Let’s pretend for the sake of this article that your new business has taken off and your monthly recurring revenue for the first year has been off the charts.
You do a lot of business locally, but now you want to expand, and expanding means you need to figure out a way to generate a bigger geographical footprint.
Unfortunately, that means you have to relocate from, let’s say, Denver, Colorado, to Boston, Massachusetts to set up new offices and make sure things are rolling along smoothly on the other side of the country.
You love where you are now, but this move is another step forward to transforming your business from a small operation to a mid-sized, well-recognized brand with a nicely developed market.
So, after some careful consideration, you decide that the expansion is a necessary growing pain for your business, and you need to make a move. Congratulations, fictional character!
Just a few days after your move, you receive a text from your mom bright and early in the morning, “Your father and I are coming to visit you today; make some dinner reservations for the three of us! XOXO – Mom.”
Immediately, the panic sets in…
What’s your first move? I bet you go online to look up “the best restaurants in Boston.” I also bet you picked one that showed up early and often during your research.
Do you want to know why?
Because you trust the restaurant that has the best online presence.
That restaurant is likely bringing in more customers and revenue than those with a less salient online presence and significantly more than those not online.
While this scenario is quite specific, the premise can be used for almost any business. When people are looking to buy something, odds are they check the Internet before deciding.
What they find online ultimately leads them to their purchase. Therefore, businesses that invest in digital marketing tend to bring in more customers than those that don’t.
Trust me, the numbers don’t lie.
When I bet that you would go online to find a restaurant, I didn’t bet blindly. About 64% of mobile restaurant searchers convert (become customers) within one hour of their search. That’s pretty amazing.
If you don’t have a website, the chances your restaurant will appear in those searches are slim.
A website optimized for search is critical for eCommerce businesses as well. A recent study showed that 81% of consumers researched online before making a purchase.
Imagine missing out on that potential income because you didn’t take the time and effort to set up a branded website.
Your website is often the first point of contact between your business and its prospective customers. If set up correctly, it will leave a positive impression that could convert into a sale.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Directly related to your website’s success is search engine optimization (SEO). When people search online for the types of products and services your business provides, you want them to find you first, right?
It’s been reported that 64% of all online experiences kick-off via search engines. You’re missing out on a huge opportunity if your content isn’t optimized for search results. You’ll need to rank high in organic search results to be credible and visible.
Incidentally, Hubspot found that 75% of users never scroll past the first page of search results.
If your business isn’t on that first page, chances are it will not be found. There are even memes about how the second page of a google search is a lonely place where few dare to go. Make sure to rank well and reap the benefits.
In addition to having a great website and SEO strategy, other digital marketing outlets bring attention to your business and, in turn, bring paying customers your way. One of those outlets is email. It’s more cost-effective than traditional marketing tactics like direct mail or print media and produces higher conversion rates.
For example, a large majority of U.S. adults, roughly 72%, prefer communication with companies to happen through email.
The next highest is postal mail, which is only about 48%.
Think about it, how often do you check your email every day between work and leisure? It makes sense that placing your brand in a heavily visited area is an effective way to engage your target audience.
If it’s relatively cheap and is the preferred method to receive marketing communications, it’s not surprising that it produces a great return on investment (ROI).
Reports show a $36 return for every $1 spent with email marketing. That’s a pretty solid return if you ask me.
Last but certainly not least, we arrive at social media. The battleground for businesses to produce the most engaging content.
And the stakes are high, considering there are about 4.6 billion social media users worldwide. With this many people on social media, having at least one platform is advisable for your business.
Start with the channels most aligned with your target audience and add others as you feel comfortable.
The number of channels you pursue depends upon where your audience is active and what channels they prefer. The time and personnel you have for managing the platforms also play a role.
Don’t forget having a social media account for your business comes with responsibility. It isn’t going to do you any good without regularly posting and responding to users. It’s called “social” media for a reason.
In fact, 73% of consumers are likely to buy from a brand that responds to them on social media. Even if someone leaves a nasty comment, likely not leading to a purchase, it’s best to reply. Thank them for their feedback, and let them know you have a remedial plan.
Again, with that responsibility comes results. It’s been noted that 78% of people say a business’s social media posts influence their purchasing decisions, and about 50% of businesses that have been using social media for at least three years source increased sales and revenue to social media. Yet another digital marketing outlet bringing in customers.
What did you decide?
Although these digital marketing assets are significant for businesses looking to grow, they mean nothing, if not in unison.
Your business website, SEO strategy, email marketing, and social media should have a consistent brand identity. Let the world know what your business is made of, and stick to it.
Oh, I almost forgot to ask. Where did you end up going for dinner?