How Can Small Businesses Compete in the Digital Space?
The ongoing pandemic has disrupted businesses in all industries. Strict social distancing policies and general health concerns have forced many businesses with physical locations to close or limit their services drastically.
Whilst branding and marketing is important, many small businesses have to also worry about sales, day-to-day operations and many other things to stay afloat, and with this constant juggle of managing a business, digital marketing tends to get pushed to one side.
Nowadays, the digital space has grown so big that it is hard for even traditional business models to ignore. In fact, 97% of people will search or learn about a business online compared to other channels – the opportunity to reach new markets is just too good to be missed!
For small businesses, competing with competitors much larger than themselves is always a daunting task, but with a solid strategy and identifying a few key areas that your small business has advantages over your larger competitors, you will still be able to reach your market.
Get online and build a website
Building a website used to be expensive, complicated and a hassle to manage. But with around 63% of consumers searching for brands via their website and 70,000 searches per second being made on Google, building a website is crucial for you to leverage the power of search engines and reach new markets. Thankfully, with the help of website building companies like Wix and Squarespace, you can now easily create an attractive DIY website that will help you reach new customers online.
It’s important to remember that your website is there to provide relevant information that engages with your ideal customers. The goal is to entice your target market to enquire about your service or to purchase your product, so make good use of contact forms and call to action buttons. Take advantage of free tracking tools like Google Analytics and Search Console to learn more about your target market, their browsing habits and use the data to further improve your website.
Social media presence is always important
With face to face communication currently being limited, social media is a great alternative channel to communicate with your audience on a daily basis.
Social media is already an important role for many small businesses, with as much as 88% of brands already having a social presence, so standing out from the crowd is important.
In order to find your voice within the social channels, you must know your audience. Take the time to identify the market you are trying to reach and create a content plan strategy. Although the goal is to ultimately grow your business, it is also important to give a reason for your target market to follow you. Remember to create content and topics that are relevant and not just posts that are ‘hard sell’, the key is to give your audience value. Post content consistently and utilize hashtags to reach new potential audiences.
Invest in paid media
Sometimes your content might be attractive and valuable but it just doesn’t generate the organic traffic that your brand deserves. A quick way to grow traffic is to invest in ads through google or social media, this is an effective and sure fire way to gain exposure.
If you are looking to grow traffic to your ecommerce store or website, Google Ads is an effective way to bring in new potential customers. For branding or lead generation goals, social media might be another channel for you to consider to gain the interest of your audience.
Remember to target the right audience and focus your budget on those targets to maximize your ad potential!
Reconnect with existing customers
Small businesses often have a small but loyal following and one way to boost your digital presence is to take advantage of this following to help boost your brand and reputation.
Connect with your followers and customers and ask them for reviews and testimonials. Real customer reviews are very valuable to a brand and instantly boosts your reputation. You can even ask them to show their purchases online to further boost credibility.
In the search for new customers online, never forget your old customers that have supported you. These customers could play an important role in sustaining a healthy balance to your business.
Priorities and make the most of your budget. Tweak and improve on your strategy!
Just utilizing some of the digital marketing strategies mentioned above can help make a difference when investing in digital marketing. Small businesses have limited resources so prioritise and make the most of your budget, but remember to always review and improve on your strategy!