsletters are the best way to nurture leads. (Content Marketing Institute, 2020)
- 81% of B2B marketers say their most used form of content marketing is email newsletters. (Content Marketing Institute, 2020)
- 90% of content marketers say email engagement is the top metric they track to measure content performance. (Content Marketing Institute, 2020)
- Nearly 22% of all email campaigns are opened within the first hour of sending. (GetResponse, 2020)
- 99% of email users check their inbox every day, with some checking 20 times a day.
3. Content Marketing
Content marketing is a great option to drive traffic as well as engagement. Content marketing involves a well-thought out content mix, in other words, each piece of content you create should address your audience's goals and needs as well as support your broader business objectives.
A great framework for types of content is the 4A's framework from Copyblogger.
Attraction Content - intended to attract the right audience members by providing value through problem solving, entertainment, tips, strategies, and more. Your goal for this content is for people to consume it and spread it.
Affinity Content - Affinity content is content that attracts people who have the same values and beliefs as you. This content shares your beliefs, so people with similar beliefs feel like they belong in your community.
Action Content - content designed to get somebody to take an action, with clear and specific CTA's.
Authority Content - empower your audience to be their best, the opposite of beating your chest. Helpful information and stories to gain the attention, engage and influence a clearly defined audience with the objective of identifying who would benefit from your products and services
4. Social Media
We all know the power of social media. It offers unmatched reach that other platforms find hard to rival.
Once a diverse content library is established, the next step is to choose the most important social media platforms for your business, and create a content scheduling and engagement strategy.
Social media is your chance and the potential to get in front of millions to showcase your brand, tell your story, educate your audience, drive traffic, and grow your business.
3 Benefits of a Strong Online Presence
If you want to really drive the visibility and eventually the growth of your brand, you will do so by championing the pillars above. To continue, we will look at 3 (of many) benefits of a great website, consistent social media content distribution, and a coordinated email marketing plan.
For small businesses, cost is understandably a big deal. SMB's need to be very careful on how and what they spend their budget on since their resources are limited.
There is the potential to see exponential ROI on your digital marketing spend. We've all heard the rags to riches stories of people making millions on Instagram; however, there is a much more realistic and sustainable digital marketing model, focusing on more than just social media or PPC. According to Hubspot, email marketing alone generates $42 for every $1 spent, which is an astounding 4,200% ROI, making it one of the most effective options available.
While the ROI is clear; what is even clearer is the potential down-side and risk of not having a strong website and digital marketing plan.
2. Enhanced, Trackable Analytics
Digital marketing and advertising offers the advantage of a robust amount of analytics, with simplified dashboards for a novice marketer or small business owner to comprehend.
Digital marketing analytics analyzes and evaluates the performance of your marketing initiatives to gain insights for better decision-making. From your website to social media to email, below are a handful of metrics to stay on top of:
- Site visitors
- Bounce rate
- Traffic source
- Average session duration
- Number of followers
- Engagement rate
- Open rate
- Click through rate (CTR%)
3. Ability to Stay Agile
In an ever-evolving digital ecosystem, changes in business goals, and world events, the ability to be agile and flexible is more important than ever.
With a great foundation including a responsive, user friendly website, a well-thought out content strategy, active social media channels, and a diverse digital marketing plan, small business have the ability to adjust quickly and realign goals, strategy and messaging.
There is no secret to a great online presence and a strategic digital marketing plan. What is required? A hardworking team that understand what it takes to succeed in today's digital environment. The ability to set the right goals, to collaborate, to be open-minded, and to bring your vision to life.
Jump on the digital bandwagon with us sooner than later, we're sure it'll pay off.
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