If you haven’t moved your business online yet, I guarantee you’ve thought about it. Sure, if you’re not the most tech-savvy or don’t know where to begin, the task may seem daunting. This message is for you: take the leap and do it now. While there are hundreds of reasons to move your business online, I’ve narrowed it down to the top three reasons you need to embrace the switch to digital marketing and get your brick and mortar business into the digital sphere today.
Particularly if you’re a small independent business that wants to develop and grow in a short period of time, adopting an online presence is one of the most effective solutions available to you. Traditional marketing, such as direct mail or print, is expensive and you can get the same results for a fraction of the cost if you make the switch. A great example from Lyfe Marketing shows how a small business can expose its services to over 1,000 people for less than $3 using social media, while the same exposure using direct mail will cost them about $57 and a television ad will cost around $28.
Furthermore, even if you don’t have a business yet, starting an online business from the get-go has proven to be more cost-effective for entrepreneurs out there. Savings on the cost of renting or buying the property for your operation alone are significant.
By going digital, you’re also able to be more targeted in your efforts. Using online tools like Facebook Ads or Google Ads allows you to select a specific target audience to put your messaging and products in front of. By narrowing it down on a granular level, you’re putting yourself in front of those most likely to buy from you and therefore increase the efficiency of your marketing spend. Need I say more?
Most of your audience is starting their customer journey online with a simple search. If you don’t believe me, take a look at Generation Z: they’ve never known a world without the internet and this is reflected in how much they use the internet on their devices (reported back in 2016 to be twice as much as Millennials). Doesn’t it make sense to go where they are? And if you are selling products or services that are not limited to your small town or city, then why not open the door to a larger region? By adopting an online presence and utilizing digital channels, you’re opening the door to the world to find you. The number of potential customers grows exponentially.
From ensuring you can be found on search engines, to using social media, your reach becomes so much more than that little piece of mail you have dropped in mailboxes around you. The ability to connect with mobile customers is a major benefit. Over half of all users online are accessing the web from a phone or a tablet. As of March this year, about 52% of all internet traffic was on a mobile phone!
Expanding your reach to be found by potential customers is one thing; using digital channels to convert a larger audience into buyers of your products is another. The obvious advantages of simply having your products available to be purchased online aside, think about how easily you can keep yourself top-of-mind with those buyers. By using email marketing, you can effortlessly deliver new information regarding your services, new product launches, and sales. Even better, if you segment your customer base by their age, what they normally shop for, and how they like to consume their content, you can cater your emails to their preferences which is a proven effective tactic for conversion!
1. Online sales increased by 52% year on year.
2. The number of shoppers online increased by 8.8%.
While that 8.8% increase of shoppers may not seem like much, it's actually a significant amount. For years people have been transitioning to shopping online, but at a slower rate. For example, the trend has been somewhat parallel to the growth in online sales; when you look at the growth rate for online sales in the U.S. alone for 2018-2019, it was 14.9% over an entire year. Put that 8.8% increase in online shoppers and a 52% increase in online sales in the perspective of a month and it becomes clear how big the impact truly is. Not only are people moving online in a short time period, but overall they're shopping for more online rather than just the one-off gift items (like you see around Christmas time when they’re trying to avoid the in-store madness).
If you ignore this upheaval in consumer behavior, you’ll be left behind. Many businesses out there are having to make the switch in order to keep their doors open. Looking at the rising trend of BOPIS (buy-online-pick-up-in-store) or delivery shopping, it is clear that the impact of the pandemic is going to have long-lasting effects on how people shop. CNN released a thought-provoking article on how Black Friday as we know it is dead. In short, you can’t afford to ignore the change anymore.
So get out there and develop that digital marketing plan. Build your online store. Become found in search results. Adopt email marketing, consult a social media marketer, and embrace the trend!
Of course, if you need help and don’t know how to quickly pivot into online marketing, we are always available to help!