You are at home right now, not your store or office where you normally are right now. In fact, nobody can visit the store and money is not coming in. This is the situation for small business owners all over the United States. However, this does not mean you need to accept this lack of revenue for long. The key to surviving this crisis and securing revenue for your business for a long time is through an investment in a digital marketing plan.
Pretty soon, we will all be eligible for a stimulus check of some form. If you are a business owner and want to put some of your stimulus checks to good use, consider a digital business transformation and most importantly, digital marketing.
Adam Markowitz, EA of Howard L. Markowitz PA CPA has been on top of details surrounding the CARES Act. He recommends looking at the opportunity that exists with digital marketing right now.
“Coronavirus is obviously creating a ton of fear in the world. But inside of the fear, there is always an opportunity for the fearless. Those who invest their stimulus money into promotion and marketing will stand out above the crowd during the chaos and will be the first ones who get paid off once the fear has subsided”Adam Markowitz, EA, Howard L. Markowitz PA CPA
There is a lot of potential in digital marketing for small businesses, and those that go digital are the ones that will survive. the time to take advantage of it is right now.
Why is Digital Marketing Important for Small Businesses
Crisis or no crisis, there are very positive impacts for small businesses adopting digital marketing trends. In 2017, Google commissioned Deloitte to study the connection between digital tools and the success of small businesses using them. The study showed that around 80% of small businesses are not taking advantage of digital tools like digital marketing because they do not understand the benefits. But for that 20% that did take advantage, here are two interesting figures to takeaway:
Amount of revenue digitally engaged businesses earned per employee.
The revenue earned over the previous year
These facts speak a lot about the importance of adopting a digital strategy, regardless of the economic situation we are in. If this doesn’t convince you, consider projected shopping behaviors during and after the Coronavirus pandemic.
…the fear of infectious diseases combined with the necessary changes to reduce overhead will make digital marketing practices necessary for survival.
There will be some societal shifts as a result of this crisis. Most relevant is consumer behavior. According to the US Chamber of Commerce, there has been a spike in eCommerce shopping and this trend will continue. Businesses operating digitally were already seeing increased success but the fear of infectious diseases combined with the necessary changes to reduce overhead will make digital marketing practices necessary for survival.
Tips for Stepping Up the Digital Marketing game
There is no need to let your anxiety keep your business standing still. Here are some tips for creating a digital business solution that will keep you busy. Additionally, a digital marketing plan that may even stimulate growth for your small business.
Establish a Digital Marketing Plan
A digital marketing business plan will vary from business to business. There are contributing factors that will shape your choices like the type of business you run, the customers you want to attract and the needs your product or service fulfills. Regardless, without a well-developed plan, all of your efforts could fall apart.
Here are some digital marketing tactics to consider:
- Email or SMS marketing
- Social media marketing
- Pay-per-click advertising
- Selling on retail websites like Amazon or Target
For example, if you are looking for fundraising opportunities for your nonprofit, consider nonprofit digital marketing strategies like setting up a charity on Facebook where people can directly contribute, and to promote it, build a Facebook page to engage directly with people who are likely to donate. Alternatively, a business that makes and sells art pieces from recycled materials can set up a store on Etsy, create targeted ads towards their customers, and promote the art pieces on Pinterest. There is a solution for every business. However, the most important key factor in all digital marketing plans should be a website.
Build or Enhance Your Website
Websites can have many purposes. For most, a small business website operates more or less as a digital version of a brochure. There is practicality in doing so, but there is so much more that can be done to help your business. Consider the cuts you may have to make as a result of our economic situation. A website can be a member of your sales team, a receptionist, customer service representative or any customer-facing member of your staff. I know this is not easy to think about, there is no replacement for an actual person. But that does not mean your website can’t be an effective replacement for your physical store. This is why small businesses need a website. It is a valuable supplement (or in this case substitute) to your brick-and-mortar shop.
If you are a small business and don’t have a website, now is a great time to start. With a blank slate, it is easier to get in the mindset of running your business digitally. There is less of a need to transition something that already exists. However, whether you have a website or not, here is what you need to think about:
- Website functionality – What do you need your website to do so that you can provide a complete customer experience?
- Website design – Does the design of the website appeal to your target customer and is it easy to use?
- Search engine optimization (SEO) – Is the content and structure of your website set up to draw people in from search engines?
- Website analytics – Do you have ways to track what works and does not work on your website on an ongoing basis?
- Accessibility – Can anybody use your website with limited difficulty? This includes mobile devices and screen readers.
- Branding – Does your website have a similar tone and give off a similar sentiment as your physical store?
This is all important to consider, which is why you should be careful about how this website gets built. There are many free website builders available for small businesses. They do not respond to these considerations well which is why I recommend assistance from a consultant.
Dust Off Your CRM
You may call it your customer database, your Rolodex or contact list, but a customer relationship management tool or CRM is very valuable to your digital marketing. If you do not already use one, this is one of the most valuable digital tools for not just digital marketing, but for your whole business. A small business with a CRM can easily engage in email marketing, guide content for your website and social media, and measure the ongoing success of your business. A CRM integrates easily with social networks, websites, and marketing automation (mass email) tools.
Here is how this process works. A prospective customer arrives on your website through a search engine, ad, or referral. They have a need for products like yours, but they need more information. They visit your product page. After reading through the page long enough, tools behind your website deem this particular visitor as a good lead and keeps track of their computer’s IP; an identification number representing the visitor’s computer. Your website then communicates with your connected ad accounts and programmatically displays ads to the customer. They click on an ad and arrive on a page encouraging them to request an appointment with you. They fill out a form to schedule the appointment and that information goes into your CRM.
The information in the CRM can be used in many ways. Including targeted ads, email marketing, SMS marketing, and others. As you can see, the CRM keeps track of the entire relationship with the individual customer. The digital marketing story can go on with this same customer but I think you get the idea.
Feel Safe and Secure in The Survival of Your Small Business
As you can see, now is the perfect time to move your business online. You now have the information you need to plan your next steps. But if you need help with the planning or implementation of your digital marketing strategy, I am an experienced digital marketing and strategy consultant for small businesses. I will give you a free quote. Remember, the government prepared this stimulus package so you can both survive this crisis, but also prepare your business for future security during times of crisis.