Digital advertising plays major role in growth strategy
October 7, 2016
If there is one mistake I wish small business owners would avoid, it's the ill-conceived theory of using "whatever is leftover" for their advertising budget. Advertising is a critical component of every business, regardless of industry or business size. Without it, you are taking a wild risk of going unnoticed and that simply doesn't make business sense.
While print advertising has its place, digital advertising outperforms traditional options, because you have complete control of your content, your customers and your credibility. The best aspect of digital marketing is that you can start small or go deep; either way, the results are measurable and easy to improve upon, giving you the ability to tweak what doesn't work and compound what does.
Online marketing, specifically with digital advertising — think Facebook ads, Google Ad Words, banner ads, customer retargeting — gives you full control of the content, the audience and the desired effect. With the ability to contact your established customer base, expand it by targeting through demographics and customize exactly what content you share, you truly have full control of your advertising dollars.
Let’s say you want your message to hit on the day a product launches or an event is happening. With digital advertising, you can target prospective customers within your geographic area and those who match your ideal customer's demographics.
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Who is your ideal customer? Define them, understanding that the definition can and should be a bit fluid. If you can, collect your current customers’ data: gender, age, purchasing habits, location, etc. Then, consider common traits among your clientele as it pertains to your business. From that information, you can create a general description of your customer base. Remember, you may have a few target audiences.
Focus on getting your message to your ideal customers, and skip the rest. Matching a branded custom message to a targeted audience creates a far greater connection, thus improving your brand loyalty and, naturally, your brand awareness. Your already established clientele like your company for specific reasons; highlight those aspects and reach out to your customer through your Facebook page, email marketing and customer retargeting.
Often, advertising gives the perception that business is going well. The perception alone that you can afford advertising is often enough to sell and resell prospects and customers, alike, and makes it easier to get attention for your entire message.
Digital Advertising amplifies everything else you're doing. When you are using advertising to create awareness for your content, you automatically create more awareness for everything you are doing. Journalists find companies that advertise, referral sources remember companies that advertise, people fan and follow and friend from ads and employees can point to well-placed ads as a source of pride in the place they work.
Give your brand and your business the best opportunity to succeed in the digital age by creating a line item for digital advertising in your budget. It doesn't have to be much, but it does need to be there. Take control of your advertising, target your ideal customer and enhance your credibility with a small investment in digital advertising.
Sydney Schalit is the content manager at Steamboat Digital, a local digital advertising agency specializing in web design, video production, social media marketing strategy and beyond.