Think Your Small Business Can Compete in the Local Market Without a Digital Marketing Strategy? Think Again.
Toy Story is considered to be Pixar’s very first fully computer-animated feature film. Every 90s kid knows that to say “To infinity and beyond” is quoting Buzz Lightyear, the infamous space ranger from Pixar’s Toy Story. You could say that this simple phrase from animation’s digital milestone was foreshadowing the future of all digital media.
If you think about it, I imagine a similar statement was said after Ben Franklin discovered electricity – a discovery that would change the world forever. That spark of electricity has been the catalyst in producing a menagerie of new technology. Thanks to this technology, communities are now able to discover and improve the efficiency of how they interact with one another.
Likewise, the introduction of digital marketing is changing how the world communicates with each other, allowing us the ability to customize campaigns to reach our target demographics. Let’s talk about the importance of leveraging the digital marketplace and gaining the upper hand on your competitors.
IT JUST MAKES SENSE
Not confident on when to begin? I’m here to tell you that the answer is clear; digital is a fast-track path to the future of marketing. In this day and age, relying on traditional marketing to get the job done isn’t always the most practical route to take. Imagine if all of the breaking news stories were published exclusively in newspapers – the content would definitely be missed by an important demographic of consumers who are ingesting their information electronically.
Around 43% of US adults get news from Facebook. –Hubspot
During our lifetime, we’ve been able to experience first-hand the innovations of going digital and how this has improved our ability to socialize and connect with the rest of the world. With that being said, let’s make things clear, I am not endorsing that you abandon your traditional media methods for digital advertising, but rather reinforcing the importance of integrating a digital plan into your current marketing strategy. We’re all in the race to be #1, and the easiest way to ensure your loss would be by denying the importance of small business digital marketing.
TRADITIONAL ADVERTISING VS. DIGITAL MARKETING
Your goal is to stand out in a sea of similar-sounding businesses. Your direct competitor is an entrepreneur who dedicates several hours to keeping up with digital trends and utilizing the fiercest reputation management techniques. Sounds familiar, right?
Finding Your Demographic
Think about your target demographic. Who are you wanting to reach out to? Are you tailoring your marketing campaign to reach this crowd? For some businesses, traditional methods work better for the product they’re wanting to promote. Think about those pre-Super Bowl commercials. This works because their target is probably sports-minded individuals that are already watching a game on TV. Since the Super Bowl is only available on cable television, they’re able to reach out directly to their consumers. By aligning your goals and tactics, you’re able to exclude others that wouldn’t be such a good fit while also reaching out to a relevant audience.
Hitting Your Target
There’s so much more to integrating an efficient marketing strategy than purchasing a billboard with your phone number on it. In a world that is saturated with advertisements, it’s a cat-and-mouse game to find the perfect tactic to reach your target at the right moment. Marketing professionals hone their ability to evoke an emotional connection to your audience by the use of a few images and some carefully constructed text. In the world of digital marketing, hitting your target and tracking your progress is a lot easier than you might think. Digital offers you several ways of customizing your approach to ensure your dollars aren’t only being seen by the people who drive past your sign – it’s being seen by the people that matter.
Much like operating a printing press or a radio station, seeking the help of a professional could help get your message across in the most efficient way. Digital advertising is the same way. Like I said earlier, the world of advertising is a saturated market. Luckily, there are many individuals and agencies out there who specialize in bringing your marketing strategies to life, allowing your advertising dollars to go further.
We see them everywhere we go – billboards, branded vehicles, neon signs, and more. Static advertising is a form of traditional media that relies on a set image and text that is used in various settings, oftentimes the target demographic of static advertising is the general public. The simplest example would be an “Open” sign – it is stationary and lets you know whether a business is open or closed. It’s the equivalent of sticking a flyer on a bulletin board. With static advertising, you aren’t able to select a target demographic. The only statistic you’ll be able to track would be an estimated reach – but what about conversions?
With digital advertising, you’re able to completely tailor your advertising experience to reach your ideal customer. Instead of being seen on one corner of the city, your digital ads will pop up in places that are convenient to the consumer – on social media, while streaming music, and multiple times while browsing the web. With the aid of digital advertisements, you’ll be able to track statistics in real-time. Not only will you be able to keep track of the number of people who have interacted with your ad, but you can also track how many of these users become customers, along with a plethora of other lagniappe features.
Print media has been a popular choice of advertising that most brands utilize. Open a magazine, you’ll see ads for skincare products, up-and-coming musicians, and other symbols of pop culture. Visit your local dive bar, and you’ll see event posters in their windows and flyers on upcoming events inside. Print media is an effective way to ensure your message has some longevity in a form that people can take with them. Pamphlets are an easy way to read up on a new diagnosis, flyers are a great way of staying in the loop with campus activities, and books are an easy way to escape reality.
In the age of options, print media is likely the first form of advertising a new business will consider. However, we are also living in the age of “enlightenment” and print media could be seen as the costly and eco-unfriendly option for direct marketing.
86% of professionals prefer to use email when communicating for business purposes. –Strategic IQ
You become your own publisher when you integrate e-newsletters, e-billing, and other forms of online marketing. You’ll be able to reach out to the most relevant crowd and manage the various groups of people affiliated with your business – without the paper!
By adding upcoming events to the web, visitors are able to easily access the info and share it with their friends. This is also a great way of bringing prospective customers to your brand and encouraging them to interact with one another on social media. Additionally, I’m sure we can all agree that throwing away stacks of paper is way more stressful than emptying a spam box.
Broadcasting is the distribution of audio or visual content to a dispersed audience via airwaves. Let’s take it back to the most iconic forms of traditional media: radio and television. When it comes to entertainment, the introduction of broadcast media was THE game changer. People no longer had to make plans for a night out to enjoy a movie or musical number. This was like Neil Armstrong landing on the moon – “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Listening to your favorite jams on the radio while driving or rushing home to catch your favorite show – these are still the moments that bring us all together.
According to Forbes, last year cable lost 2.9 million subscribers – doubling the 1.5 million in 2017. And it isn’t slowing down anytime soon. In total, cable has lost over 10 billion since 2012.
THE END OF AN ERA
The times are changing and they are changing fast. Cable and satellite companies have seen a dramatic decrease in people abandoning their cable boxes and satellite dishes for cheaper, net-based streaming services like Netflix, among many others.
Why’s this? Just like when broadcast media first came out, digital streaming services are taking over entertainment. Recent studies suggest that the introduction of the smartphone has amplified the need to stay connected. By making the switch to digital, users are able to stay connected anywhere there’s an active internet connection.
Those opting for video streaming services have numerous reasons why they appreciate such services versus traditional TV and radio options. The stats don’t lie, check them out:
73 percent like that they can watch content when they want., 67 percent enjoy content without commercials and 49 percent love both Netflix and the flexibility to watch when they want – Deloitte
With digital advertising, you’ve got to catch your audience where they’re at. Netflix ensures no advertisements (for now), but similar platforms like Hulu offer the opportunity to advertise with them. The same goes for most music streaming platforms – increase your brand awareness by advertising in between songs on major streaming services like Spotify, Pandora, or Google Play. Users are relying on their portable technology more than ever to provide them with entertainment.
DIGITAL MARKETING: YOUR ALL-IN-ONE TOOL
Traditional advertising methods are successfully reaching out to the general public. However, if you’re looking for efficiency and targeted customer interaction – digital marketing is the answer. Define your goal, your audience, then kick back and relax with the knowledge that your marketing tactics are reaching everyone where they spend most of their time.
The capabilities of digital marketing have enable large and small business owners the ability to take a hands-on approach to marketing. They say to “reach for the stars,” but what if the stars were right in our reach? That’s digital marketing. Like the first spark of electricity or the first computer-animated movie – innovations in technology are taking us beyond our expectations and providing a direct line to our consumers.