The covid-19 pandemic brought all the major activities to a standstill and forced almost 2/3rd of the world population into lockdown. With little to no economic activities, there came a demand crunch. World transport was halted, offices were shut, theatres closed and industries like hospitality and tourism suffered heavily. Even if the restrictions have been lifted by most of the countries, the demand is still not the same as what it used to be pre-covid. One needs to change their digital marketing strategies here to survive and grow their business
In such times, brands need to be intelligent, to be able to provide to their consumer a sense of comfort and security to build a better tomorrow. The consumer is not to be left alone to cope with this change, he has to be held with hands and walked through. Brands that will resonate, relate, and recreate a new experience that instills hope will sail and survive through this journey.
Before this pandemic, small businesses were critical to the productivity and winning the war for showcasing the talent. Businesses competed intensely among themselves so as to grab a bigger pie of the market share around the world. These businesses still continue to compete and thrive during and post the pandemic but it’s just that the mode of competition has changed.
Max McKeown has famously said “Adaptability is about the powerful difference between adapting to cope and adapting to win.” This is the exact philosophy that the businesses are trying to implement into their business models. Smaller businesses in the start were ill-equipped to tackle the pandemic. They found it difficult to cope with the new guidelines, SOPs and restrictions. As Albert Einstein has remarkably said – “The measure of intelligence is the ability to change”. Businesses in order to save themselves have started turning to the digital platform. Owing to the pandemic, the ecommerce space is also seeing a boom in recent times. Many brands are resorting to online marketplaces. Some do it in-house whereas many of them outsource to ecommerce development companies so that their goals aren’t hampered and that they see skyrocketing profits. These outsourced companies also provide them with the all-round ecommerce support. This provides them with numerous advantages like increased reach, lower cost, and measurable results. Whereas there are many businesses that are keeping their businesses offline as before but tapping potential customers through digital marketing.
Whether your products/services are sold online or offline, digital marketing today has become an important component of it. People are spending more time on their smartphones than ever before. People are consuming the digital content at exponential rates and hence it is imperative for businesses to embrace digital marketing.
Here are the 5 digital marketing strategies that I consider to be most important for small businesses
1. Building a Strong Social Media Presence
For a small business targeting a community or individual customers, social media is quite a relevant platform for connecting directly with an audience to build brand awareness and loyalty. Moreover, social media is a good platform for lead generation. You’ll be able to produce the content and resources which will provide great value to your prospects and customers. When users click on your content, it means they’re actively looking for it or are ‘in market audience’ for that particular product. And as these users have engaged with your post, they are more likely to convert as compared to a user that is not looking for what your brand has to offer.
Thus building a strong social media presence provides the users with advantages like growing the brand awareness, increasing the traffic, promoting the products and services etc.
2. In-House Digital Marketing
Digital marketing is a cheaper and quite relevant source of tapping the potential customers for smaller businesses. It gives businesses the opportunity to engage their customers on various platforms. It is cost effective and helps in bringing better conversions as compared to other traditional methods of marketing. They can target their customers on various platforms like Google, Facebook, Amazon, Instagram, and LinkedIn to name a few. For e.g. an apparel seller in Fremont, California can get his products listed on Amazon and at the same time, leverage the Amazon Marketing Services to target the ads to customers. Amazon gives plethora of targeting options like targeting the products for brand awareness, cross selling or to target the competitor brands and their products. Similarly, platforms like Google and Facebook also provide varied targeting options that help in targeting the customers broadly or as niche as possible depending upon the goals. As a starter to jump into digital marketing, in-house digital marketing is the best option for small businesses.
3. Email Marketing Campaigns
Email marketing is often said to be one of the most beneficial ways of digital marketing with ROI sometimes reaching as high as 4400%. It’s often believed that email marketing is just for the big players in the industry but businesses with smaller budgets can also earn considerable profits. What small businesses can focus on here is quality over quantity. Firstly, one needs to build an emailing list for which a signup form can be setup on the website or social media handle. Now that list of customers is built, one needs to decide which emails to send. Emails are to be framed as per the goal they serve i.e. promotional emails, seasonal messages, loyalty programs etc. Once these emails are sent, the next step is to analyze the performance to improve the campaigns that are setup in future.
4. Dominate competition with SEO tactics
There are customers looking out for and searching about our products and services. With every search query, they enter keywords related to what all things businesses have on offer. When one applies SEO strategies, your website is more likely to appear to the potential customers. When you are competing against giants who have been in the industry for more than a decade, it is quite a challenge to bring your results up on the top. With relevant keyword research, market research, monitoring the traffic volume and competition levels, businesses can predict what keywords the customers will actually use. Identifying correct set of customers and applying the correct set of strategies can help businesses get quality traffic and keep them ahead of the competition.
5. Affiliate Marketing
While loyal customers are crucial to small businesses, acquiring new customers is equally important but isn’t a smooth and easy process. Here, affiliate marketing is helpful and can increase the customer base and hence sales volume. To expand their reach, businesses can utilize user generated content. It is nothing but content that promotes your brand but is created by people outside of your brand. Social media can be helpful in showcasing the user generated content. Rewarding top affiliates helps a business in the long run. This is because top affiliates are the ones bringing in major chunk of your revenue and you might want to keep them around for further business. Rewarding them might act as a motivator for them to drive more sales. This way, you can achieve your targets and at the same time enjoy low ongoing costs, low risk, targeted traffic, flexibility, increased ROI etc.
While all of the above strategies may work well for one brand, they may not always work for every brand. There are no set strategies in digital marketing for guaranteed success. It all depends on the aspiration of the brand, its KPI, spending capabilities and how much time and research they dedicate. A brand has to test all the strategies, mix and match them to arrive at the right fit. And if successful, brands can see their goals being converted and revenues flowing in.