Why is Digital Marketing such an important investment for small businesses?

Woman organizing her products while considering digital marketing investment for her small business

The nature of digital marketing is adaptive. Societal standards and trends that heavily influence how people shop and what they shop for are constantly changing. The overall trend of buying and selling goods online has been sharply increasing for years with no signs of slowing.

This puts digital marketing in the lead when it comes to the kinds of profitable investments a business can make. It is possible for large and small businesses across the world to achieve success, in both local and national markets! This article will answer and address the following:

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On a smaller scale, digital marketing makes it possible for small business owners to obtain many advantages they otherwise wouldn’t have access to. Tracking their ROI and developing and maintaining their brand are some examples of the opportunities that are made possible. Marketing online offers entrepreneurs a very customizable approach to investment making. 

Primary facets of digital marketing like Website and Branding Development, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), SEM (Search Engine Marketing), SMM (Social Media Marketing), and Adspend can be implemented in ways that are tailor-made to your business model. By creating a digital marketing strategy unique to your business, it can more successfully meet your needs and budget to achieve maximum returns. 

Local businesses can rest easy knowing that an average of 97% of consumers learn about local businesses from their online reputation. Of course, this exposure is fueled by research-based and properly executed digital marketing strategies. These results are not exclusive to local businesses, however. There are options for every business of every size to utilize marketing for promoting their business to the world in big ways.

Many business owners both novice and experienced can perceive digital marketing to mean many different things. Some entrepreneurs might think that securing a couple of somewhat successful social media accounts pretty much covers the gamut. Others might think they have to sign up for hefty packages from prestigious agencies to make a significant difference in their sales volume. In either case, digital marketing investments of nearly any kind can bring a solid benefit when developed and executed properly.

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Improving Your Online Presence

OCGnow believes that a business can grow beyond a brick and mortar location into a living online presence that is as valuable as any other foundational form of capital. Our team can help you capitalize on this opportunity by creating a foundation on which to build your online presence utilizing a digital real estate framework. 

Digital real estate refers to the possible “ground” a company can establish online by the vast means of digital marketing. Whether on the corner of Main Street or one of the most popular online listing directories, the focus is location, location, location!

Provided below is a list of the most prominent digital real estate assets that digital marketing has to offer. They are the most influential foundational components that make up your online presence as a whole, and are at their most effective when working in tandem with one another:

Your Website

Perhaps the number one most essential asset to have properly established is your website.

Some self-proclaimed marketers and branding companies will try to lead you to believe “if you build a website, they will come.” This is only true to a small extent.

Have you ever wondered why one website costs $100 and another could cost up to $10,000? These prices have little to do with the name of the agency you are working with (when the agency is honest about the prices of their work, of course!), and much more to do with the extent of the work being done on the website.

Building a website is a concrete representation of your brand online. It can be likened to raising a storefront in the most popular shopping district in the world. Then you equip the storefront with all the tools and digital staff that can help your customers to research your brand, chat with experts, read the reviews of other satisfied customers, watch related media, and purchase directly from you. While it is possible to conduct business online without a website, a professionally established website will act as a cornerstone that opens up many opportunities.

There are several different means of obtaining a website for your brand. Some more niche or exotic brands might do better by hiring a developer to create a custom site that pushes the limits. A local small business might benefit from making a light investment in a short term website with their beginner-sized budget. 

From enterprise e-Commerce packages from large agencies, to inexpensive listings on freelancing websites, websites are more readily available than ever before. However, there are still some best and worst ways to go about getting the website that is right for you.Perhaps one of the most popular methods being advertised right now is to make your own website using a DIY drag-and-drop service. 

When using DIY website builders, like the leading software Wix for example, be aware that convenience and performance are usually on opposite sides of the sliding scale. This means that the website elements these builders offer are simple to use and may be efficient for their purpose, but do not always deliver the robust operations that make a truly powerhouse website.

Some downsides that come from situations like these can seriously impede your website’s functionality, including the inability to have ownership over the content of your site, choose a standalone branded domain, and the freedom to simply migrate your site if ever you decide to leave their service. Don’t forget, if your new website was not built with a strong foundation in the first place, a redesign later on down the road may include much more work, and cost much more.

Below are some things to consider if you are hooked on the idea of making your own website (and perhaps saving a large amount of money doing so) below:

  • Design is a very important aspect of any website and is made up of more variables than aesthetics alone. Search engines also measure websites on their structure and other factors that tell them the site is legitimate, or more likely to be worth the potential consumer’s time.

 

  • Mobile-friendly design is a must-have in this day and age. Getting your website to look good on a mobile device is only one piece of the whole pie. The user interface, navigation, and other bells and whistles that will really make a difference come from some established know-how and experience.

 

  • Including a blog in your webpage lineup is a great way to generate traffic to your website from a number of sources. Once you create a post, you then have a link to the page for anyone who is searching the topic in a search engine. This post can also be seen by people scrolling through their social media feed. Again, the content of your blog posts could be written with an utmost talent in spelling and grammar, but if it is not optimized to communicate in a friendly way to search engines (which is in a whole particular style in and of itself), then the two won’t see eye to eye.
 
 

Marketing companies do exist that understand the need for small business owners to have convenience and flexibility in conjunction with a website that will truly drive traffic to their brand. For example, here at OCGnow, our team works to provide a website that is both cost-effective and completely customizable to the individual needs of the business itself. By working to authentically understand the unique situations at hand, you can receive the most effective work and tailored support for the greatest chance of success.

Social Media Presence

Social Media platforms are great places for people and businesses alike to socialize and connect. Compatible with your website, they offer that more real-time, personable communication between brands and audiences. This makes them not only stages on which to shine, but powerful business tools as well.

 

When approached with an entrepreneurial mindset, and the right experience, social media can act as yet another catalyst for increasing your traffic. Additionally, it can improve your search engine rankings and public relations efforts.

 

According to Statista, a leading statistics portal, the global social media usage rate was 49% (3.6 billion people) as of January 2020. By 2025, this figure is expected to rise to nearly 4.4 billion. With this many people spending time engaging with businesses online, it’s no wonder that about 91% of marketers look to utilize content (the images and video you scroll through on social media) in their digital marketing campaigns.

 

Social Media Analytics plays a huge role in carrying out digital marketing objectives. Small business owners that prefer the DIY technique can find it possible to grow their audience base, as well as achieve a substantial reach, simply with attractive content. However, reaching the full potential of major platforms requires a more thorough understanding of the overall processes therein, like Business Manager integrations, for example.

 

Keep in mind that, like when obtaining a website for your brand, social media content is more than what image or video your audience sees. There are a slew of variables about audience behavior, statistical insights on the process you use, and many more things to consider to optimize your performance for the best results. Some digital marketing agencies, like us here at OCGnow, have established a credible knowledge base by having approached many channels from different industries for several years. 

 

Our clients receive a social media inspection where we thoroughly evaluate their brand continuity across different platforms. All information and branding are seamlessly tied together for a professional and unified social media presence, then we utilize the insight to achieve the highest impact on your audience.

Content Creation

Simply put, content marketing is one of the most sought after methods of digital marketing for a reason! Every blog post, explainer video, podcast episode, social media carousel, or other piece of content that your brand publishes for viewing is geared towards making a profit. This does not mean the message of the content always comes right out and says “Buy My Product or Service”. It does mean, though, that by fundamentally providing quality information and solutions to potential consumers, they can build trust with your brand. 

Developing a relationship like this will keep them coming back for more enrichment. It will only be a matter of time before they either make a purchase through reciprocation or finally decide to buy as a result of their own research.

 

Content is most effective when created and delivered with your target audience in mind. You might find that you have plenty of things in common with your target audience and have been able to create a quality product or service because of it! Remember Hair Club for Men, a company dedicated to restoring hair growth? They offered encouragement to their audience with the following statement, “I am not only the Hair Club President, but I’m also a client.” 

Whatever your knowledge base or experience with the product or service may be, it is important to be able to read the data from your digital marketing campaign activity. You cannot determine crucial variables without it! 

 

We encourage you to have fun with the content your brand publishes on your online presence, however, we don’t recommend chiefly producing content without the aid of an experienced and precise agency. The OCGnow team not only creates content that converts, but utilizes the insights to help your brand pack a punch.

 

Once a business has achieved these main pillars of its online presence, it is crucial to continue investing attention into managing them. This means that your website, social media accounts, and content being created is not only kept up and running in good condition, but is also kept consistent and in conjunction with the style and voice of your brand. 

Inconsistent or inappropriate branding can decrease your attractiveness in the marketplace, which in turn decreases sales volume. On the other hand, did you know that haphazard branding and careless brand activity can actually cause harm to your online reputation?

Digital marketing machine depicting brand monitoring

Brand Monitoring Isn't Just
For Marketers Anymore

In recent years, online presence has begun to garner a level of legitimacy that it didn’t previously have. This is perhaps most easily seen in how people interact with society through their social media profiles. These communities were once open forums to build up an identity or brand for yourself however you wanted. 

 

In today’s world, what you say on your preferred social platform is highly measured. It is becoming more commonplace for established members of business to be terminated from their jobs because of an opinion or viewpoint they express on their accounts! A highly influential online presence can even have an affect on very impactful political issues.

 

The same rules apply to brands as well. There is an uptrend of businesses and services that are being prohibited from selling goods and services on popular marketplaces because of the opinions and groups of people they associate with online. 

The legitimacy of an online presence is growing, whether the outcome is for or against the flow of business of that brand. More and more consumers are researching businesses to determine their world view just like they would their quality of business from what others say in online reviews, testimonials, product ratings, and videos sharing their experiences.

 

Creating and maintaining the brand of your online presence is a very important part of establishing your online reputation. More is at stake since the influence Big Tech now has over how online reputations are received is increasing. If done incorrectly, it could mean quickly burying your business’ image in a hole.  

If done well, your online presence can have a strong, far-reaching impact on your target audience and potential customers. This successful outcome is usually achieved with the help of an experienced and effective digital marketing team behind your efforts, like at OCGnow for example. We monitor your brand’s performance to keep it relevant to your audience and keep it speaking their language.

 

Impacting your consumer with the message of your product or service is a fundamental part of digital marketing. With all the competition for the attention of your consumer in their everyday life, you have to stand out to get recognition! The recent influence of the COVID-19 pandemic on our society illustrates this pillar of digital marketing rather well. The virus is affecting the way of life for people all over the world. 

Aligning your product or service in a way that delivers hope, solutions, entertainment, or pleasure during this time will significantly increase the impact of your product or service as well. Relationally, people flooding to the internet to shop for answers for these very things are also increasing.

 

The numerous benefits of investing in digital marketing, paired with the unexpected yet growing presence of the COVID-19 pandemic, has created a flood of online entrepreneurial activity like never before.

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The Impact of COVID-19 On The
Influence of Digital Marketing

In the midst of concern over the virus, some social and economical norms have drastically changed. Consumers are responding from their homes by purchasing more goods and services online, seeking more entertainment online, and doing more connecting with their families and communities online.

 

Let’s take just a small step back in time and get a glimpse of the direction the now-behemoth retailer Walmart has taken towards huge success. Before COVID-19 affected the world, Walmart had already dug down and grown a shopping empire. By creating all-inclusive shopping experiences where customers could purchase just about everything they needed from electronics to groceries to home goods, there wasn’t much of a reason not to make a run to Walmart. Needless to say, their presence became immense, reaching nearly every corner of the world (we’re looking at you, Tanzania).

 

Who could possibly outrank this kind of competition, you might ask? That entity is Amazon, having grown to reach a mass of the population that is now casting a shadow over Walmart, and is still growing. The reason for this is because, although you would most likely choose a Walmart to stop at while driving around, you could much more easily recline on your living room sofa and purchase the plans, materials, and educational resources you need to tackle upgrading your family entertainment center, for instance.

 

Amazon has dominated an enormous variety of industrial markets, all from their online presence, selling nearly anything to anyone, anywhere. Now that the impact of COVID-19 has flown online shopping into a frenzy, their impact has increased all the more. Because they have geared their business towards online shoppers, their substantial amount of growth has no sign of slowing well into the future, with or without the presence of the coronavirus.

 

It is of utmost convenience for your consumers to be able to search for answers to their questions, find solutions to their problems, and get the things they want and need all from the comfort of their homes. If your brand can establish an online presence they can rely on and trust, then you have gained a solid and profitable business foundation. However, there is always a niche to find in your approach to your business that can help you stand out from your competition. 

Believe it or not, there are weaknesses even in the approach of online giants like Amazon. One example of such a niche are the tangible services provided by service based businesses to their surrounding communities that otherwise couldn’t be purchased online.

 

Take being able to call an emergency service from a local plumbing professional to repair a broken and profusely leaking water heater, for example. Calling a local team of qualified contractors to safely and effectively remove a large bout of mold growth that has been negatively affecting the health of those in your home is not a solution you can put in your cart and have delivered to your door. 

 

What are the strengths and weaknesses of your business’ online presence? It is our job to get to know your business inside and out to help answer this question and put the results to work for producing outcome. Chances are, plenty of options are readily available to you for making a change that could bring about an increase in traffic.

 

More small business owners are running their businesses from the internet, and more employees are logging into work remotely. Small businesses with no previous online presence are now taking to the eCommerce jungle, and large businesses are finding themselves accommodating their consumers with new and inventive ways to sell to, and engage with, them online.

 

The following are some examples of ways businesses are staying connected with their consumers and continuing to sell to their target audiences online with the help of digital marketing:

Making Digital Ordering Available

A variety of companies are expanding their product and service offerings to digital ordering mechanisms. From switching to hosting trivia games in-house to customers online, to hometown restaurants selling their goods via Facebook Instant Ordering, small businesses everywhere are making adaptations to stay afloat.

PROMOTING BRANDED SERVICES

Companies providing one-on-one or group session services, like gyms and hobby workshops, have chosen to offer their instructions exclusively online through quality videos. Customers can participate and increase their skills from the safety of their own homes.

CREATING CHARITABLE OFFERS AND CAMPAIGNS

Some local businesses known for enriching the children in your community are cutting fees as well as offering supplemental resources to help them continue to learn while their schools are closed.

RECEIVING FEEDBACK & IMPROVED CUSTOMER SERVICE

Small businesses of all kinds are increasing their communication online using chat apps through social media and other mainstream software. Staying connected in real-time with their customers helps keep them front and center with their competition.

Small businesses of all kinds are increasing their communication online using chat apps through social media and other mainstream software. Staying connected in real-time with their customers helps keep them front and center with their competition.

ADVERTISE AN INCREASE IN CUSTOMER CONVENIENCE AND CONTROL

When providing services that require booking or scheduling, giving customers the ability to check-in online and even modify their appointments, not only increases convenience but improves the rate at which they are kept.

ANNOUNCE NEW SOCIAL DISTANCING FRIENDLY PRODUCTS

Any goods that can be creatively modified to become easier to transport, or made more DIY for those at home, can help both your business and your consumer. Take customized salon hair at-home color kits or pottery making sets with returnable tools for example.

 

A large variety of digital marketing strategies are available for achieving the exposure small businesses need to stay in the game. A combination of proven strategies and out-of-the-box solutions can keep your small business from floating out to sea as the tides are turning.

SERVICE BASED BUSINESSES ARE BEING RECOGNIZED AS ESSENTIAL

Every business can benefit from digital marketing efforts, but service based businesses in particular have been in the limelight since the onset of the pandemic. This is because of the identification of workers that are “essential” versus ones that are not. While residents have been asked to stay in their homes to prevent the spread of disease, workers providing skill-based services are being promoted to continue work. You may already be familiar with these definitions if you own a business providing the following types of services:

  • Food or Agriculture
  • Child Care
  • Retail
  • Financial Services
  • Hardware and Related Retail
  • eCommerce and Distribution
  • Critical Trades like Construction, Plumbing, Electrical Work, Pest Extermination, HVAC Repair, Laundering, etc.

These “essential workforces” have been deemed in many states across the U.S. to provide business that is, well, essential for maintaining our infrastructure. These industries have received a lot of praise over the past year, and the opportunities for amplifying your exposure with these messages are great. Don’t overlook them! Create content that emphasizes the importance of the services you provide or create a campaign that supports your local communities during these tough times with the help of those services. No matter how you slice it, there is plenty of potential being generated for your small service based business to capitalize on a strong marketing message.

MARKETING BEYOND COVID-19

Although the pandemic has made its mark on the online shopping and digital marketing industries, it stands alone that digital marketing can provide your small business with the benefits it needs to achieve growth for success. Before the online shopping trends skyrocketed, campaigns and other digital marketing efforts were providing small businesses with a way to affordably reach more customers as well as rank in their competition.

 

This still holds true today, whether or not your business has seen a lull in traffic or a boost in business due to the social distancing and quarantine measures. As a matter of fact, 2021 is most likely to generate even more buzz than the year before as digital marketing becomes more familiar and accommodating to big and small business owners alike. Want to keep up with the hustle and bustle of digital marketing trends? You can count on your Online Capital Group to plug your brand into a resilient and adaptive online presence.

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Reasons Digital Marketing is Still A Relevant Investment In 2021

It Is Affordable

The goal of digital marketing- to aid a business in increasing its visibility to its target audience- applies to businesses of any size. Compared to traditional marketing, digital marketing takes the cake when it comes to cost-effectiveness. Being able to obtain, process, and analyze essential data insights about the business that is being done is easier than ever before, and has become much more reasonably priced.

 

Setting aside a digital marketing budget is necessary for making an investment that will produce results. This is largely because planning how, when, and where your efforts will be made has to be a part of the process in order to achieve any real success. Even purchasing a run of promotional offers using experimental variables could turn out beneficial if the results are monitored in real-time during the campaign. 

Not many businesses can afford the thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars needed to run traditional marketing on radio and television spots or billboards. Digital marketing makes reaching a limitless amount of people possible for only a fraction of the latter methods.

 

Some of the strongest returns from digital marketing are not those that you pay for, however. Take organic search for example: by creating and optimizing a listing on Google My Business, you will receive a whole package of exposure you did not have before. This includes SEO perks, positive customer reviews, and foot traffic for local brick and mortar locations.

 

Gaining traffic through other means like social media advertising or other select platforms can be more costly. While this fact is not necessarily a con against this method, it certainly requires more know-how and management in the investment being made, whether or not you are opting in at $1 or $1,000. 

Compare buying into digital marketing to purchasing the brick and mortar location you might already own today (or have been considering). With a combination of the right Website and Branding Development, SEO, SEM, SMM, and Adspend efforts, your business can stand tall on a prime digital real estate location that would be comparable to a premium spot in Times Square!

 

All in all, digital marketing is a less expensive and more proliferating way to increase the visibility of your business. Learn more about making investments in our digital marketing services for a tailor-made blend of the best possible price and outcomes.

It Is Measured For A More Fine-tuned ROI

Implementing digital marketing strategies that generate revenue for your small business relies on the foundation of both an optimized brand and effective campaigns. This foundation will make it possible to get results when reaching out to customers, promoting your brand, and calling them to action.

 

Traditional marketing techniques differ from digital marketing techniques in that there is a large limitation to how much information you can gather about the details of your campaigns. This means that both targeting your campaigns and measuring your success is made much less effective than would be experienced with digital marketing.

 

Take, for example, sending out a series of brochures that advertise a current sale your hardware store has just started. Locating neighborhoods that have larger populations of middle-aged adults with their own homes is possible (as opposed to retired living or apartment complexes), but digital marketing insights would make it possible to find ideal customers in nearly every neighborhood within a certain distance from your brick and mortar store. Additionally, measuring your advertising media results can be done with pinpoint accuracy when you can digitally track if a promotional email has been received and opened, for instance.

 

With these abilities as options to you, a small business owner can have much more control over the details of their investments. Where advertising with traditional campaigns would require a lump sum of money to purchase a set amount of printed materials, etc., a digital advertising campaign can be customized down to how many “clicks” you want to achieve and how much you will pay for each.

 

While closely monitoring results in small batches upfront, growing an advertising campaign can help maximize your profits as much as possible. Essentially, you grow your investment only in the areas that show growth. Think of it like pruning a plant in a garden, trimming off the avenues that don’t provide the fruit while identifying and growing the ones that do. The accuracy and measuring capabilities of digital marketing make this possible in ways that traditional marketing does not.

Reach Exponentially More Customers

Even the most popular and high traffic brick and mortar stores have a certain amount of “standing room”! One of the most significant characteristics of an online presence is that it has no boundaries. The room for your brand to grow, and the amount of digital real estate you can procure, is essentially infinite. Your website, the cornerstone of your online presence, is the central hub where current and potential customers will interact with your brand.

Your website can carry out a wide variety of marketing methods, whether it is an email marketing campaign prompting customers with advertising on a product page, or a gallery of user-generated social media photos calling for customers to join in the fun. One of its strongest functions is to collect the leads you need to gain marketing momentum.

The amount of exposure your website can get during the search results of potential customers can be increased through the proper Search Engine Optimization techniques. What this means in a nutshell is that one of the most sought after digital marketing services is a bought of behind-the-scenes work on your website that helps it to communicate with search engines. This allows for your website to have much more legitimacy with search engines, thus being represented higher up on the list of search results from potential customers. 

A key fact that makes SEO one of the most powerful digital marketing tools lies in the search engines themselves. Search engines use complicated algorithms to find websites online for people that are searching for topics. These algorithms are frequently changing, and if your website is not optimized correctly, it can quickly drop in the ranks without warning. Monthly maintenance and optimization are a must have for claiming your spot at the top of the search results and keeping it. This makes it as easy as possible for people that are looking for products like yours to engage with your brand in many different ways. Now knowing who you are optimizing your content for is part of the battle!

If you own a brick and mortar location for your business, and happen to also work on the floor of that business, perhaps you have been able to identify a type, personality, gender, age, or other variable that most of your customers share. This is called a Buyer Persona. Creating a profile of the typical customer who buys from your brand is a common and nearly essential practice to help create a roadmap for most small business success. 

 

When you have a Buyer Persona backed up by insights from purchase history, traffic, engagement, and other metrics, you can form comprehensive plans for how you will most effectively market to people that associate with those variables. Who knows, this sort of marketing work might just reveal a whole audience of people you had never yet considered were interested in your product! Not sure where to start? We can lend a hand.

Level The Playing Field & Rank With Your Competition

Big corporation, headquarters, bustling industry: companies in these realms may seem like powerhouses that would take you a century to get to the point to someday follow in their footsteps. While it is true that larger amounts of money buys you larger amounts of marketing investment, the nature of the way digital marketing works can help give you huge advantages you otherwise would not be able to capitalize on. 

To summarize, digital marketing provides an equal opportunity to all who invest. The technology and resources that are utilized for effective digital marketing are available for any small business that can either learn to use them (and pay for those that require it) or hire an agency to help. What drives the impact of digital marketing is the knowledge and creativity behind the strategies and the content that is created for it.

 

The tools you use and the amount of money you put into them can only carry your efforts so far. Spending thousands of dollars on a bland and misappropriated message will still flop miserably. 

You can find countless examples of content praised by consumers, industry leaders, and marketing agencies alike that were created with little to no budget, but with a lot of heart. Likewise, impressive content that has not been tailored for the right audiences can still end up falling on deaf ears.

 

Properly tended to and optimized digital marketing campaigns make it possible to skyrocket the potential of niche products and services. It is possible for small business owners that know their product well enough, and learn enough about their niche market, to stand alongside their top competition. 

This is because a wide range of customers are available to market on a wide range of platforms. Small business owners have often found themselves in the literal shadow of a competitor’s advertising billboards or brick and mortar location with traditional marketing. 

 

With the right keywords, digital real estate, and balance of places to establish your online presence, digital marketing can bring exposure to opportunities that were once unseen. Don’t get caught up with limitations at a local level, who says small businesses can’t run with the bigger dogs? We can help you get started.

So We've Discussed Returns, But What Is The Cost?

There hasn’t been much said on this page just yet as to how much you will have to spend for these plethora of benefits. Some of the best digital marketing approaches are tailor-made from a combination of different strategies, tools, and campaigns. This means that the cost of a single approach can vary widely from business to business. For this reason, we will tackle the topic of cost from a 10,000 foot view.

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What Is The Usual Digital Marketing Budget For A Small Business?

According to Forbes

“Most businesses will cut their marketing budget when faced with an economic downturn.” 

This was a strong response from small businesses in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic one year ago, with “44% of CMOs reporting midyear budget cuts in 2020.”

 

With all of the new and unexpected buzz about the quarantine, as well as how surrounding businesses were also seeing a near standstill of their usual customers, it could be understandable to draw such a conclusion as a solution. Unfortunately, however, digital marketing offers a wide array of opportunities that many small business owners do not realize exist.

 

Instead, we encourage you to consider the outcome of this conceptual equation: A decrease in competitor’s marketing presence + a continuation (and fine-tuning) of your company’s marketing investments. The sum of this equation is going to be in your favor as your competitor’s online reputation becomes more quiet. Your brand will share a larger portion of the spotlight, so to speak, as other brands roll back their investments.

 

As of 2020, Brafton/Gardner has stated that 

Companies that make more than 10 percent of their sales online allocate 13 percent of their total budget” to digital marketing, while other companies reach an “average marketing budget of 11.2% of their revenue”.

 

These amounts are consistently growing well into 2021 and are expected to continue.

Businesses that have decided not to cut their marketing budget are achieving results by instead tailoring them to be as effective, streamlined, and relevant as possible. This is making for especially profitable digital marketing investments, with COVID-19 having brought about a huge push toward the digital.

 

Streamlining their investments essentially means that all trivial or low-return investments are cut from the budgets. This important process has caused many business owners to seek experienced sources for the most effective solutions, or to essentially educate themselves in order to perform the work on their own. 

While the latter is still possible, it is not for everybody. Hiring a digital marketing agency can produce the results you need as well as the insights you didn’t know that you didn’t know. Both options will require a budget to obtain a list of tools and services needed to do the job, but it simply comes down to who will be utilizing them and how.

 

So, which method might serve more profitable, you ask? We will break down the idea of taking on DIY digital marketing as well as partnering with a digital marketing agency to fulfill your business’ needs.

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What Are The Pros and Cons of DIY Digital Marketing VS An Agency?

A digital marketer’s goal, whether functioning in-house or hiring an external agency, aims to increase and maintain your brand’s exposure online. However, there are differences between the two routes to take when investing in a group that will bring you success. Not sure which one is best? We’ll outline them for you below:

DIY Digital Marketing

Choosing to do digital marketing yourself is an option that is receiving more and more advocacy. Society and software services alike are pushing the message that you can market your small business yourself just fine with simple tools and enough education. 

 

Pro: Digital marketing is becoming more individually accessible.

Con: There is something to say about how much higher your return on investment can be from hiring those that have more thoroughly developed capabilities, such as an agency.

 

At the foundation, you will need to develop a system to help you succeed. This will be most effective if you have accumulated a significant amount of experience with digital marketing, having learned your way around the ins and outs of major avenues like social media marketing, email marketing, and SEO, for example. 

 

Pro: Learning how to use new tools and programs can be taught through tutorials included with your software purchases. A basic understanding of digital marketing can also be formed from gathering information.

Con: Becoming truly experienced in how digital marketing works requires a different type of learning. As with many things in life, this happens over several years of practice and implementing what has been learned. 

 

Time is of the essence when it comes to digital marketing for your small business. Weighing the amount of time you have to invest in digital marketing efforts will tell a lot about the direction you need to take. Are you the single significant source of the production of your products and services, or do you have enough of a workforce you can depend on to keep up production?

 

Pro: The newest tools and technologies help automate plenty of digital marketing processes.

Con: Tools can only do so much on their own. It takes time to create campaigns, monitor their performance, and analyze their results to better optimize them for the next go round. 

Digital Marketing Agencies

The term “agency” might very well strike images of skyscrapers or corporate headquarter buildings in your mind. Of course, imagery like that might leave you anticipating high price tags. This can be inevitable for some crucial digital marketing services (like a brand new website that has been fully optimized for search engines), yet there are different variables to consider with every individual case.

 

Considering the variables by looking at the bigger picture is what agencies like us here at OCGnow do. We take a load of the digital marketing work off your hands to free up your time, focus, and energy for where you need it most. Then, years of successful strategies and expertise are seasoned all over your brand to make for a more zesty and appealing entree for your consumers to engage with.

 

With the aid of a digital marketing agency, you can more easily achieve the goal of significantly growing your business over the long term. Resting easy will be, well, easier, when you also know that potential customers that would normally never have learned about your product or service will see your name come up while they browse their interests or desires on the web.

In Summary

There are benefits to both roads to take. Your marketing style depends heavily on your business style, most specifically when it comes to how you run it. Here are some points to help you measure the viability of DIY methods versus partnering with a Digital Marketing Agency:

  • Introducing your brand to an agency will take time, however, you might gain a fresh outside perspective that could help improve your image.

  • Hiring individuals with specific skill sets makes piecing together a team that can hyperfocus in a specific area possible. When you need to increase strength in many areas, you will find well-rounded fortification from an agency.

  • Communication might prove to be more convenient and accessible, yet there are so many methods used to communicate in today’s age, this difference is most likely very negligible.

  • Building a suite of tools for yourself can prove expensive, and can increase in price for sizable teams. Agencies generally have access to a broader range of tools and can afford to charge you only a portion of their cost to use them on your behalf.

  • Management is a crucial factor in running an internal marketing team. Establishing processes and maintaining deadlines takes a lot of time to manage, whereas agencies have already achieved streamlined operations through which to run your digital marketing investments.
Digital-Maketing-Small-Business-Options

We Understand There Are A Lot Of Options

This is why we approach every digital marketing investment from both big and small business with the same stages of action. No matter what variables are uncovered, or unique needs that require our adaptation, the plan for success will remain intact. With cookie cutter agency solutions, many entrepreneurs find that the services they have been prescribed are either bloated beyond what they need, or they simply don’t have the needed capacity to offer.

Other options that will present themselves may appear like professional digital marketing solutions, especially when giving thorough information up front. Beware, there is an overwhelming force of legitimate looking digital marketing representatives that will promise you the highest of returns for your business. Throwing around impressive digital marketing jargon and statistics to make a sale and scam you out of making a real investment is a tactic these people often use.

 

Unlike these false testimonies, our All-American staff at OCGnow work 24/7 with you to create a pinpoint yet flexible strategy (and budget) to perform for your business’ individual needs. The steps are as follows:

Extract Knowledge

We draw from what we know about your industry, gain insights about your current place in the industry, and help form or clarify your Goals while identifying the Needs to achieve them.

Strategize & Plan

We identify your business Mission and perform the market research that reveals what will both help and hinder accomplishing it. Customer data is also gathered, since they always come first, of course.

Implement & Execute

Once getting to know your brand and way of business, we create the content that will help engage others to want to buy or learn more about your product or service. A campaign designed to gather the results you need is then executed.

Measure & Analyze

The campaign’s performance is tracked and metrics are gathered to make sure it continues to prove beneficial to you. We will test and compare other successful campaigns to current activity to help keep our eye, and your digital marketing investments, on the ball.

Optimize

Any disoriented systems or systems that are losing steam will be refined and continuously measured. This stage is for learning about what has clicked best from your brand to your audience and enhanced the delivery for maximum results.

 

This process is consistently maintained, reevaluated, and reinitiated to cycle through for more densely concentrated returns over time. Our goal is to take the budget your business has allocated for digital marketing and help every dollar make a meaningful impact on your business’s growth and the quality of your online presence.

Digital-Maketing-Small-Business-Success

Here Is To The Success Of Your
Small Business

How to obtain a digital marketing budget for your business can be another tricky topic to tackle. Once the funds are secured, however, going forward with all of the previous insight in mind can help bring about the best results. No matter if you are just starting to sprout, or have already achieved a pretty impressive amount of customers or clients, sensibly investing in your business’ digital real estate will no doubt pay off.

 

Consider the time you have already invested to find and read this article as well spent. Not only will your drive to succeed make all the difference, but the information you have gained will also help you reach the next level. We at OCGnow believe it is best to “Do It or Pursue It”. Don’t let social distancing or quarantine measures bog down your business!

 

For a solid partner to venture out with into the sea of options, give your Online Capital Group a call at (904) 600-3600, now! We will take any of your questions, comments, or concerns about how to best make an investment in your digital marketing by getting to know your business as if it were one of our own.

Questions, Comments, Concerns?

Schedule an Online Presence Evaluation today!

Article Authors:

Joshua Lampright

As Senior Marketing Strategist of OCGnow, Joshua personally oversees every project and takes on the most at risk cases. Joshua is known for his high energy, strong work ethic, and is commonly found working with other members to ensure success.

 

Vivian Hemstead

AA in Journalism, 10+ years experience writing engaging and informative content for both large and small businesses. 

 

Ross Lampright

 

REFERENCES

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2021/01/13/five-marketing-strategies-for-coming-out-of-the-recession-stronger/?sh=75fb7a4a6d4b

https://www.brafton.com/blog/content-marketing/the-ultimate-list-of-marketing-spend-statistics-for-2019-infographic/

https://covid19.ca.gov/essential-workforce/

https://www.statista.com/statistics/278414/number-of-worldwide-social-network-users/

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Online capital group

Our review consists of an exclusive, customized analysis of your current digital marketing efforts and online representation, outlined in an easy to understand report you can then utilize to identify opportunities to achieve growth.

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The nature of digital marketing is adaptive. Societal standards and trends that heavily influence how people shop and what they shop for are constantly changing. The overall trend of buying and selling goods online has been sharply increasing for years with no signs of slowing. This puts digital marketing in the lead when it comes to the kinds of profitable investments a business can make. It is possible for large and small businesses across the world to achieve success, in both local and national markets!

On a smaller scale, digital marketing makes it possible for small business owners to obtain many advantages they otherwise wouldn’t have access to. Tracking their ROI and developing and maintaining their brand are some examples of the opportunities that are made possible. Marketing online offers entrepreneurs a very customizable approach to investment making. Primary facets of digital marketing like Website and Branding Development, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), SEM (Search Engine Marketing), SMM (Social Media Marketing), and Adspend can be implemented in ways that are tailor-made to your business model. By creating a digital marketing strategy unique to your business, it can more successfully meet your needs and budget to achieve maximum returns. 

Local businesses can rest easy knowing that an average of 97% of consumers learn about local businesses from their online reputation. Of course, this exposure is fueled by research-based and properly executed digital marketing strategies. These results are not exclusive to local businesses, however. There are options for every business of every size to utilize marketing for promoting their business to the world in big ways.

Many business owners both novice and experienced can perceive digital marketing to mean many different things. Some entrepreneurs might think that securing a couple of somewhat successful social media accounts pretty much covers the gamut. Others might think they have to sign up for hefty packages from prestigious agencies to make a significant difference in their sales volume. In either case, digital marketing investments of nearly any kind can bring a solid benefit when developed and executed properly.

Improving Your Online Presence

OCGnow believes that a business can grow beyond a brick and mortar location into a living online presence that is as valuable as any other foundational form of capital. Our team can help you capitalize on this opportunity by creating a foundation on which to build your online presence utilizing a digital real estate framework. Digital real estate refers to the possible “ground” a company can establish online by the vast means of digital marketing. Whether on the corner of Main Street or one of the most popular online listing directories, the focus is location, location, location!

Provided below is a list of the most prominent digital real estate assets that digital marketing has to offer. They are the most influential foundational components that make up your online presence as a whole, and are at their most effective when working in tandem with one another:

Your Website

Perhaps the number one most essential asset to have properly established is your website. Some self-proclaimed marketers and branding companies will try to lead you to believe “if you build a website, they will come.” This is only true to a small extent. Have you ever wondered why one website costs $100 and another could cost up to $10,000? These prices have little to do with the name of the agency you are working with (when the agency is honest about the prices of their work, of course!), and much more to do with the extent of the work being done on the website.

Building a website is a concrete representation of your brand online. It can be likened to raising a storefront in the most popular shopping district in the world. Then you equip the storefront with all the tools and digital staff that can help your customers to research your brand, chat with experts, read the reviews of other satisfied customers, watch related media, and purchase directly from you. While it is possible to conduct business online without a website, a professionally established website will act as a cornerstone that opens up many opportunities.

There are several different means of obtaining a website for your brand. Some more niche or exotic brands might do better by hiring a developer to create a custom site that pushes the limits. A local small business might benefit from making a light investment in a short term website with their beginner-sized budget. 

From enterprise e-Commerce packages from large agencies, to inexpensive listings on freelancing websites, websites are more readily available than ever before. However, there are still some best and worst ways to go about getting the website that is right for you.Perhaps one of the most popular methods being advertised right now is to make your own website using a DIY drag-and-drop service. 

When using DIY website builders, like the leading software Wix for example, be aware that convenience and performance are usually on opposite sides of the sliding scale. This means that the website elements these builders offer are simple to use and may be efficient for their purpose, but do not always deliver the robust operations that make a truly powerhouse website.

Some downsides that come from situations like these can seriously impede your website’s functionality, including the inability to have ownership over the content of your site, choose a standalone branded domain, and the freedom to simply migrate your site if ever you decide to leave their service. Don’t forget, if your new website was not built with a strong foundation in the first place, a redesign later on down the road may include much more work, and cost much more.

Below are some things to consider if you are hooked on the idea of making your own website (and perhaps saving a large amount of money doing so) below:

  • Design is a very important aspect of any website and is made up of more variables than aesthetics alone. Search engines also measure websites on their structure and other factors that tell them the site is legitimate, or more likely to be worth the potential consumer’s time.
  • Mobile-friendly design is a must-have in this day and age. Getting your website to look good on a mobile device is only one piece of the whole pie. The user interface, navigation, and other bells and whistles that will really make a difference come from some established know-how and experience.
  • Including a blog in your webpage lineup is a great way to generate traffic to your website from a number of sources. Once you create a post, you then have a link to the page for anyone who is searching the topic in a search engine. This post can also be seen by people scrolling through their social media feed. Again, the content of your blog posts could be written with an utmost talent in spelling and grammar, but if it is not optimized to communicate in a friendly way to search engines (which is in a whole particular style in and of itself), then the two won’t see eye to eye.

Marketing companies do exist that understand the need for small business owners to have convenience and flexibility in conjunction with a website that will truly drive traffic to their brand. For example, here at OCGnow, our team works to provide a website that is both cost-effective and completely customizable to the individual needs of the business itself. By working to authentically understand the unique situations at hand, you can receive the most effective work and tailored support for the greatest chance of success.

  • Social Media Presence

Social Media platforms are great places for people and businesses alike to socialize and connect. Compatible with your website, they offer that more real-time, personable communication between brands and audiences. This makes them not only stages on which to shine, but powerful business tools as well.

When approached with an entrepreneurial mindset, and the right experience, social media can act as yet another catalyst for increasing your traffic. Additionally, it can improve your search engine rankings and public relations efforts.

According to Statista, a leading statistics portal, the global social media usage rate was 49% (3.6 billion people) as of January 2020. By 2025, this figure is expected to rise to nearly 4.4 billion. With this many people spending time engaging with businesses online, it’s no wonder that about 91% of marketers look to utilize content (the images and video you scroll through on social media) in their digital marketing campaigns.

Social Media Analytics plays a huge role in carrying out digital marketing objectives. Small business owners that prefer the DIY technique can find it possible to grow their audience base, as well as achieve a substantial reach, simply with attractive content. However, reaching the full potential of major platforms requires a more thorough understanding of the overall processes therein, like Business Manager integrations, for example.

Keep in mind that, like when obtaining a website for your brand, social media content is more than what image or video your audience sees. There are a slew of variables about audience behavior, statistical insights on the process you use, and many more things to consider to optimize your performance for the best results. Some digital marketing agencies, like us here at OCGnow, have established a credible knowledge base by having approached many channels from different industries for several years. 

Our clients receive a social media inspection where we thoroughly evaluate their brand continuity across different platforms. All information and branding are seamlessly tied together for a professional and unified social media presence, then we utilize the insight to achieve the highest impact on your audience.

  • Content Creation

Simply put, content marketing is one of the most sought after methods of digital marketing for a reason! Every blog post, explainer video, podcast episode, social media carousel, or other piece of content that your brand publishes for viewing is geared towards making a profit. This does not mean the message of the content always comes right out and says “Buy My Product or Service”. It does mean, though, that by fundamentally providing quality information and solutions to potential consumers, they can build trust with your brand. Developing a relationship like this will keep them coming back for more enrichment. It will only be a matter of time before they either make a purchase through reciprocation or finally decide to buy as a result of their own research.

Content is most effective when created and delivered with your target audience in mind. You might find that you have plenty of things in common with your target audience and have been able to create a quality product or service because of it! Remember Hair Club for Men, a company dedicated to restoring hair growth? They offered encouragement to their audience with the following statement, “I am not only the Hair Club President, but I’m also a client.” Whatever your knowledge base or experience with the product or service may be, it is important to be able to read the data from your digital marketing campaign activity. You cannot determine crucial variables without it! 

We encourage you to have fun with the content your brand publishes on your online presence, however, we don’t recommend chiefly producing content without the aid of an experienced and precise agency. The OCGnow team not only creates content that converts, but utilizes the insights to help your brand pack a punch.

Once a business has achieved these main pillars of its online presence, it is crucial to continue investing attention into managing them. This means that your website, social media accounts, and content being created is not only kept up and running in good condition, but is also kept consistent and in conjunction with the style and voice of your brand. Inconsistent or inappropriate branding can decrease your attractiveness in the marketplace, which in turn decreases sales volume. On the other hand, did you know that haphazard branding and careless brand activity can actually cause harm to your online reputation?

Brand Monitoring Isn’t Just For Marketers Anymore

In recent years, online presence has begun to garner a level of legitimacy that it didn’t previously have. This is perhaps most easily seen in how people interact with society through their social media profiles. These communities were once open forums to build up an identity or brand for yourself however you wanted. 

In today’s world, what you say on your preferred social platform is highly measured. It is becoming more commonplace for established members of business to be terminated from their jobs because of an opinion or viewpoint they express on their accounts! A highly influential online presence can even have an affect on very impactful political issues.

The same rules apply to brands as well. There is an uptrend of businesses and services that are being prohibited from selling goods and services on popular marketplaces because of the opinions and groups of people they associate with online. The legitimacy of an online presence is growing, whether the outcome is for or against the flow of business of that brand. More and more consumers are researching businesses to determine their world view just like they would their quality of business from what others say in online reviews, testimonials, product ratings, and videos sharing their experiences.

Creating and maintaining the brand of your online presence is a very important part of establishing your online reputation. More is at stake since the influence Big Tech now has over how online reputations are received is increasing. If done incorrectly, it could mean quickly burying your business’ image in a hole.  If done well, your online presence can have a strong, far-reaching impact on your target audience and potential customers. This successful outcome is usually achieved with the help of an experienced and effective digital marketing team behind your efforts, like at OCGnow for example. We monitor your brand’s performance to keep it relevant to your audience and keep it speaking their language.

Impacting the consumer with the message of your product or service is a fundamental part of digital marketing. With all the competition for the attention of your consumer in their everyday life, you have to stand out to get recognition! The recent influence of the COVID-19 pandemic on our society illustrates this pillar of digital marketing rather well. The virus is affecting the way of life for people all over the world. Aligning your product or service in a way that delivers hope, solutions, entertainment, or pleasure during this time will significantly increase the impact of your product or service as well. Relationally, people flooding to the internet to shop for answers for these very things are also increasing.

The numerous benefits of investing in digital marketing, paired with the unexpected yet growing presence of the COVID-19 pandemic, has created a flood of online entrepreneurial activity like never before.

The Impact of COVID-19 On The Influence of Digital Marketing

In the midst of concern over the virus, some social and economical norms have drastically changed. Consumers are responding from their homes by purchasing more goods and services online, seeking more entertainment online, and doing more connecting with their families and communities online.

Let’s take just a small step back in time and get a glimpse of the direction the now-behemoth retailer Walmart has taken towards huge success. Before COVID-19 affected the world, Walmart had already dug down and grown a shopping empire. By creating all-inclusive shopping experiences where customers could purchase just about everything they needed from electronics to groceries to home goods, there wasn’t much of a reason not to make a run to Walmart. Needless to say, their presence became immense, reaching nearly every corner of the world (we’re looking at you, Tanzania).

Who could possibly outrank this kind of competition, you might ask? That entity is Amazon, having grown to reach a mass of the population that is now casting a shadow over Walmart, and is still growing. The reason for this is because, although you would most likely choose a Walmart to stop at while driving around, you could much more easily recline on your living room sofa and purchase the plans, materials, and educational resources you need to tackle upgrading your family entertainment center, for instance.

Amazon has dominated an enormous variety of industrial markets, all from their online presence, selling nearly anything to anyone, anywhere. Now that the impact of COVID-19 has flown online shopping into a frenzy, their impact has increased all the more. Because they have geared their business towards online shoppers, their substantial amount of growth has no sign of slowing well into the future, with or without the presence of the coronavirus.

It is of utmost convenience for your consumers to be able to search for answers to their questions, find solutions to their problems, and get the things they want and need all from the comfort of their homes. If your brand can establish an online presence they can rely on and trust, then you have gained a solid and profitable business foundation. However, there is always a niche to find in your approach to your business that can help you stand out from your competition. Believe it or not, there are weaknesses even in the approach of online giants like Amazon. One example of such a niche are the tangible services provided by service based businesses to their surrounding communities that otherwise couldn’t be purchased online.

Take being able to call an emergency service from a local plumbing professional to repair a broken and profusely leaking water heater, for example. Calling a local team of qualified contractors to safely and effectively remove a large bout of mold growth that has been negatively affecting the health of those in your home is not a solution you can put in your cart and have delivered to your door. 

What are the strengths and weaknesses of your business’ online presence? It is our job to get to know your business inside and out to help answer this question and put the results to work for producing outcome. Chances are, plenty of options are readily available to you for making a change that could bring about an increase in traffic.

More small business owners are running their businesses from the internet, and more employees are logging into work remotely. Small businesses with no previous online presence are now taking to the eCommerce jungle, and large businesses are finding themselves accommodating their consumers with new and inventive ways to sell to, and engage with, them online.

The following are some examples of ways businesses are staying connected with their consumers and continuing to sell to their target audiences online with the help of digital marketing:

Making Digital Ordering Available

A variety of companies are expanding their product and service offerings to digital ordering mechanisms. From switching to hosting trivia games in-house to customers online, to hometown restaurants selling their goods via Facebook Instant Ordering, small businesses everywhere are making adaptations to stay afloat.

Promoting Branded Services

Companies providing one-on-one or group session services, like gyms and hobby workshops, have chosen to offer their instructions exclusively online through quality videos. Customers can participate and increase their skills from the safety of their own homes.

Creating Charitable Offers and Campaigns

Some local businesses known for enriching the children in your community are cutting fees as well as offering supplemental resources to help them continue to learn while their schools are closed.

Receiving Feedback and Improved Customer Service

Small businesses of all kinds are increasing their communication online using chat apps through social media and other mainstream software. Staying connected in real-time with their customers helps keep them front and center with their competition.

Advertise an Increase in Customer Convenience and Control

When providing services that require booking or scheduling, giving customers the ability to check-in online and even modify their appointments, not only increases convenience but improves the rate at which they are kept.

Announce New Social Distancing Friendly Products

Any goods that can be creatively modified to become easier to transport, or made more DIY for those at home, can help both your business and your consumer. Take customized salon hair at-home color kits or pottery making sets with returnable tools for example.

A large variety of digital marketing strategies are available for achieving the exposure small businesses need to stay in the game. A combination of proven strategies and out-of-the-box solutions can keep your small business from floating out to sea as the tides are turning.

Service Based Businesses Are Being Recognized as Essential

Every business can benefit from digital marketing efforts, but service based businesses in particular have been in the limelight since the onset of the pandemic. This is because of the identification of workers that are “essential” versus ones that are not. While residents have been asked to stay in their homes to prevent the spread of disease, workers providing skill-based services are being promoted to continue work. You may already be familiar with these definitions if you own a business providing the following types of services:

  • Food or Agriculture
  • Child Care
  • Retail
  • Financial Services
  • Hardware and Related Retail
  • eCommerce and Distribution
  • Critical Trades like Construction, Plumbing, Electrical Work, Pest Extermination, HVAC Repair, Laundering, etc.

These “essential workforces” have been deemed in many states across the U.S. to provide business that is, well, essential for maintaining our infrastructure. These industries have received a lot of praise over the past year, and the opportunities for amplifying your exposure with these messages are great. Don’t overlook them!

Create content that emphasizes the importance of the services you provide or create a campaign that supports your local communities during these tough times with the help of those services. No matter how you slice it, there is plenty of potential being generated for your small service based business to capitalize on a strong marketing message.

Marketing Beyond COVID-19

Although the pandemic has made its mark on the online shopping and digital marketing industries, it stands alone that digital marketing can provide your small business with the benefits it needs to achieve growth for success. Before the online shopping trends skyrocketed, campaigns and other digital marketing efforts were providing small businesses with a way to affordably reach more customers as well as rank in their competition.

This still holds true today, whether or not your business has seen a lull in traffic or a boost in business due to the social distancing and quarantine measures. As a matter of fact, 2021 is most likely to generate even more buzz than the year before as digital marketing becomes more familiar and accommodating to big and small business owners alike. Want to keep up with the hustle and bustle of digital marketing trends? You can count on your Online Capital Group to plug your brand into a resilient and adaptive online presence.

Reasons Digital Marketing Is Still A Relevant Investment in 2021

It is Affordable

The goal of digital marketing- to aid a business in increasing its visibility to its target audience- applies to businesses of any size. Compared to traditional marketing, digital marketing takes the cake when it comes to cost-effectiveness. Being able to obtain, process, and analyze essential data insights about the business that is being done is easier than ever before, and has become much more reasonably priced.

Setting aside a digital marketing budget is necessary for making an investment that will produce results. This is largely because planning how, when, and where your efforts will be made has to be a part of the process in order to achieve any real success. Even purchasing a run of promotional offers using experimental variables could turn out beneficial if the results are monitored in real-time during the campaign. Not many businesses can afford the thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars needed to run traditional marketing on radio and television spots or billboards. Digital marketing makes reaching a limitless amount of people possible for only a fraction of the latter methods.

Some of the strongest returns from digital marketing are not those that you pay for, however. Take organic search for example: by creating and optimizing a listing on Google My Business, you will receive a whole package of exposure you did not have before. This includes SEO perks, positive customer reviews, and foot traffic for local brick and mortar locations.

Gaining traffic through other means like social media advertising or other select platforms can be more costly. While this fact is not necessarily a con against this method, it certainly requires more know-how and management in the investment being made, whether or not you are opting in at $1 or $1,000. Compare buying into digital marketing to purchasing the brick and mortar location you might already own today (or have been considering). With a combination of the right Website and Branding Development, SEO, SEM, SMM, and Adspend efforts, your business can stand tall on a prime digital real estate location that would be comparable to a premium spot in Times Square!

All in all, digital marketing is a less expensive and more proliferating way to increase the visibility of your business. Learn more about making investments in our digital marketing services for a tailor-made blend of the best possible price and outcomes.

It is Measurable for a More Finetuned ROI

Implementing digital marketing strategies that generate revenue for your small business relies on the foundation of both an optimized brand and effective campaigns. This foundation will make it possible to get results when reaching out to customers, promoting your brand, and calling them to action.

Traditional marketing techniques differ from digital marketing techniques in that there is a large limitation to how much information you can gather about the details of your campaigns. This means that both targeting your campaigns and measuring your success is made much less effective than would be experienced with digital marketing.

Take, for example, sending out a series of brochures that advertise a current sale your hardware store has just started. Locating neighborhoods that have larger populations of middle-aged adults with their own homes is possible (as opposed to retired living or apartment complexes), but digital marketing insights would make it possible to find ideal customers in nearly every neighborhood within a certain distance from your brick and mortar store. Additionally, measuring your advertising media results can be done with pinpoint accuracy when you can digitally track if a promotional email has been received and opened, for instance.

With these abilities as options to you, a small business owner can have much more control over the details of their investments. Where advertising with traditional campaigns would require a lump sum of money to purchase a set amount of printed materials, etc., a digital advertising campaign can be customized down to how many “clicks” you want to achieve and how much you will pay for each.

While closely monitoring results in small batches upfront, growing an advertising campaign can help maximize your profits as much as possible. Essentially, you grow your investment only in the areas that show growth. Think of it like pruning a plant in a garden, trimming off the avenues that don’t provide the fruit while identifying and growing the ones that do. The accuracy and measuring capabilities of digital marketing make this possible in ways that traditional marketing does not.

Reach Exponentially More Customers

Even the most popular and high traffic brick and mortar stores have a certain amount of “standing room”! One of the most significant characteristics of an online presence is that it has no boundaries. The room for your brand to grow and the amount of digital real estate you can procure is essentially infinite. Your website, the cornerstone of your online presence, is the central hub where current and potential customers will interact with your brand.

Your website can carry out a wide variety of marketing methods, whether it is an email marketing campaign prompting customers with advertising on a product page, or a gallery of user-generated social media photos calling for customers to join in the fun. One of its strongest functions is to collect the leads you need to gain marketing momentum.

The amount of exposure your website can get during the search results of potential customers can be increased through the proper Search Engine Optimization techniques. What this means in a nutshell is that one of the most sought after digital marketing services is a bought of behind-the-scenes work on your website that helps it to communicate with search engines. This allows for your website to have much more legitimacy with search engines, thus being represented higher up on the list of search results from potential customers. 

A key fact that makes SEO one of the most powerful digital marketing tools lies in the search engines themselves. Search engines use complicated algorithms to find websites online for people that are searching for topics. These algorithms are frequently changing, and if your website is not optimized correctly, it can quickly drop in the ranks without warning. Monthly maintenance and optimization are a must have for claiming your spot at the top of the search results and keeping it. This makes it as easy as possible for people that are looking for products like yours to engage with your brand in many different ways. Now knowing who you are optimizing your content for is part of the battle!

If you own a brick and mortar location for your business, and happen to also work on the floor of that business, perhaps you have been able to identify a type, personality, gender, age, or other variable that most of your customers share. This is called a Buyer Persona. Creating a profile of the typical customer who buys from your brand is a common and nearly essential practice to help create a roadmap for most small business success. 

When you have a Buyer Persona backed up by insights from purchase history, traffic, engagement, and other metrics, you can form comprehensive plans for how you will most effectively market to people that associate with those variables. Who knows, this sort of marketing work might just reveal a whole audience of people you had never yet considered were interested in your product! Not sure where to start? We can lend a hand.

Level the Playing Field and Rank With Your Competition

Big corporation, headquarters, bustling industry: companies in these realms may seem like powerhouses that would take you a century to get to the point to someday follow in their footsteps. While it is true that larger amounts of money buys you larger amounts of marketing investment, the nature of the way digital marketing works can help give you huge advantages you otherwise would not be able to capitalize on. To summarize, digital marketing provides an equal opportunity to all who invest. The technology and resources that are utilized for effective digital marketing are available for any small business that can either learn to use them (and pay for those that require it) or hire an agency to help. What drives the impact of digital marketing is the knowledge and creativity behind the strategies and the content that is created for it.

The tools you use and the amount of money you put into them can only carry your efforts so far. Spending thousands of dollars on a bland and misappropriated message will still flop miserably. You can find countless examples of content praised by consumers, industry leaders, and marketing agencies alike that were created with little to no budget, but with a lot of heart. Likewise, impressive content that has not been tailored for the right audiences can still end up falling on deaf ears.

Properly tended to and optimized digital marketing campaigns make it possible to skyrocket the potential of niche products and services. It is possible for small business owners that know their product well enough, and learn enough about their niche market, to stand alongside their top competition. This is because a wide range of customers are available to market on a wide range of platforms. Small business owners have often found themselves in the literal shadow of a competitor’s advertising billboards or brick and mortar location with traditional marketing. 

With the right keywords, digital real estate, and balance of places to establish your online presence, digital marketing can bring exposure to opportunities that were once unseen. Don’t get caught up with limitations at a local level, who says small businesses can’t run with the bigger dogs? We can help you get started.

So We’ve Discussed The Returns, But What is The Cost?

There hasn’t been much said on this page just yet as to how much you will have to spend for these plethora of benefits. Some of the best digital marketing approaches are tailor-made from a combination of different strategies, tools, and campaigns. This means that the cost of a single approach can vary widely from business to business. For this reason, we will tackle the topic of cost from a 10,000 foot view.

What is the Usual Digital Marketing Budget for a Small Business?

According to Forbes, “most businesses will cut their marketing budget when faced with an economic downturn.” This was a strong response from small businesses in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic one year ago, with “44% of CMOs reporting midyear budget cuts in 2020.”

With all of the new and unexpected buzz about the quarantine, as well as how surrounding businesses were also seeing a near standstill of their usual customers, it could be understandable to draw such a conclusion as a solution. Unfortunately, however, digital marketing offers a wide array of opportunities that many small business owners do not realize exist.

Instead, we encourage you to consider the outcome of this conceptual equation: A decrease in competitor’s marketing presence + a continuation (and fine-tuning) of your company’s marketing investments. The sum of this equation is going to be in your favor as your competitor’s online reputation becomes more quiet. Your brand will share a larger portion of the spotlight, so to speak, as other brands roll back their investments.

As of 2020, Brafton/Gardner has stated that “companies that make more than 10 percent of their sales online allocate 13 percent of their total budget” to digital marketing, while other companies reach an “average marketing budget of 11.2% of their revenue”.

These amounts are consistently growing well into 2021 and are expected to continue.

Businesses that have decided not to cut their marketing budget are achieving results by instead tailoring them to be as effective, streamlined, and relevant as possible. This is making for especially profitable digital marketing investments, with COVID-19 having brought about a huge push toward the digital.

Streamlining their investments essentially means that all trivial or low-return investments are cut from the budgets. This important process has caused many business owners to seek experienced sources for the most effective solutions, or to essentially educate themselves in order to perform the work on their own. While the latter is still possible, it is not for everybody. Hiring a digital marketing agency can produce the results you need as well as the insights you didn’t know that you didn’t know. Both options will require a budget to obtain a list of tools and services needed to do the job, but it simply comes down to who will be utilizing them and how.

So, which method might serve more profitable, you ask? We will break down the idea of taking on DIY digital marketing as well as partnering with a digital marketing agency to fulfill your business’ needs.

What Are The Pros and Cons of DIY Digital Marketing VS an Agency?

A digital marketer’s goal, whether functioning in-house or hiring an external agency, aims to increase and maintain your brand’s exposure online. However, there are differences between the two routes to take when investing in a group that will bring you success. Not sure which one is best? We’ll outline them for you below:

DIY Digital Marketing

Choosing to do digital marketing yourself is an option that is receiving more and more advocacy. Society and software services alike are pushing the message that you can market your small business yourself just fine with simple tools and enough education. 

Pro: Digital marketing is becoming more individually accessible.

Con: There is something to say about how much higher your return on investment can be from hiring those that have more thoroughly developed capabilities, such as an agency.

At the foundation, you will need to develop a system to help you succeed. This will be most effective if you have accumulated a significant amount of experience with digital marketing, having learned your way around the ins and outs of major avenues like social media marketing, email marketing, and SEO, for example. 

Pro: Learning how to use new tools and programs can be taught through tutorials included with your software purchases. A basic understanding of digital marketing can also be formed from gathering information.

Con: Becoming truly experienced in how digital marketing works requires a different type of learning. As with many things in life, this happens over several years of practice and implementing what has been learned. 

Time is of the essence when it comes to digital marketing for your small business. Weighing the amount of time you have to invest in digital marketing efforts will tell a lot about the direction you need to take. Are you the single significant source of the production of your products and services, or do you have enough of a workforce you can depend on to keep up production?

Pro: The newest tools and technologies help automate plenty of digital marketing processes.

Con: Tools can only do so much on their own. It takes time to create campaigns, monitor their performance, and analyze their results to better optimize them for the next go round. 

Digital Marketing Agencies

The term “agency” might very well strike images of skyscrapers or corporate headquarter buildings in your mind. Of course, imagery like that might leave you anticipating high price tags. This can be inevitable for some crucial digital marketing services (like a brand new website that has been fully optimized for search engines), yet there are different variables to consider with every individual case.

Considering the variables by looking at the bigger picture is what agencies like us here at OCGnow do. We take a load of the digital marketing work off your hands to free up your time, focus, and energy for where you need it most. Then, years of successful strategies and expertise are seasoned all over your brand to make for a more zesty and appealing entree for your consumers to engage with.

With the aid of a digital marketing agency, you can more easily achieve the goal of significantly growing your business over the long term. Resting easy will be, well, easier, when you also know that potential customers that would normally never have learned about your product or service will see your name come up while they browse their interests or desires on the web.

In Summary

There are benefits to both roads to take. Your marketing style depends heavily on your business style, most specifically when it comes to how you run it. Here are some points to help you measure the viability of DIY methods versus partnering with a Digital Marketing Agency:

  • Introducing your brand to an agency will take time, however, you might gain a fresh outside perspective that could help improve your image.
  • Hiring individuals with specific skill sets makes piecing together a team that can hyperfocus in a specific area possible. When you need to increase strength in many areas, you will find well-rounded fortification from an agency.
  • Communication might prove to be more convenient and accessible, yet there are so many methods used to communicate in today’s age, this difference is most likely very negligible.
  • Building a suite of tools for yourself can prove expensive, and can increase in price for sizable teams. Agencies generally have access to a broader range of tools and can afford to charge you only a portion of their cost to use them on your behalf.
  • Management is a crucial factor in running an internal marketing team. Establishing processes and maintaining deadlines takes a lot of time to manage, whereas agencies have already achieved streamlined operations through which to run your digital marketing investments.

We Understand There Are A Lot of Options

This is why we approach every digital marketing investment from both big and small business with the same stages of action. No matter what variables are uncovered, or unique needs that require our adaptation, the plan for success will remain intact. With cookie cutter agency solutions, many entrepreneurs find that the services they have been prescribed are either bloated beyond what they need, or they simply don’t have the needed capacity to offer.

We at OCGnow work with you to create a pinpoint yet flexible strategy (and budget) to perform for your business’ individual needs. The steps are as follows:

  • Extract Knowledge

We draw from what we know about your industry, gain insights about your current place in the industry, and help form or clarify your Goals while identifying the Needs to achieve them.

  • Strategize & Plan

We identify your business Mission and perform the market research that reveals what will both help and hinder accomplishing it. Customer data is also gathered, since they always come first, of course.

  • Implement & Execute

Once getting to know your brand and way of business, we create the content that will help engage others to want to buy or learn more about your product or service. A campaign designed to gather the results you need is then executed.

  • Measure & Analyze

The campaign’s performance is tracked and metrics are gathered to make sure it continues to prove beneficial to you. We will test and compare other successful campaigns to current activity to help keep our eye, and your digital marketing investments, on the ball.

  • Optimize

Any disoriented systems or systems that are losing steam will be refined and continuously measured. This stage is for learning about what has clicked best from your brand to your audience and enhanced the delivery for maximum results.

This process is consistently maintained, reevaluated, and reinitiated to cycle through for more densely concentrated returns over time. Our goal is to take the budget your business has allocated for digital marketing and help every dollar make a meaningful impact on your business’s growth and the quality of your online presence.

Here is to the Success of Your Small Business!

How to obtain a digital marketing budget for your business can be another tricky topic to tackle. Once the funds are secured, however, going forward with all of the previous insight in mind can help bring about the best results. No matter if you are just starting to sprout, or have already achieved a pretty impressive amount of customers or clients, sensibly investing in your business’ digital real estate will no doubt pay off.

Consider the time you have already invested to find and read this article as well spent. Not only will your drive to succeed make all the difference, but the information you have gained will also help you reach the next level. We at OCGnow believe it is best to “Do It or Pursue It”. Don’t let social distancing or quarantine measures bog down your business!

For a solid partner to venture out with into the sea of options, give your Online Capital Group a call at (904) 600-3600, now! We will take any of your questions, comments, or concerns about how to best make an investment in your digital marketing by getting to know your business as if it were one of our own.

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