In a world of never-ending digital advancements, sometimes business owners get caught up in the frenzy and feel like they need to be doing the latest thing when they would be better served by remembering that the basics still matter. According to a recent study by Vistaprint, the top two ways people discover a business are online research and word-of-mouth. Only 8.4% of respondents said they found out about a business by walking through its doors. Prospective customers who learn about you through word-of-mouth will still check you out online, so even if your business isn’t a good fit for SEO or other digital tactics, you still need a digital presence to move word-of-mouth prospects down the sales funnel. Here are three digital marketing investments for small businesses that support these prospects:
Quality Website – As noted by the study, online research is the most prevalent way in which customers discover a small business, but people referred by word-of-mouth will also check out your website before contacting you. Having a quality, informative, and easy-to-navigate website in today’s world is non-negotiable. You don’t have to shell out big bucks for all the bells and whistles. A simple, well-designed and consistently updated site will do the trick for a small business. Make sure your potential customers will find what you do, how you do it, where you do it, and how much you charge for it on your website.
Mobile Optimized – Most small business owners know that having a good website is fundamental. Taking the extra step to ensure your website is optimized for mobile users has become crucial. Nearly 37% of customers report checking out a business online before visiting, and in many industries, over half are doing so on their mobile devices. Having a mobile optimized site makes it easier for your prospects to find the information they want and that means they’ll be more likely to stay on your website. Many users will just leave your website rather than strain themselves navigating through a desktop version on a tiny screen.
Active Social Media – Social media, as well as review and rating sites, are the digital versions of word-of-mouth marketing. By being actively involved in your small business’s social media presence and managing your online reputation, you’ll be responding to reviews, comments, and mentions in real time, which shows potential and existing customers that their patronage matters. If an existing customer refers your business, there is a good chance that referral will visit your social media sites as part of their vetting process before coming in. If your social media presence is up-to-date and active and you are responding to user reviews, your business looks more customer-focused and ready to serve. If you don’t have the bandwidth to keep up on your social media, hire someone. A freelancer can go a long way when it comes to keeping social media up to date and relevant.
Small businesses don’t typically have a large budget to spend on marketing. We always advise our clients to get the basics right before investing in other digital marketing, and these basics include a website that’s mobile optimized, reputation management and, depending on the type of businesses, social media. As always, if you have any questions or need any help along the way, we’re here.