Small-business owners are a practical bunch. So when it comes to digital marketing – websites, search ads, digital banners, email and mobile ads – they approach it with a decidedly practical bent. “Generating leads and sales is very important to us,” said Jack Groot, owner of JP’s Coffee & Espresso Bar in Holland, Mich.
Groot speaks for millions of small-business owners who are leaning more and more into digital marketing, but only if they see real value in it. Larger organizations are accustomed to marketing digitally – they’ve been doing it for years. Many smaller firms, however, have stuck with traditional ways. But that’s changing, and picking up steam.
Digital marketing has blossomed as digital-marketing tools for small business have become more accessible and affordable. A major trend driving increased use of digital marketing by smaller businesses is the increased availability of customer data. This information helps even the smallest businesses understand customers better, identify leads earlier and respond to customer needs by knowing what they’re looking for.
According to a new study conducted by Inc. Magazine and Vocus, a cloud software provider, the top six reasons small-business owners use digital marketing are to:
• Drive sales.
• Increase brand awareness.
• Reach new customer segments.
• Improve productivity.
Another attraction of digital marketing for small business is that you can move the needle without having to allocate lots of resources – especially personnel. Meanwhile, more than half of the small and mid-sized businesses surveyed by Inc. say they now have at least one full-time employee working on their digital marketing efforts.
Not surprisingly, the Inc. survey found that websites are the most commonly used digital marketing tool among smaller businesses, with about 87 percent now using them. And while some still use “old” noninteractive websites, many others are incorporating digital marketing tools that incorporate social interaction to gain much greater traction.