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digital marketing strategy

Why Digital Marketing Matters for SMBs

As a small business owner, you know the importance of marketing. You know that you can’t promote your products and services without engaging local and regional consumers in a meaningful way. With today's rapid development of digital technology, you should be interacting with customers in several digital channels—including your website, local search and social media. If your goal is to grow your business and your customer base, consider launching a digital marketing campaign.

While traditional forms of marketing are still viable in today's small business marketplace, merchants would be remiss to not include some type of digital initiative into their overall outreach strategy. According to a recent Social Media Examiner study, 96 percent of small business respondents used social media marketing in 2014, while 92 percent of those either agreed or strongly agreed with the fact that social media marketing was important for their business (1).

Mobile and local search growing
The importance and impact of social media for small business growth cannot be overstated. However, online networks aren't the only digital conduit that merchants can use to effectively engage their target audience. The meteoric rise of smartphone technology has enabled small businesses to connect with patrons on a more individual level, as companies have nearly direct access to the consumer these days.  

comScore found that in Q4 of 2014, mobile search was only 13 percent of the total volume of consumer searches, while desktop queries made up more than 45 percent of the total (2). In May 2015, Search Engine Land reported that—according to Google data—consumers now search more on their smartphones than they do on desktop computers (3). As this data shows, searches on smartphones have risen dramatically in just a matter of months. Year-over-year growth for mobile searches was nearly 2 percent in comScore's study, while online networks are expanding at rates nearly unimaginable five years ago. It’s time for small business owners to use digital and mobile strategies in their marketing campaigns.

Determining ROI
It's clear that small business owners need to invest heavily in social and mobile channels. Now it's time to determine how to measure success and return on your investment. 

Determining marketing ROI certainly depends on your specific business and on the marketing channel; you’ll, need to establish individual metrics for success based on each campaign you run. Traditionally, ROI is calculated by subtracting the investment from the net profit. Yet, Inc. magazine suggests a slightly different approach. If small business owners take a marketing campaign's incremental revenue and divide that by the initial investment, they can quickly determine which marketing initiatives are most lucrative for their company (4).

Small business owners can estimate revenue to cost ratio upfront, so they can strategically invest in the right types of digital marketing for their business. A targeted and well executed digital marketing campaign can help you attract new customers and increase sales in a relatively short timeframe.

1. Social Media Examiner, http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/social-media-marketing-trends-for-small-business/, Jun. 9, 2015

2. comScore, http://www.comscore.com/Insights/Presentations-and-Whitepapers/2015/2015-US-Digital-Future-in-Focus, Mar. 26, 2015

3. Search Engine Land, http://searchengineland.com/its-official-google-says-more-searches-now-on-mobile-than-on-desktop-220369, May 5, 2015

4. Inc., http://www.inc.com/victor-ho/one-simple-metric-you-need-to-determine-marketing-roi.html

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