As a small business owner, you may often find yourself faced with the challenge of accomplishing as much as possible within a very limited marketing budget. A focused marketing strategy is key in helping your business grow, but how do you know what specific marketing tools will be most effective for you and your business? If given the option of launching an inbound marketing plan versus a social media strategy in 2017, which would work better?
With 68% of Americans using smartphones, and 65% of them using social media, digital marketing is becoming an increasingly valuable tool for businesses. Digital marketing, which includes websites, inbound marketing, social media, and other digital media, is an extremely affordable way to spread the word about your small business. It differs from traditional marketing in that digital marketing involves the use of channels and methods that allow you to analyze your marketing campaigns and understand what is working and what isn’t – typically in real time by monitoring things like what is being viewed, how often and for how long, sales conversions, and what content works best to complete the entire process.
If you’re considering adding either a new website with an accompanying inbound marketing plan or instead a social media strategy to your marketing efforts, it’s important to determine which tool is better-suited for helping you achieve the goals of your business in the upcoming year. Between inbound marketing and social media, which would work the best for you? Let’s visit the benefits of each option to help you decide where your marketing dollars would be best spent.
A quality website and inbound marketing plan can help you accomplish the following for your small business:
Establish yourself as an authority.
More customers than ever are now researching products, services, and companies online before making a buying decision. In fact, 94% of buyers do some form of online research; and 84.3% of these same buyers check out your websites as part of their research. How well would your current website aid in their research? A quality website allows your prospects to learn more about your business and what you have to offer, and it does so in a way that encourages a completed transaction. How, you ask? Strategic layout, design, and content. Adding a company blog can further establish you as an authority in your industry, and keep your customers coming back to your website. And the more a prospect visits your website, the more top-of-mind you remain and the more loyal they are to not only their first purchase but also their continued relationship with your company.
Help your customers find you.
Many small businesses find themselves competing with much larger brands to reach the same target audience. While you may not be able to match the marketing budget of larger companies, a quality website that includes keywords from your strategic inbound marketing plan can help you level the playing field. Through search engine optimization (SEO), you can increase your business’s visibility for customers searching for specific key terms. Focusing on the right search terms can help you outmaneuver your competition and show up in key positions and top rankings within search results.
Attract quality leads.
Many businesses make the mistake of treating their website like a static billboard. They create a nice-looking website, fill it with information, and hope that the leads roll in. While this method has the potential to reach a wide audience, chances are that only a few of those people are truly looking for what they are selling. By targeting the right terms, SEO allows you to reach customers who want your products or services hence increasing your return-on-investment and also your closing rate.
It might seem as though big brands dominate social media, but it can also be a powerful, and affordable, tool for smaller businesses too. Here are just a few ways that a strategic social media presence can benefit businesses like your own:
Boost brand awareness.
More than 2 billion people worldwide have active social media accounts, so chances are your customers are indeed using social media. Being present on social media makes it easier for current and potential customers to connect with you.
Build brand loyalty.
Social media provides your small business with the opportunity to create a lasting relationship with your customers. By connecting with your customers, and providing them with informative and engaging content, you can improve your customer retention and build brand loyalty.
Learn about your audience.
While social media is a great way to spread the word about your business, it also provides businesses with the rare opportunity to learn more about their customers. Many social media platforms allow businesses to take an in-depth look at the individuals who are following your business’s profile, allowing you to tailor your messaging to better connect with your target audience. You can also monitor the conversations that happen on your social media channels, allowing you to see what people are saying about your brand at this very moment.
Reach your target audience.
It’s a common misconception that advertising on social media is expensive. Social media advertising is actually quite affordable, and businesses can now run ads on virtually any budget. Most social media platforms also offer powerful audience targeting features so you can reach a select audience and get the most out of your advertising dollars. Plus, these same platforms provide reporting tools that help you to see how effective your ads are working. If an ad isn’t performing as you had hoped, updates to an ad can often even be made mid-campaign.
All in all, there are clear and unique benefits for having a inbound marketing plan that drives qualified leads to your website, just as there are a great deal of benefits for executing a predetermined social media strategy. Overall, a combination of an inbound marketing plan with your website and a solid social media presence will produce the best results for your business. In fact, your business can leverage your social media accounts to drive targeted traffic to your website, reconnect with your website visitors who are browsing your social media, and more. With so many ways to focus your targeting on both web and social, you absolutely have the power to reach the right audience and grow your business online!
Are you still unsure what marketing strategy is right for your business? Contact the team at Triton Commerce today. We’ll get to know you and your business, and help you develop a plan that will help you reach your business goals in 2017.
Watch more about Where to Spend Your Marketing Budget from one of our founders in the video below: