Many small businesses don’t think they “do marketing,” or need to “do marketing.” In fact, around 37% of small businesses in a survey of 500 small businesses don’t have a website to market their products and services.
The basis for this line of argument for many of them is that they’re too busy trying to get customers through the door to be bothered about “fancy marketing.”
However, marketing is a more effortless and surer way to bring in the business they want. This article will reveal some benefits of digital marketing for small businesses and show that marketing truly matters regardless of the business you run.
Does Marketing Really Matter?
Marketing absolutely matters for businesses of any size. However, building a digital marketing strategy is the last thing on the minds of business owners. They are more concerned with what they consider to be tangible stuff, like, for example, getting the number of customers up.
They believe that customers would inevitably find their way to them since they have a great product or service. But unfortunately, although this strategy might bring some customers (after all, who doesn’t love great products and service?), its results pale compared to what they’ll get if they use digital marketing.
The global pandemic and measures to curb its effects have changed the business and retail landscape. Many people have integrated online reviews and searching online into their decision to purchase a product or service. This reveals just how much digital marketing helps small businesses and why it’s in their benefit to take advantage of this new situation.
The market out there is simply too big and important to be ignored. According to the Global Overview Report, more than 4.6 billion people worldwide use the internet, and 46.3% of them use the internet to research products and brands.
So, what does this mean? Having a great product or service is essential, but it’s ultimately futile if nobody knows about it. Digital marketing is how you get your product out there and should be part of every small business’s strategy for growth.
Why some small businesses don’t invest in digital marketing
Since marketing offers many benefits, it’s bewildering to see small businesses fail to invest in it.
However, it’s important to note that these owners have their reasons. Some of the common reasons include:
Service-based companies don’t need to do marketing.
On the surface, this looks like a genuine reason, but it turns out to be smoke and mirrors. As long as you’re a business selling something, you can benefit from a sound digital marketing strategy.
The business has tried marketing before and it didn’t work.
Just because you’ve tried something before and it failed doesn’t mean it can’t ever work. Have you tried something else? Sometimes, some businesses have started on the right marketing path but fall off because of a lack of patience.
It’s essential to measure the right metrics in any marketing campaign to judge whether it’s working or not accurately.
Why Digital Marketing is Important for Small Businesses
Relying solely on traditional marketing methods will not achieve the desired results, so small businesses should adopt digital marketing.
With so many people connected to the internet, online searches have increased in volume and frequency over the past year. 79% of consumers currently use the internet to find information about local businesses, and a digital marketing strategy makes it possible to be found easily by searchers.
Another reason why digital marketing is excellent for small businesses is that it can turn customers into brand ambassadors. Using digital testimonials can complement the “word of mouth” way of marketing and since 89% of consumers read reviews before buying products, integrating such testimonials is a no-brainer.
Digital marketing widens your reach. By using multichannel, you can increase conversions and reach potential customers where they are. Social media is a gem, with 4.20 billion people using it. So by tailoring your message on the different channels, you can boost your reach over time.
Benefits of Digital Marketing for Small Businesses
It increases your reach
You can target your audience at the right time
It improves communication at all stages of the buying process
It’s easy to tack and monitor
Marketing allows you to know customers better
It lets the customer come to you
Digital marketing increases your revenue
1. It increases your reach
Considering that people today are spending more time than ever before in front of their screen, digital marketing offers small businesses a great chance to reach new audiences.
Small businesses can use either organic or paid digital efforts to reach these new audiences.
2. You can target your audience at the right time
Most digital marketing channels have personalization and segmentation features that allow you to reach your audience with the right message at the right time.
For instance, you can send time-limited offers to subscribers on your email list. Or run Twitter ads during specific holidays to target your audience at the right time.
3. It improves communication at all stages of the buying process
People rarely go from being unaware of your brand to become customers. There’s typically a buying process they go through, and digital marketing channels help you guide your audience through this process.
For instance, you can create valuable content that answers questions your audience might have with your blog. Also, you can use social media to drive conversations and engagement among your audience.
4. It’s cost-effective
Compared to traditional marketing, digital marketing offers a low-cost method to reach your audience. Sometimes, with channels like social media and email marketing, you might not even have to pay to market your products and services to potential customers.
5. It’s easy to tack and monitor
Most digital channels come with analytics that help you quickly identify what elements work within your marketing strategy.
Once you identify an under-performing area of your strategy, you can quickly switch things up and monitor how well the new elements are working.
6. Marketing allows you to know customers better
Before starting your business, you likely had an idea of your ideal customer. However, marketing helps you even get to know this ideal customer more.
How they interact with your campaigns and marketing messages helps you identify what’s important to them and how you can connect better with them.
7. It lets the customer come to you
Consistently creating valuable content for your audience helps you build authority and subject matter expertise (SME) in your industry. When people have problems concerning the topics you talk about, it’s easy for them to turn to you.
8. Digital marketing can increase your revenue.
Assuming your conversion rates are constant, it goes without saying that you’ll make more money if you reach more people — and that’s exactly what digital marketing helps you do.
Using social media, a website, email marketing, and more digital channels, you’ll have more avenues to reach more people through at a marginal cost difference than you would if you used traditional or in-person marketing methods.
Use Digital Marketing for Small Businesses
Digital marketing can have a huge, positive effect on your business. Developing a marketing strategy might take some time, but it’s time well worth it. No business, big or small, new or old, should overlook the opportunity to generate leads and improve conversions that digital marketing offers.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in November 2006 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
The author’s views are entirely his or her own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.
We’re back with another SEO recap with Tom Capper! As you’ve probably noticed, ChatGPT has taken the search world by storm. But does GPT-3 mean the end of SEO as we know it, or are there ways to incorporate the AI model into our daily work?
Tom tries to tackle this question by demonstrating how he plans to use ChatGPT, along with other natural language processing systems, in his own work.
Be sure to check out the commentary on ChatGPT from our other Moz subject matter experts, Dr. Pete Meyers and Miriam Ellis:
Hello, I’m Tom Capper from Moz, and today I want to talk about how I’m going to use ChatGPT and NLP, natural language processing apps in general in my day-to-day SEO tasks. This has been a big topic recently. I’ve seen a lot of people tweeting about this. Some people saying SEO is dead. This is the beginning of the end. As always, I think that’s maybe a bit too dramatic, but there are some big ways that this can be useful and that this will affect SEOs in their industry I think.
The first question I want to ask is, “Can we use this instead of Google? Are people going to start using NLP-powered assistants instead of search engines in a big way?”
So just being meta here, I asked ChatGPT to write a song about Google’s search results being ruined by an influx of AI content. This is obviously something that Google themselves is really concerned about, right? They talked about it with the helpful content update. Now I think the fact that we can be concerned about AI content ruining search results suggests there might be some problem with an AI-powered search engine, right?
No, AI powered is maybe the wrong term because, obviously, Google themselves are at some degree AI powered, but I mean pure, AI-written results. So for example, I stole this from a tweet and I’ve credited the account below, but if you ask it, “What is the fastest marine mammal,” the fastest marine mammal is the peregrine falcon. That is not a mammal.
Then it mentions the sailfish, which is not a mammal, and marlin, which is not a mammal. This is a particularly bad result. Whereas if I google this, great, that is an example of a fast mammal. We’re at least on the right track. Similarly, if I’m looking for a specific article on a specific web page, I’ve searched Atlantic article about the declining quality of search results, and even though clearly, if you look at the other information that it surfaces, clearly this has consumed some kind of selection of web pages, it’s refusing to acknowledge that here.
Whereas obviously, if I google that, very easy. I can find what I’m looking for straightaway. So yeah, maybe I’m not going to just replace Google with ChatGPT just yet. What about writing copy though? What about I’m fed up of having to manually write blog posts about content that I want to rank for or that I think my audience want to hear about?
So I’m just going to outsource it to a robot. Well, here’s an example. “Write a blog post about the future of NLP in SEO.” Now, at first glance, this looks okay. But actually, when you look a little bit closer, it’s a bluff. It’s vapid. It doesn’t really use any concrete examples.
It doesn’t really read the room. It doesn’t talk about sort of how our industry might be affected more broadly. It just uses some quick tactical examples. It’s not the worst article you could find. I’m sure if you pulled a teenager off the street who knew nothing about this and asked them to write about it, they would probably produce something worse than this.
But on the other hand, if you saw an article on the Moz blog or on another industry credible source, you’d expect something better than this. So yeah, I don’t think that we’re going to be using ChatGPT as our copywriter right away, but there may be some nuance, which I’ll get to in just a bit. What about writing descriptions though?
I thought this was pretty good. “Write a meta description for my Moz blog post about SEO predictions in 2023.” Now I could do a lot better with the query here. I could tell it what my post is going to be about for starters so that it could write a more specific description. But this is already quite good. It’s the right length for a meta description. It covers the bases.
It’s inviting people to click. It makes it sound exciting. This is pretty good. Now you’d obviously want a human to review these for the factual issues we talked about before. But I think a human plus the AI is going to be more effective here than just the human or at least more time efficient. So that’s a potential use case.
What about ideating copy? So I said that the pure ChatGPT written blog post wasn’t great. But one thing I could do is get it to give me a list of subtopics or subheadings that I might want to include in my own post. So here, although it is not the best blog post in the world, it has covered some topics that I might not have thought about.
So I might want to include those in my own post. So instead of asking it “write a blog post about the future of NLP in SEO,” I could say, “Write a bullet point list of ways NLP might affect SEO.” Then I could steal some of those, if I hadn’t thought of them myself, as potential topics that my own ideation had missed. Similarly you could use that as a copywriter’s brief or something like that, again in addition to human participation.
Even experienced coders often find themselves falling back to Stack Overflow and this kind of thing. So here’s an example. “Write an SQL query that extracts all the rows from table2 where column A also exists as a row in table1.” So that’s quite complex. I’ve not really made an effort to make that query very easy to understand, but the result is actually pretty good.
It’s a working piece of SQL with an explanation below. This is much quicker than me figuring this out from first principles, and I can take that myself and work it into something good. So again, this is AI plus human rather than just AI or just human being the most effective. I could get a lot of value out of this, and I definitely will. I think in the future, rather than starting by going to Stack Overflow or googling something where I hope to see a Stack Overflow result, I think I would start just by asking here and then work from there.
That’s all. So that’s how I think I’m going to be using ChatGPT in my day-to-day SEO tasks. I’d love to hear what you’ve got planned. Let me know. Thanks.
This afternoon, HubSpot announced it would be making cuts in its workforce during Q1 2023. In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing it put the scale of the cuts at 7%. This would mean losing around 500 employees from its workforce of over 7,000.
The reasons cited were a downward trend in business and a “faster deceleration” than expected following positive growth during the pandemic.
Layoffs follow swift growth. Indeed, the layoffs need to be seen against the background of very rapid growth at the company. The size of the workforce at HubSpot grew over 40% between the end of 2020 and today.
In 2022 it announced a major expansion of its international presence with new operations in Spain and the Netherlands and a plan to expand its Canadian presence in 2023.
Why we care. The current cool down in the martech space, and in tech generally, does need to be seen in the context of startling leaps forward made under pandemic conditions. As the importance of digital marketing and the digital environment in general grew at an unprecedented rate, vendors saw opportunities for growth.
The world is re-adjusting. We may not be seeing a bubble burst, but we are seeing a bubble undergoing some slight but predictable deflation.
Kim Davis is the Editorial Director of MarTech. Born in London, but a New Yorker for over two decades, Kim started covering enterprise software ten years ago. His experience encompasses SaaS for the enterprise, digital- ad data-driven urban planning, and applications of SaaS, digital technology, and data in the marketing space.
He first wrote about marketing technology as editor of Haymarket’s The Hub, a dedicated marketing tech website, which subsequently became a channel on the established direct marketing brand DMN. Kim joined DMN proper in 2016, as a senior editor, becoming Executive Editor, then Editor-in-Chief a position he held until January 2020.
Prior to working in tech journalism, Kim was Associate Editor at a New York Times hyper-local news site, The Local: East Village, and has previously worked as an editor of an academic publication, and as a music journalist. He has written hundreds of New York restaurant reviews for a personal blog, and has been an occasional guest contributor to Eater.