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Why Digital Marketing is a Must for Local Businesses

It used to be that digital marketing was like the icing on a cake for local businesses. It was nice, but not strictly necessary.

But times, they are a-changin.

In 2020, digital marketing is something that every local business absolutely needs. Today, I’m going to cover just a few of the many reasons why.

6 reasons digital marketing is non-negotiable for local businesses

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Reason #1. Consumers in your area are online

Too many local business owners falsely believe that they don’t need digital marketing, leaving them to rely solely on word of mouth.

Don’t get me wrong, word of mouth is probably one of the most powerful forms of marketing there is. Nothing compares to a direct referral from someone you know and trust.

But, the thing is, people don’t seek out word of mouth like they used to. Now, instead of asking a friend or a co-worker for a recommendation for a good plumber, most people just ask Google.

More and more consumers are starting their search for local businesses online, with 90% of consumers looking for a local business on the internet within the last year.

Smart marketing is about being where consumers are looking for what you have to offer.

These days, people are looking online, and you can make sure that you’re there when they do with digital marketing.

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Reason #2. Grow your business for less

There are a lot of ways that you could get your name out there.

You could advertise on a billboard, a local television or radio station, bus benches, direct mail and a plethora of other places. But, in terms of cost, not one of these options can compare to digital marketing.

You can, of course, spend a lot on digital marketing, but with the right strategy and the right digital marketing tools, you don’t have to.

From email marketing to social media management, there are plenty of cost-effective digital marketing channels to choose from.

Plus, traditional marketing is outbound marketing. It’s all about getting your name out to the widest audience possible.

The benefit of traditional marketing is that a lot of people see your name. But, the downside is that only a small percentage of those people will ever want or need what you’re offering.

Digital marketing is largely inbound marketing, which means that you’re only targeting people who are actively looking for what you have to offer.

You may not reach as wide an audience with digital marketing, but every lead you get will be a lot more valuable.

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Reason #3. Build long-lasting customer relationships

As I said, digital marketing is cost-effective. However, that doesn’t mean it’s free. Even the cheapest forms of marketing are going to cost something, whether that be time or money.

Any kind of marketing is going to be most expensive when you’re introducing your business to a new audience.

There’s an old marketing adage that says that a prospect needs to encounter your marketing message at least seven times before they’ll trust you enough to convert.

Each one of those encounters comes at a cost, which can quickly add up. It’s easy to understand why acquiring new customers costs 5% to 25% more than keeping an existing customer.

Digital marketing isn’t just about getting new customers. It’s about making better connections and building longer-lasting relationships with your existing customers.

When it comes to nurturing customer relationships, email and text message marketing are powerful tools to have at your disposal. Best of all, they’re very affordable, particularly when you consider the value of repeat business.

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Reason #4. Learn more about your customers

Most of the traditional forms of marketing are very one way.

Whether it’s a television ad or a billboard, you’re sending a message out to your audience. But they, in turn, have no real way to reply to that message.

With many different digital marketing channels, though, that’s a different story.

On social media, for example, your customers can reach out to you any time they want. They can comment on your ads or posts, give you feedback about your business, share user-generated content, like and share your posts and more.

Digital marketing is a two-way channel.

While traditional marketing is about helping consumers get to know your business, digital marketing is, in large part, about getting to know prospective customers.

Getting to know your customers on a deeper level is valuable for many reasons.

For one, the better you know your customers, the better you’ll be able to market to them. This will help you get better results for less and maximize your ROI.

Another good reason to get to know your customers is so that you can serve them better and earn their business again in the future.

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Reason #5. Drive results with micro-targeting

I’ve talked a lot so far about why digital marketing is a cost-effective way for local businesses to spread the word about who they are and what they do.

It’s cheaper (and more effective) to target an audience that’s already actively looking for you, and it’s also cheaper to market to existing customers than it is to try to get new customers in the door.

The other big reason why digital marketing is a more cost-effective marketing option is the ability to micro-target.

The goal of micro-targeting is the exact opposite of outbound marketing. Rather than paying to advertise to as big an audience as possible, you create ads for a very small, very specific audience.

Want to target homeowners who live in a particular neighborhood or part of town? Want to target consumers in your community of a certain age? Want to target people who have shown an interest in something specific?

Digital advertising on Facebook, Google and beyond allows you to do just that.

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Reason #6. Test, monitor and drive results

One of the biggest differences between digital marketing and traditional marketing is the ability to monitor your results.

When you advertise on a billboard, you may be able to get an estimate of how many people might see it on any given day, but there’s no real way to know for sure.

And, even if someone did see your billboard (or hears your radio ad, sees your television ad, reads your newspaper ad etc.), there’s no real way to know whether or not they paid any attention to it, or if it compelled them to take an action.

With digital marketing, there’s a lot more data to work with and learn from.

The right reporting tools can break down what’s working for you and what’s not, giving you the information you need to make informed, data-driven decisions about your marketing.

Every local business needs the right digital marketing strategy, and that starts with having a professional, modern website.

Websites 360® offers an intuitive drag-and-drop editor and a library of website design templates, making it easy to build your own local business website.

Plus, we have a team of designers standing by, ready to help you build the website of your dream.

Pick a design template to get started.