As a small to medium-sized business owner, you only have so much you can allocate towards marketing.
And there are many ways you can decide to allocate those funds. There’s radio advertising, TV advertising, networking events, trade shows, etc.
Then there’s online marketing.
And online marketing can be intimidating.
It’s easy to think that there’s no way you can compete in the online space because everybody is already so far ahead of you: knowledge-wise, spend-wise, and time-wise.
And there in lies the good news.
A 2015 survey on over 350 small business owners and managers performed by Clutch showed that almost 50% of small business allocate 20% or less of their marketing budget to online marketing:
That leaves a lot of room for you to get a leg up on your competitors, especially since online marketing isn’t going anywhere.
In fact, it’s becoming more pervasive.
Your potential customers are trying to find you on their computers, on their phones, on their tablets, in airplanes, in buses, in their cars, on demo computers in the Apple store. . . you get the idea.
It’s an instant gratification society and, when people decide they want your product, they’re going to Google it and, if you’re not in the Google Results, someone else will be.
There are two major pieces to an online marketing strategy: SEO (Search Engine Optimization and PPC (Pay Per Click- or “online advertising”). Let’s look at SEO first.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO consists of strategic blog posting, keyword optimization, link building, search engine indexing optimization, and much more. Less than 50% of small to medium-sized businesses are doing any of that. Again, that’s an amazing opportunity for you to rank higher than them on Google and build SEO credibility before they ever get started.
Here’s what the data showed, specifically regarding SEO:
Now is the time to jump from the green piece of the pie to the red piece of the pie so more customers find you.
Now, let’s look at PPC (online advertising).
PPC (Online Advertising)
PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising is the act of buying online advertisements. These can come in the form of Facebook Ads, Twitter Ads, Google Adwords, etc. In addition to SEO, the survey looked at small to medium-sized businesses’ plans to get involved with online advertising and their current experiences with it. Here’s what the data showed:
As you can see, small to medium-sized businesses are utilizing online advertising even less than search engine optimization (about 25% compared to about 45% for SEO). That may be because there is an additional cost that comes with online advertising: you actually need to pay for the ads themselves.
Yet with an effective online advertising strategy, the ROI of those ads can be exponentially greater than the initial investment.
While SEO can help more people find your site, online advertising can drive a specific segment of your target market to specific pages of your site, e.g. pages that sell the specific products they need, leading to direct sales.
So, while it may be scary to invest marketing dollars in advertisements, it can be the thing that takes your business to the next level.
Just make sure to hire an expert – or an agency – that knows how to optimize advertisements (as well as the pages on your website the ads send users to) in order to maximize profits.
Interview a few different experts/agencies and reach out to clients they’ve worked with before making a final decision.
-Matt Coffy | President and Founder, Customer Bloom
But whether you choose us or not, what’s really important is that you choose to move into the red piece of the pie (planning to begin SEO and PPC) and out of the green piece of the pie (unlikely to ever begin).
The world we live in is one where digital marketing sets businesses apart from their competition. It’s one where a balanced strategy between traditional marketing and online marketing is necessary to thrive.
It’s the missing piece you’ve been looking for to take your business to the next level.
The one thing you absolutely shouldn’t do is begin to implement SEO and PPC with no plan in place to measure success.
You need to know what metrics you’ll be analyzing and you need to set up the infrastructure to analyze them. Or, you can hire somebody to do it for you.
You can measure:
- Traffic to your site
- Your Google Rankings
- Your Sales
- Your Conversions (e.g. opt-ins to your email list)
- Amount of Phone Calls to Your Business.
In this day and age, there is a way to measure just about any metric you can think of. And you get to choose which metrics are important to your business. And which metrics truly represent success for your business.
Whatever metrics you choose, you’ll want to start gathering data before you implement your new SEO and PPC strategies – so you have a baseline to compare to. There are many tools you can use to do this. Google Analytics is the most common.
If this is intimidating for you, add some marketing dollars to the budget for initial setup. As intimidating as it might be for you, it’s that easy for the experts that run online marketing campaigns full time.
There is an opportunity for you to set yourself apart here as well.
According to the survey, about 25% of the companies currently implementing SEO and PPC either do not measure their ROI or aren’t sure how they measure it.
And, if they don’t measure it, there’s no way they can continue to optimize their spending and their ROI – because they won’t be able to know what’s working and what’s not.
This is more of a reason to make the jump to the red piece of the pie. Once you’re there, you have the opportunity to instantly jump ahead of 25% of the other businesses investing in digital marketing, simply by measuring your results. That’s in addition to the approximately 50% of businesses that aren’t investing in it at all.
Now you’re beginning to see the opportunity that’s here for you.
The next step is to take action. Talk to an expert who will take the time to understand your business, your goals, and your needs in detail. And one that will provide you with a strategy and concrete plan to achieve ROI in a reasonable time frame.
Don’t wait because SEO and PPC take time to build momentum. And, right now, you can begin to build that momentum before your competition catches on. So, by the time they do, they won’t be able to catch you.
You’ll have content that ranks you higher on Google, sales that are spreading through online advertisements, and customers that now know your brand that never knew you existed before.
And the initial investment you spend now will bring you an exponential ROI if done right, an ROI that wouldn’t be possible with traditional marketing alone.
Jump into the fray now. You won’t regret it.