Many new businesses launch with the help of traditional advertising, including print ads, coupons, billboards or on-site signage. Whilst this may bring in a small number of customers, it ignores the many advantages of digital marketing – which opens the business to a huge marketplace with many prospects.

There are many more potential customers to be found online than there are passing by a business premises or its advertisements – and, not only is there a larger pool of people, but digital advertising is more cost-effective and easier to analyse too.

Digital marketing has a number of other benefits. For example, it is possible to interact with customers online, gaining valuable insights into their needs and preferences, and building brand loyalty. Marketing online enables a company to measure and understand its customers’ responses to adverts and offers, and it has a more global reach, whilst keeping prices lower than traditional methods of advertising.

James Hopkins – founder of QV Marketing, a digital marketing company that helps local businesses to achieve business growth and customer acquisition through online marketing – fully understands the importance of digital advertising for small business owners, teaching them the skills they need to compete. Often, small or new businesses feel that they do not have the time or resources to give for digital marketing. However, this is not the most effective approach, as business owners should look to acquire as many customers as possible – and as soon as possible –to become a sustainable and profitable business.

Online marketing is how businesses communicate with their customers – who, it is important to note, are already on the internet. Customers are online, and it is very possible that they are searching for a business that provides services or products that are similar to yours. If a business opts out of online advertising and marketing, customers will be directed to another company – a competitor – after which it is harder to win them back. For more information about the importance of having an online presence for small businesses, please refer to the embedded PDF.

Businesses should think of digital marketing and online advertising as a way of making the business an accessible option for the customer. A web presence is a way of keeping the business open, even beyond the official opening hours, allowing customers to make contact, send queries, make purchases, and browse the product line in their own time.

Digital marketing offers many options for a business, including the possibility of engaging directly with the customer – learning their likes and dislikes, and their preferences and responses. This empowers the business with more information about its target customer, as well as enabling it to adjust and alter its products or services to better cater to its audience. Happy customers tend to become repeat customers, and for this fact alone, digital marketing is a very powerful business tool.

Digital Marketing for Small Businesses

Digital marketing is a broad field, with many different aspects and specialisms. However, there are five aspects that are most important to small businesses. Search engine optimisation is a key area for any business, as it focuses on making the company more visible in the search engine results pages. More and more people turn to search engines when looking to make a purchase, and search engine optimisation (SEO) describes the process of moving to a better position on these pages.

Other areas of particular interest for small businesses include local search marketing, content marketing, social media marketing and email marketing.