Why Should Small And Medium Businesses Advertise Online?
If you have just set up shop, or are a business extraordinaire, I am sure you have set specific goals for the growth of your business. It might include increasing sales, improving brand recognition, attracting more traffic to the website or acquiring new leads.
Advertising online can help you realize all these goals, quickly and easily. The people who shop the most (ages 25 – 34) spend the most time online, as reported by Statista.
Now you know where the people are. Good news being that the internet also makes it easy for you to direct advertisements at those who would be most interested in your products – your target audience.
Here Are Some Solid Reasons to Advertise Online Now:
#1 It is Cheap and Fast
One of the most significant advantages that online advertising offers over traditional methods is its low operating cost. It is much more affordable to advertise online than in newspapers, on television or the radio.
Also, the whole process is less tedious. For instance, traditionally, you would send out mails to individual customers. Else, you go through the long process of getting a brochure designed, negotiating rates, and having them printed. Then you finally send them out (also ensuring the right person receives them!), or have them distributed.
With the advent of online marketing, the same information can be sent to your customers via a personalized email, without all the fuss. Another option would be to place it on social media platforms. This saves you time, money and a lot of trouble.
I am sure the thought of losing money on advertising has already crossed your mind. But you must remember that you lose money on advertising only when it does not increase brand awareness or create new leads. Otherwise, internet advertising is cheaper, and much more effective when done right.
This brings me to my next point.
#2 It is Effective
Advertising online is much more effective than old school marketing because traditional marketing tactics merely inform the audience about the product. In contrast, when you advertise online, there is much more scope for interaction with the audience.
Here are some stats that offer better perspective:
- As reported by the Marketing Insider Group, we are served more than 1700 ads per month!
- According to The Washington Post in 2018, a whopping 84% of Google’s revenue (32 billion dollars) was generated from their advertising business.
Numbers do not lie, and these stats show how effective online ads are. Another advantage of online advertising is that you can track the effectiveness of your ads. You could not do that with a newspaper, or the radio.
#3 It is Trackable
With the vast array of tools available (Google Analytics and HootSuite being the most popular ones), you can track all your ads, and gain insights. These tools will enable you to understand which of your ads are working. Also, how many people are seeing them and when and where they are viewing them.
All the details of your advertising campaign are illustrated in a graphic form. It is much easier than the traditional method of conducting a survey to gain insights.
And that is not all. Once you measure the effectiveness, you can also change the way things are to better your campaign and reap greater results.
#4 It is Tweakable
Being able to track your ads and taking note of their effectiveness (website comparison) gives you valuable insight. These insights can be used to understand the mindset and habits of your target audience.
If you realize that an ad is not working as it should, or think that advertising on some other website would do your ads more justice, you can make that adjustment in a couple of clicks.
There is no need to start over, and it will not break the system. You could optimize your ads instantly instead of waiting until the end of the month for sales reports to tell you if your newspaper ad worked.
It makes for a great feedback loop, and when used right, can ensure that none of your ad spends go to waste. The insights you gain can be used to target specific customers based on their needs.
#5 Demographic Targeting: Know Your Customer Profile
90% of the users that see your website do not necessarily get converted. Here lies the explanation. Usually, it is because your site is not as optimized to target a specific audience.
Creating a site or advertising online is a good marketing strategy. However, it is practically ineffective if it pops up for every user point-blank. Studies reveal that putting up custom-tailored content, and strategic advertising produces about eight times more trust and interest in the brand than it otherwise would. Focus your efforts on the online audience that will want to buy your products the most. Ad Analytics and forms on your website can help you see the details, like the average age of your customers and their interests.
The best part is that the internet never stops.
#6 It Provides Exposure, 24/7, Globally!
The internet enables you to market your products and services across the globe. Online advertising has a much more extensive range than traditional advertising. People take their time when it comes to buying a product. The internet does not shut down, so you have a 24-hour shop.
Another interesting fact is that 69% of people use different devices to look at the product before they finally decide to buy it. Using social media and advertising the right way provides you access to global audiences, from any country at any time, and all the while being convenient.
#7 It is Convenient (for You and the Customer)
Advertising Online is created to be plug-and-play. There is no need to put in extra effort to adjust for any time difference between you and the target audience, regardless of their geography.
Customers have to put in very little effort to place an order. They can order a product from the other side of the world right from the comfort of their home. They can also track its exact location, and get an estimate as to when it would arrive at their doorstep.
Online audiences can procure digital products (software or e-books) through a click of the mouse, which is a much more comfortable experience than, say, visiting the local market. The business also has a better chance of forming a bond with the customer.
#8 It makes for better sales relationships
Traditionally, a merchant might give their potential customers a business card, a pamphlet, or a brochure. However, these cards and pamphlets are often misplaced. A customer remembers the card only if they want to buy from the seller again. This method does not provide the business with an opportunity to persuade the customer or create a proper sales relationship.
On the contrary, a business can collect email addresses of prospective buyers and reach out to them at the right time to form a strong sales relationship. It is done by offering special discounts or coupons, along with a short but crisp email.
Having targeted advertisements across the web will help you drive traffic to your site or social media handles. It increases brand recognition and facilitates consistent interactions with customers. Furthermore, once you have started a campaign, it never stops.
#9 It never erodes
Marketing online is a long-term process. Whether you have advertisements directing traffic to your website, a blog, or a portfolio, once you get started, the marketing campaign has a lasting effect. No wonder some businesses reap the benefits of a solid campaign for years on end.
Every online marketing technique has a long-term effect that continues to improve your site’s traffic. Also, it needs to be tweaked once in a while and enables you to multitask.
Once the campaign is online, and the ads are live, you can go about doing other things like setting up another business. Finally, advertising online offers your business the edge it lacks.
#10 It Gives Your Business a much-needed Edge
Let’s face it – your competitors are doing it already. They are utilizing online tools efficiently to engage with their target market, gain market share, and sell products that you can sell equally well, if not better.
In the age of the internet, businesses must have an online presence. Otherwise, it is next to impossible to achieve large scale sales. Not advertising online, but expecting a lot of exposure and sales is like hoping to win a lottery without buying a ticket. In times like these, a business needs to be seen by the customer, and not the other way around.
With intense competition in every facet of business, it is difficult for a customer to spot a company that is scurrying along the sidelines. Well-planned advertising campaigns can help bring it to the forefront. Remarketing should be the answer.
For instance, an already well-known business that sells consumables can retarget their advertising to customers that have bought their products before. It results in another sale, and the effect is exponential over time. However, knowing when to remarket is essential as it can backfire easily.
To help you get started, here is a list of ways to reap the benefits of online advertising free of cost.
Free Ways to Advertise Online:
- Register your business at Google My Business
- List the business at Yelp
- Utilize social media like Instagram to build a presence
- Livestream on Twitch, or start a YouTube channel talking about your field
- Promote your business with your email signature
- Send email newsletters
- Do a product giveaway or conduct a contest
An astounding 90% of Business-to-Customer marketers say that utilizing social media is the most effective marketing tactic. Embracing social media and putting yourself out there is the best way to create momentum online.
Here are a few premium ways of advertising work better than the free alternatives.
Pocket-friendly Ways to Advertise Online:
CPMs: CPM means for Cost Per Thousand Impressions (‘M’ is the Roman Numeral 1000). An impression is a measure of the number of times your ad has been displayed on a screen (regardless of whether it was clicked or otherwise). CPMs are inexpensive. However, unless they lead to sales, you risk overspending.
PPCs: PPC stands for Pay Per Click. You pay for them only if someone clicks on them, regardless of eventual sales.
CPAs: These are less common. CPA stands for Cost Per Acquisition. You pay for each lead generated.
Social Media Ads: Websites like Facebook offer features like “Audience Insights” that make it easy for marketers to hone in on their target audience. This super effective strategy works well, and 57% of millennials agree that ads on social media are more relevant than before.
Contrary to popular belief, building a reputation from online advertising is not a long and painful process. However, outstanding results require patience and consistency.
With all the technicalities spelt out, it is probably easier for you to see why new-age advertising is so effective. Irrespective of the size of your business, you should start investing in online advertising and benefit from the numerous advantages we discussed above.