Most business owners, even smaller, local businesses, realize the crucial need for online or digital marketing as a key part of their strategy. The problem often lies in how much of their marketing budget they have to allocate to this ever-growing component. Some local business owners mistakenly think either that: A) they can’t afford it in their budget, or B) it isn’t that important yet. We will wait until later. In this post, I am going to address the first group because, honestly, the 2nd group may not learn until it is too late and their competitors have driven them out of business.
A very important digital marketing reality is that it doesn’t have to be incredibly expensive to grow your business online. Another is that just because a business owner may have a Facebook page or Twitter account of their own, doesn’t make them very good at marketing. In fact, some businesses seem to think that simply creating a Facebook page or YouTube channel will automatically drive hundreds of new fans to their business. You must entice them to visit your website, social media channel, etc. and then, more importantly you must engage them to keep them coming back and, ultimately buying something. Remember that a standard marketing adage is that people buy from someone that they “know, like, and trust”. Unless you do a good job at building that relationship (whether digitally or in person), the most beautiful website or social media channel will be simply window dressing.
So, back to the original question. Do you think it is a good idea to be your own marketing expert? Given the risks associated with doing it wrong, it would seem that this question answers itself. As for the expense, one consideration to evaluate is how much are you budgeting for your current marketing (direct mail, fliers, ads, etc.) and just how much bang are you getting for that buck? Often, businesses naive to digital marketing will perceive a campaign such as this to be an additional expense. It doesn’t have to be. How about re-allocating some of your current budget toward the digital side? The beauty of digital marketing is that it is quite easy to measure and track your return on investment or ROI, which is the key to knowing if your marketing is working. Not only are you driving more visits and “clicks” to you website or Facebook page but are you driving more customers to your business?
Our suggestions would be to shop around and find a reputable marketing firm who not only specializes in digital campaigns but also is small enough to specialize in local businesses or at least in your particular business niche. You don’t want to get lost by becoming a tiny fish in their enormous ocean. Second, remember that it doesn’t have to break the marketing bank to produce results. Give it a try before your competitors make you wish that you had.