Ten years ago it may have been a choice to jump on the online bandwagon, but now it’s an absolute must to survive and thrive as a small business. With over 85% of searches for products and services happening online, it’s just a “duh” at this point,” shares Jenny Servis, Vice President of Marketing for marketing solutions company SnapRetail. Expanding on this, Servis adds that “being online means having a responsive, search optimized website as well as an engaging and growing following on social media plus using email as part of your marketing mix.”
Having a website that’s search optimized, being on social media that you actually engage with and incorporating email into your marketing strategy may seem like a hefty load to carry, but the reality is it is almost too easy for small businesses to do nowadays. Automated marketing solutions help make consistent, frequent updates to all these channels nearly turn-key, and the data that’s tracked from social media, email marketing and other online strategies offers more than enough of a reason to make it a priority. The key word here is data – something small businesses can really gain from when reviewing it and reacting to it consistently.
Online or Offline Marketing… Do You Have to Make a Choice?
Many businesses, particularly those that don’t actually sell anything online, often complain that there’s not enough time in the day to “do it all” and as a result, online marketing gets shoved to the side. Unfortunately, this isn’t how customers make decisions. The reality is consumers – likely even you – turn to the internet to discover what to do, where to go, who to buy things from and more. Keeping this in mind, shopping online isn’t the only reason people go online. Instead, being online leverages multiple avenues for small businesses to gain visibility among consumers. As Servis explains, “leveraging your online and offline marketing together can more than double your efforts.”
With an estimated one in four Americans making at least one online purchase a week, 70% of Facebook users interacting with Facebook daily and the average Smartphone user picking up their phone about 1,500 times a week, there are countless reasons that being online is not just important – but rather a must when it comes to connecting with consumers. As a way to better support this, Melissa O’Malley, Director of Global Merchant & Cross-Border Trade Initiatives at PayPal, believes that small businesses need to find partners who align with all the marketing and sales channels that they aim to achieve online.
When considering marketing online – as well as selling online – it is important for small businesses to look for partners that offer best-of-breed products, solutions and services that provide the most convenience to the businesses and their customers,” shares O’Malley. Expanding on this, O’Malley notes that for small businesses, “what used to take weeks to set up now takes only minutes.”
Minutes. That’s what it takes to get things up and running for much of the online marketing solutions available for small businesses to implement into their businesses. Additionally, it’s valuable to consider investing some of your hard earned dollars into online marketing so that you can gain easy to use, automated online marketing solutions – allowing you to spend more time doing what you (hopefully) do best… run your business and make money.
The Single Most Important Reason You Need to Be Online
Consumers have too many choices these days and they have to be constantly reminded that you exist. The best way to reach them is where they spend a good bit of time… which is online,” Servis, a VP of Marketing with SnapRetail, firmly states.
And that, friends, leads us to the single most important reason you need to be consistently and efficiently using online marketing as part of your sales strategy… customers. Customers are online, which mean you need to be, too.
Nicole Leinbach Reyhle is the Author of Retail 101: The Guide to Managing and Marketing Your Retail Business, as well as the Founder of Retail Minded and the Independent Retailer Conference.