How Should Small Businesses Use Their Limited Marketing Budget?

There’s no denying that the world is moving toward more digital content, but how should that relate to your marketing budget?

Traditional marketing has long gotten the largest piece of the marketing pie, but in recent years, that share has started to dwindle. Procter & Gambel announced this week that they spend 35% of their marketing dollars on digital. In the past ten years, digital marketing has become a staple of nearly every successful business, yet many companies still look to it as an afterthought. What they don’t realize is that, these days, no marketing strategy is complete without a thorough, well thought out digital marketing plan. That includes a comprehensive website, social media and search engine optimization (SEO) campaign. These strategies not only work independently, but also drive traditional marketing tactics to their max potential.

Here are a few reasons why small businesses should focus the lion’s share of their marketing budget toward digital marketing.

The world no longer sleeps, and everyone’s looking

Ten years ago, you could probably get away having dirty laundry—bad service, unhappy customers or employee reputation. These days, not so much. Because we now live in a world of instant communication, anyone let the world know their opinion, good or bad, and when that happens, businesses need to be ready. The line between marketing and public relations has dwindled and digital marketing has bridged the gap.

Social media now has large impact on public perception as a whole. Some companies have benefited greatly from this type of nonstop communication, others have not. For instance, American Airlines has made it a point to respond to every single Tweet that comes their way, good or bad, and as a result have over 602,000 followers and 269,000 tweets. On the other hand, if your business doesn’t have a comprehensive social media page, potential customers will view your company as lackluster or lazy. If you don’t regularly post updates or add new information, your competitors do, and they have an inherent advantage as a result.

Your website is the face of your company

When people hear about a new company, likely the first thing they do is check their website. As a result, you’re likely missing out on a large percent of potential clientele if you still don’t have a good site. Like social media, people often will not take a business seriously if their website is not up to par; people love judging a book by its cover, and your website is your cover.

Traditional advertising is old news

Advertising, like every other form of communication, has taken a complete 180 in the past decade. Unlike any other media channel, online advertising has an inherent benefit in that one specific demographic, and no one else, can be targeted. If you have a toddlers’ clothing line, you’re not going to want to target teenagers, but rather prospective parents. You can’t do that very well with radio, television or newspaper ads, but could easily do it with digital marketing. This not only saves money, but also gives a much better return on investment.

social-media-logos_15773You can also target your customers through location, whether it be city or zip code through the advertising platforms available online. And many cities have their own local organizations that are dedicated to helping businesses promote themselves online (among other benefits.) In New Orleans, for example, Stay Local and the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce are two great starting points for local businesses.

Digital marketing has tangible results

Above all else, businesses want to see a bigger return on their investment when it comes to advertising. Though you can make a good guess about how a commercial or billboard affects sales, it’s hard to get a precise assessment. That’s not the case with digital marketing. With digital marketing, not only can you see exactly where people are clicking to your website, you can tell how often these clicks are converting into sales. This makes it much easier to see what works and what doesn’t, so a business can evolve it’s strategy with a few simple and inexpensive changes.

More important than anything, though, is that overall business strategy is becoming more online oriented. Digital marketing has tremendous upside, and in upcoming years should only become more apparent. While it’s not too late to get into the game right now it might be soon. If you don’t see the results now, you will soon.

Looking to put more of your marketing dollars into digital, and want the right team by your side? Contact Us and we’ll get you started on the right path toward marketing success.