4 Reasons Why Digital Marketing Is Important for Small Businesses

83% of SMBs (small businesses) believe digital marketing (DM) is crucial for their businesses. Can you beat that? A simple “No”. The modern world is increasingly driven by digital media. We are constantly hooked to the Internet for something or the other. Such a digitally-influenced space makes a digital presence more than compulsory for every business to reach the customers. Boosting sales figures is the prime goal for SMEs taking to DM today. Added to it, SMEs are also counting on online marketing for enhancing brand awareness, lead conversion, and improvement of website traffic.

The post below shares 4 significant benefits of digital marketing for small businesses.

Customers are online

80% of potential consumers take to online media for information. When we come across a new business or company, the immediate reflex is to search for digital marketing in the web world. Gone are the days when we used to visit a store physically or call it up to know about it. Thus, it’s extremely crucial for a small business to have a strong presence online and digital marketing is the tool for it. Put simply, if your potential customer can’t find you online, she will immediately go to your competitor.

To connect to the modern “smart” world

Mobile phones are no longer used for mere calling or texting. In fact, smartphones are one of the most important tools to browse the web world today. 91% American adults are in constant touch with their smartphones. When it comes to searching for a product or service, they will naturally prefer to make queries from their smartphone only. If your business is not present online, just imagine the huge chunk of potential leads you are going to lose!

More economical

Capital crisis is a major problem for most of the small businesses. And this is where digital marketing comes as a savior. Online marketing is any day cheaper compared to traditional marketing. In fact, some of the channels are even free of cost. For example, it costs you nothing to make your business page on social media and stay connected to your customers online.

Digital marketing also helps you to save money. There are many online marketing tools that are available for free like free website builder, free email marketing management tools and so on.

Nine Ways to Make Your Business Visible

My Fourth Law of Attracting Clients states that you must be visible.

Imagine that you woke up one morning and discovered you were completely invisible. And nobody could hear you either. If you sent an email, nobody would even see it.

Not such a great circumstance if you wanted to attract clients to your business!

But as absurd as this situation might seem, it’s pretty close to reality for many independent professionals. They are rarely seen or noticed by their prospective clients.

If your business is not growing and you need to attract more clients, the very first thing you need to do is gain more visibility.

In my business, my efforts to become visible followed this progression: networking – speaking – keep-in-touch marketing – publishing.

I joined my local Chamber of Commerce, professional groups, and networking clubs and I started to meet a lot of new people, many prospective clients.

Then I contacted organizations and started to give talks on marketing for professionals. I met even more people and added them to my mailing list.

I then mailed a newsletter every other month to those on this list, and I sent postcard mailings inviting people to various introductory marketing events.

In 1997, I transitioned to an email list that reached 50,000 people at its peak. These people received this eZine once a week and I also promoted various

products and services to those on the list. Twenty years later the eZine still goes out weekly.

Finally, I published my InfoGuru Marketing Manual that developed more credibility and led to more clients and participants in my marketing groups.

I may be a lot of things, but one is not being invisible!

The hard truth you have to face is that very few people wake up in the morning with your name on their lips. You cannot remain relatively invisible and expect your business to grow magically.

You need to remedy this with a “Visibility Plan.” Here are nine ways to do it:

1. Start slow, with patience. You can’t get in front of 50,000 people overnight. Get clear on who your ideal clients are and where you can connect with them.

2. Focus on as many in-person meetings as possible through professional organizations. Really get to know people and their needs.

3. Reach out to make connections with those you’ve met who could be possible clients or refer you to clients. Real connections are more powerful than virtual connections.

4. With permission, add people to your e-list and send some valuable information at least monthly. This kind of keep-in-touch marketing is essential to stay visible.

5. Set up your website to get opt-ins in return for a report or article. Make it a practice to give away lots of value and demonstrate your expertise.

6. Establish a presence on social media such as Facebook and Linked In. But don’t make this your primary visibility method, as it can be hard to stand out in this crowded arena.

7. Submit articles to online publications that your ideal clients visit and read. This is a great way to build credibility to a very targeted audience.

8. Seek out opportunities to give presentations – everything from speaking at professional groups to giving a TED talk. Nothing is more powerful than highlighting your expertise on stage.

9. Publish a book or e-book that establishes your expertise. A book is a powerful door-opener that provides a platform for the services and programs you offer.

I’ve done all of these things to one degree or another and I’ve also helped my clients do them as well, with great success.

These are all opportunities to communicate the value of your business and build credibility and trust over the long haul.

Marketing With Logic and Emotion

A couple days ago our refrigerator conked out.

A repairman showed up today to take a look. The verdict? We’d need a new freezer coil. The cost was close to $1,000 and would take almost a week to get the parts.

A new refrigerator was about $2K. And that’s the option I chose. It will arrive tomorrow.

Logically, I could have saved more than $1K if I’d chosen to get it fixed.

But emotionally, I didn’t want to be without a fridge for a week, perhaps longer. The discomfort of that was worth avoiding even if it meant paying $1,000 more.

All buying decisions are emotional, not logical.

When a client decides to work with you, they may justify it logically, but ultimately, they chose to get your help because of how they feel about you and their situation.

They will choose the option that feels the best to them.

In most cases, people buy your professional services because something isn’t working for them.

And that decision is always emotional.

And they also want things to work better for them or their companies.

And that decision is emotional as well.

Since marketing is 100% communication, your first job is to remind your prospective clients of the problems, issues and challenges they are experiencing.

And your second job is to inform them how much better things will be after you help them by using your professional services.

Nevertheless, this emotional content needs to be presented in a logical, understandable way.

That’s why the third law of attracting clients says you must balance logic and emotion in your marketing.

This is the art of marketing.

Learning how to communicate this way can be tricky, but I like to break it down into these 6 logical steps:

1. Write a list of all the problems, issues and challenges your prospective clients are facing.

2. Write a list of how things could be if their problems, issues and challenges were resolved (the mirror image of #1).

3. Prove to them that you have the experience and know-how to help them achieve #2.

4. Write a list of all the other benefits and advantage they’ll gain if they hire you to help them.

5. Explain what you’ll actually do and what it will look like (but not in too much detail).

6. Let them know what they need to do to get started with you (including your fee).

Now, of course, this can be written or spoken in an infinite number of ways, but these steps are the building blocks of marketing communication that turns prospective clients into paying clients.

What’s the Hardest Part of Marketing Yourself?

In my Fast Track Marketing System I divide marketing into seven very specific modules:

1. The Game of Marketing

2. The Mindset of Marketing

3. Marketing Messages (Your Value Proposition)

4. Marketing and Selling Conversations

5. Written Marketing Materials

6. Marketing Strategies

7. Marketing Action Plans

All of these have their particular challenges. But in my experience in working with thousands of Independent Professionals, it’s #7 that seems to be the hardest for most people.

After all, most of the other 6 modules are all about preparation to market yourself.

You learn the basics of the game of marketing, you work on your marketing mindset, you develop marketing messages, conversations, and written marketing materials, and ultimately choose the marketing strategies to get the word out.

And then the rubber hits the road. You have to actually get out there and connect with potential clients through networking, speaking, an eZine, social media, emails, etc.

For most, the bottom falls out of their marketing at this point. It simply goes nowhere, or more specifically it goes into the infamous “Random Zone” where things are done haphazardly and inconsistently.

If people have worked to develop the whole foundation of their marketing first, know who their target market is, have put together a web site and have practiced their marketing and selling conversations, they are going to have more success.

But even the well-prepared struggle with implementation.

Why is putting action plans into action so hard? Here are three of the most common ones. Are they familiar to you?

1. As soon as you start reaching out, you face possible rejection. What if your message, your talk, your emails fall on deaf ears? What if your potential clients could care less? What if they outright rejected your promotional efforts?

We conjure painful mental images in our mind that stop us cold.

For this one we need to work again on our mindset, on our thinking, realizing that if we reach out and people aren’t interested, that it’s not personal. They don’t hate us; either they are simply not good prospects right now or our message doesn’t have the impact it could.

So reach out to new prospects and keep improving your messages.

2. It takes way more time and effort than you ever thought it would. We think of marketing as a few promotional things we do here and there. This should be easy, we think. But it’s not.

Time to do a reality check. Any marketing activity takes time, effort and commitment to make it work. Marketing is a bit of an art and nothing works perfectly on the first draft.

You need to make detailed and realistic plans based on strategies that others have used successfully in the past. If you just make it up as you go along, your chances of success are very slim.

3. It’s never good enough and although you might even know what you’re doing, you put off your marketing launches until everything is perfect… but it never is.

What underlies this are beliefs about perfection, not being good enough and being judged by others. It’s not so much rejection you fear, but disapproval. What will others think of you?

Well, if your marketing campaign isn’t relevant to those you are targeting, it’s not a big deal. They’ll just ignore it. They won’t think much about it at all. But for the ones that are looking for what you offer, they’ll not only be interested, they’ll respond.

Your prospects are not looking for perfection from you; they’re looking for assistance and value. If you’ve got that, perfection is virtually irrelevant.

I’ve done a whole lot of marketing action plans that were rejected by most people, took me a long time to implement, and were far from perfect. And most of them have made me hundreds of thousands of dollars!

Marketing success is about know-how, value, commitment, and persistence. Everything else is just a distraction.

The Fearless Marketer Bottom Line: There could be a lot of other things stopping you from following through with your marketing plan as well. The question is, where are you going to focus – on your fears and worries about rejection, time, and perfection – or are you going to focus on the value and difference you make and give your marketing plans a real chance?

Fighting Truthiness and Hype in Marketing

Truthiness is the belief or assertion that a particular statement is true based on the intuition or perceptions of some individual or individuals, without regard to evidence, logic, intellectual examination, or facts.

Truthiness can range from ignorant assertions of falsehoods to deliberate duplicity or propaganda intended to sway opinions. – Wikipedia

We know that truthiness is rampant in politics.

But it’s also rampant in marketing.

Many of us think that marketing is mostly truthiness, not real truth in any way, shape or form.

We expect hype and exaggeration, if not downright deception, when it comes to promoting products and services.

Because of this, many of us become almost immune to the majority of marketing messages.

We assume that whatever someone says about their business, product, or service must be a form of truthiness, a veiled lie that hides the real facts.

So, as an independent professional wanting to attract more clients, you are faced with a real dilemma.

You are puzzled about how you can persuasively communicate the value of your professional services given that most prospective clients will doubt almost everything you say.

Because of this, I’ve noticed that many independent professionals shy away from marketing completely.

While others chose to go to the truthiness dark side, hoping an excess of hype will carry the day.

A recent email promotion I received contained a number of over-the-top marketing promises about an online marketing program:

“You will witness a revolutionary new technology being released that will allow you as a small business owner (regardless of skill level or experience level) to… generate as many new clients as you can possibly handle.”

Would you believe that? No, it’s truthiness and hype incarnate!

And anyone who does believe it is likely a naïve, gullible person looking for miracles with little work on their part.

So how can you eschew truthiness and still market your professional services effectively?

That, as they say, is the million-dollar question!

Well, the opposite of truthiness is honesty.

And yes, it is possible to communicate the value of your services truthfully, honestly, and with integrity.

But to do that you need to watch out for certain things that can become a slippery slope in your marketing.

Truthiness Insight #1

You must realize that what you feel about something is not the same as facts about something.

“I feel that my consulting services dramatically increase my clients’ productivity.”

OK, that’s nice, but by what objective measure are you determining the actual effectiveness of your professional services?

How about doing some measuring instead, such as before and after metrics?

When you have actual proof of what happens before and after, your credibility increases, as does your own confidence in your services.

The best marketing outlines real benefits and advantages based on facts, not hope.

Truthiness Insight #2

It’s not unusual to see client testimonials about how great it was to work with someone.

That’s nice and it’s certainly positive, but it’s not as powerful as reports of real changes.

“I lost 20 pounds in four months working with Ralph on both my diet and exercise program. He really supported me during the challenging times and helped me develop positive new habits that have stuck with me for the past year.”

This certainly trumps something like: “Ralph is a wonderful health coach who I trust with my life. You should definitely consider working with him.”

We often hear about the importance of getting testimonials. However, better to focus on getting solid results for your clients and then getting the testimonials will be easy.

Truthiness Insight #3

When you always speak in superlatives about your services, you again undermine your credibility.

Remember, people are skeptical and understandably so. So many promises made by marketers end in disappointment.

Better to actually talk about some of the drawbacks of your services than paint a completely unrealistic picture of “success without effort.”

I make it a point of telling all my prospective clients that if they engage me it will take a lot of work on their part to get out there and attract new clients.

They appreciate that I’m realistic and don’t sugarcoat things.

But believe me, in the past I’ve been less than realistic and it hasn’t turned out well for me!

We need to turn off the hype and get real. When we do, we tend to build more trust and confidence with our clients.

Truthiness Insight #4

We live in a sound-bite world.

Sound bites are important, as they are effective at getting attention and interest for our services.

But is there depth beyond the sound-bite? If not, you’re going to come across as shallow and insubstantial.

I once attended a public speaking course that stated: “You should know 30 times more than what you say in your presentation.”

That’s what real professionalism is about: deep knowledge, understanding, and experience in your field.

As they say, “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.”

This is the motto of the truthiness practitioner and ultimately won’t bode well for your long-term success.

Truthiness Insight #5

One of the hallmarks of truthiness and hype is ever-changing marketing messages.

You think, “Heck, if one message isn’t working, I’ll try another until something sticks.” But you pay little attention to the validity and authenticity of the message.

A message that is clever, catchy, or over-the-top may get attention, but undermine your professional image.

Your message needs to be interesting and believable.

It should make people think, not insult their intelligence.

Take some serious time to work on your marketing messages. Run them past your current clients and get their reaction.

Others will notice truthiness and hype before you do.

But you’ll know you’re on track if they say, “yes, that really hits the nail on the head; that’s the reason I decided to work with you.”

Start banishing truthiness and hype from your marketing.

Not only will you build trust with your clients, you’ll start to attract more of the right clients, clients who are looking for a professional who walks their talk.