How is Digital Marketing Evolving?
With more people using the internet than ever before in history, it only makes sense that massive commercial opportunities can be found online. Now more than ever before businesses are shifting their focus to their digital platforms, closing the doors on physical stores, and putting massive amounts of money into their online marketing efforts. So how can a small business with a limited budget compete in the ever-competitive online space?
Social Media Marketing (SMM)
Social media marketing has exploded over the last few years, with companies big and small vying for a piece of the pie. The most popular social media network (Facebook) has capitalized on this, and offers an incredibly complex and thorough advertising platform for businesses to target its users. Due to the overwhelming amount of personal information users provide Facebook, targeting the perfect audience is easy for businesses, regardless of the market they are in. Unfortunately, other social media platforms (like Twitter) while popular, do not offer the same level of targeting capabilities, and fall by the wayside when it comes to SMM.
Social media has also given rise to a number of entrepreneurial personalities. Check out what one of the most well known in the industry has to say about the rise of digital marketing:
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO has exploded over the past 5 years, with both large corporations and small local businesses realizing the potential of showing up in Googles search engine. SEO offers a benefit over other forms of marketing in that the traffic is “free” and, when you do show up in the search results, the visitors landing on your site are coming directly to you. According to one digital marketing company, SEO is the best way for small businesses to get ahead of not only their competition, but also the major brands that tend to dominate local search results. This notion is not lost on CEO’s and Search Engine Optimization is predicted to be a multi billion dollar industry by the end of 2020.
Paid Digital Advertising
Paid ads are perhaps the oldest form of marketing, and still hold relevance today. There are a number of platforms that businesses can leverage to launch paid ad campaigns. From social media networks, to search engines, to good old fashioned billboard advertising, there are virtually no end to the options available to savvy marketers. Paid ads have major drawbacks however, and local businesses with small budgets oftentimes find themselves outbid by larger companies with bigger budgets. On top of this, once you stop paying for ad space, you will no longer get traffic. This means that businesses who do not have money to throw around experimenting with advertising will usually strike out.
Radio, TV, and Print Advertisements
Radio, TV, and print advertisements may actually take the cake as the oldest forms of advertising. Billboards are still extremely prevalent around the United States, and commercial/radio ads show no signs of going anywhere. This form of advertising is perhaps the most expensive and hardest to track method out there, and is not recommended for companies with limited budgets. Think of it this way: if your roof begins to leak, you may remember the advertisement from a roofing company in your area, but you probably aren’t going to remember their phone number, or know anything about the company. Your next step as a consumer with a problem to solve will be to head over to Google to find a reliable company in your area, where you will probably click on a business that shows up in the search results or has a paid ad showing.
Ultimately, with the rise in internet use, traditional forms of advertising are being phased out. Even if you get engagement from the radio, or your billboard, consumers will almost definitely go online to either try to find you, or a business that offers your service. Because of this, online presence should be the number one priority for local businesses looking to expand their customer base.