Importance of Online Marketing for Businesses
Digital marketing has become increasingly important in recent years, particularly for businesses that cater to the younger generations. But with the coronavirus outbreak having literally forced a large percentage of our population to stay-at-home (except for essential activities), even our older population has started to get used to interacting with businesses online.
Those businesses that had a strong online presence when the pandemic began were well-positioned to capitalize on the trend toward digital marketing. For example, restaurants that had online ordering systems, well-optimized search engine results, and email and SMS (text) marketing programs were able to quickly shift to curbside pickup and delivery models and generate enough revenue to keep going and even stay profitable during the shutdown.
As we get into the summer, the states are in the process of reopening. And although we all hope that this virus goes away and things can get back to normal ASAP, it is more likely to be a “new normal”, with several permanent changes in the way we do business. In the wake of COVID-19, most consumers have become more comfortable with online interactions, and even if you did not have a strong digital presence at the beginning of all this, you will need an effective web marketing program going forward in order to remain competitive.
How to Build Your Online Brand: Every industry is different and each business within that industry is unique, and as such, the way you build your digital brand will depend on the specific products and/or services you offer. Still, there are several common elements that go into creating a successful online marketing strategy:
- Attractiveness: Your website, social media profiles, and other digital properties should be well designed and aesthetically pleasing. Everything you create should be presented with class and be consistent with your mission, vision, and the image you want to project to your targeted consumers.
- Understanding: Speaking of targeted consumers, it is very important to know and understand the audience you are marketing to. Focus on the needs of your readers, identify their “pain points” and why you are uniquely positioned to help them, and use emotional triggers to show (rather than just tell) them how your products/services are there ideal solution. Case studies are great for accomplishing this.
- Visibility: Attractiveness and understanding are important, but if no one is seeing you online, they are not going to be all that effective. Your digital properties need to be optimized for high search engine rankings, but that is only half the battle. You should also have a content marketing program in which you consistently deliver content across several channels, which may include your blog, email list, YouTube channel, and social media profiles.
- Engagement: Speaking of social media, be ready to engage your audience on platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Answer their questions, respond positively to their comments, and ask them to share their own stories about what they have experienced dealing with your company. Social proof is one of the greatest sales tools in the digital marketing world, and the more you can get others to become your brand ambassadors, the more trust and credibility you will be able to establish with your target audience.
- Authenticity: In addition to social proof, one of the best ways to establish trust and credibility is by being authentic. In today’s world where people can hide behind an online profile, authenticity has become increasingly rare. And when a company is honest and straightforward about who they are and the strengths and even weaknesses they have, consumers are more drawn to want to do business with them.
Developing an effective online marketing strategy can seem overwhelming, and it is not something that happens overnight. The good news is that there are plenty of successful examples out there, and it is very easy to find these examples with a few clicks of the mouse. The time-consuming aspect of digital marketing is also a major issue for many businesses, and when this is the case, it makes sense to consider bringing in experienced professionals to help with this.
One last point that is important to make. Having a successful online brand will not only make your business more profitable while you own it, it will also make it much easier to sell it when it is time to move on. Building a strong web presence will set you apart from other businesses in your industry and attract more qualified buyers who want to get into a business that is already well-established in the digital marketplace.
Considering Selling Your Business? Work with a Reputable Business Broker: If you are at the point in which you want to sell your business, it is important to realize that most prospective buyers are searching online these days for a new business to get into. With this in mind, it makes sense to work with a business broker who has extensive experience, and the proven ability to leverage online listings to bring in the largest possible pool of qualified buyers. By partnering with a skilled and knowledgeable business broker, you will be optimally positioned to sell your business for top dollar.