Before the advent of the Internet, small business owners could rely on a few fairly simple principles if they wanted to grow their customer base: run a campaign of television commercials or a billboard in a popular area of town, perhaps offer a special discount, and make sure you do a great job so that new customers will refer you to their family and friends. Today, though, all that has changed — now, consumers almost universally trust the Internet to help them efficiently research their options and gravitate towards the companies with outstanding online reputations.
And that’s why modern businesses must employ a comprehensive digital marketing strategy if they hope to reach their goals.
The Modern Consumer Research Process
Today, if a consumer needs a job done or a problem solved, they start in one place: Google. Whether they’re searching for their child’s first orthodontist, a plumber who can help out ASAP, the most popular gym in their area, or nearly any other type of local business, 80% of consumers use search engines to research local businesses. When you consider that 92% also check online reviews when making a buying or hiring decision, you start to see why a strong online presence and reputation are essential if business owners want to put their names in front of new customers, clients, and patients.
Another thing to consider is that Americans are spending more time online than ever before — most of it on social media and streaming video. Creating content that captures their attention isn’t easy, but it is absolutely necessary to make sure your business is visible and that you’re building loyalty within your community. In essence, your online presence is the new word of mouth. If you’re first on Google, have a 5-star reputation, people connect with your social media content, and your website gives visitors all the information they need, there’s a good chance that you’ll achieve sustainable growth.
Putting It All Into Action
So, where should business owners start on their journey to navigate this new digital landscape? Much in the same way as the research process discussed above, it all starts with Google. Maintaining strong search rankings is a constant process. A strong Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy, a detailed profile on Google My Business, and frequent interactions with social media users are all factors that will help you rise to the top of the results page. Once you’re there, it’s important to focus on your reputation. Do your profiles on directory sites like Yelp contain accurate and consistent information? Do you have a plan in place to gain more reviews? Do you respond to your reviews (even negative ones)? Hoping happy customers will advocate for your business isn’t enough — you need to encourage them to do so.
even with great search rankings and a sterling reputation, the competition is so fierce today that it’s often necessary to put a portion of your marketing budget behind paid ads.
Pay-per-click ads and new innovations like Google’s Local Services Ads give you a strong chance of making an impression on interested parties, but you shouldn’t rely on those alone — tactics like these are often the final piece of the puzzle, convincing consumers who are already familiar with your brand to take action.
Growing Your Business Shouldn’t Be Guesswork
As you can see, a successful digital marketing strategy is a delicate balancing act between numerous channels. But how do you know if your plan is working? And, more specifically, which parts should you focus on most closely? How can you determine if all of this work is paying off and if you’re moving towards your future business and revenue goals?
Today, business owners must balance their marketing goals, their knowledge of the market, and the complexity of growth. All this requires a solution that combines marketing automation, artificial intelligence, and guidance, empowering them to make the smartest possible decisions to grow. Taking the guesswork out of these decisions gives business owners the confidence they need to cover each of the bases we’ve discussed with ease.
The digital revolution is here to stay, and the most successful businesses in the next decade will be the ones who remove doubt and maximize efficiency through emerging, intelligent marketing tools like these If you have any questions about how Scorpion can help bring your business to the next level in 2021 and beyond, we’d love to speak with you.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Corey Quinn, Chief Marketing Officer at Scorpion
Corey Quinn is the Chief Marketing Officer at Scorpion. He works to ensure that the company is effectively engaging with our clients. Prior to joining Scorpion, he worked in various marketing leadership and business development roles at emerging businesses. Corey has an MBA from the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business, where he graduated on the Dean’s list for academic achievement. When he is not working, he enjoys spending time traveling, reading, and being with his family and friends.