Five “Rs to Remember” about Online Marketing for Small Business

Many small business owners and senior decision-makers worry that online marketing takes too much time and money — without a tangible return on investment. Do you think the founders of Amazon, eBay, Etsy and many other internet success stories felt that way during their early formative years?

5 Rs to RememberThese days, if businesses aren’t getting and retaining a large percentage of new prospects through online methods (aka digital marketing), then they are doing it wrong. Or, they are not doing enough of the right type of online activities.

5 Rs to Remember why digital marketing is right for your business


    • Reality. A huge percentage of your potential prospects are not using conventional media sources, and spending much more time in the digital world. Especially within the younger demographic groups and prime spending ages of 21-35, people are now getting their information from other sources beyond TV, radio and newspaper. Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, Amazon and many other online venues are becoming increasingly more utilized as primary sources of information for people who are ready to buy.

Takeaway: If a business doesn’t consistently place its marketing messages where people are regularly and actively searching online for information, it’s a logical conclusion those people will NOT buy from that business.

  • Relevance. The landscape for marketing messages is much more blurred and intertwined now, which unfortunately also raises the overall level of marketing noise. A 2014 study by Media Dynamics found that adults are exposed to an average of 360 advertising messages every day in five conventional media sources (TV, radio, Internet, newspapers and magazines). Of those messages, adults only note about 150-155 on average, and even less of those ads convey an impact strong enough to be recalled and to make a sale. With all that excess advertising noise, people quickly tune out information they feel doesn’t directly relate to their specific needs.

Takeaway: In a 2016 report, Wordstream found that 72% of consumers who did a local Internet search then visited a store within five miles. That means a local business needs to show up in a buyer’s search results — or social media stream — by connecting with key terms and messaging images that are relevant to those buyers who are searching online. If not, then that local business often never becomes an option to that prospect. How Do I Start

  • Referrals. In a huge Nielsen 2012 study of 28,000 Internet respondents in 56 countries, 92% of consumers said they trust earned media — such as recommendations from friends and family– above all other forms of advertising. It’s highly likely in the five years that have passed since the study was released, that 92 percent statistic has inched even closer to 100 percent.

Takeaway: Obviously, word of mouth is and always will be a huge influencer of purchasing behavior — but now it’s conveyed and fueled electronically more than face-to-face. People don’t just chat with neighbors over the fence anymore. Social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Pinterest are now the online enablers of word of mouth referrals and recommendations at a rapid-fire pace.

  • Remarketing (also called re-targeting). Local consumers rarely buy something on their first exposure to a product or service, so businesses have a short window of opportunity to capture a prospect’s attention. Unlike what Kevin Costner said about his Field of Dreams, a business can’t just build a website and customers will come. Businesses have to engage prospects to stay on their websites and social media sites longer, and motivate them to come back more often.

Takeaway: According to Kissmetrics, 62% of new visitors to a website leave after their first click. That’s called the “bounce rate.” People are electronically “window-shopping”– so remarketing tactics help to remind prospects about your business. Ads and links about your website or your social media presence are displayed to those window-shoppers when they visit other, un-related websites. The goal is to remind those prospects to come back to your website, contact your business, and then make a purchase decision from you.

  • Responsive. According to a 2015 study by Google and Ipsos, 50% of smartphone users have discovered a new company or product when conducting a search on their smartphones. Trends show that people now do more local searches on mobile devices (i.e.smartphones or tablets) rather than desktops or laptops. In internet jargon, a responsive website is a mobile-friendly website. Mobile device users get annoyed when they have to constantly zoom, swipe and pinch the little mobile screen just to read the website. Instead, they will just go to a different website (i.e. a competitor’s) that is mobile-friendly.

mobile phoneTakeaway: It’s critical to have a business website that is responsive and thus mobile-friendly, in order to increase a business’s chances of showing up Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs) when prospects do a search.

Don’t get stuck doing nothing

Admittedly, many business owners and managers suffer from “analysis paralysis” when it comes to digital marketing. It is easy to become overwhelmed by all the additional time, effort and information related to the myriad of digital marketing options that are available. That’s where a digital marketing agency can help.

If there was one more R to remember about digital marketing, it is ROI. For local businesses that want to survive and grow in today’s marketplace, digital marketing is a must not a maybe.

Mike OdnealMike Odneal is a Digital Media Consultant with Flypaper Digital Marketing, a multi-state regional agency with 8 offices in 4 states. He’s based in Jefferson City, Missouri.