There are a number of reasons why a business might not want to go online. Perhaps they feel like they are just starting out and do not have the resources or time to put into a platform they feel is “extra” or “superfluous” but digital marketing is anything but. There are businesses that overlook going digital because they simply aren’t interested in going international and while that could be the first step and part of the recipe for international success, local businesses can also benefit from being online.
Having accessible information for consumers to look up will increase confidence in your business and having good reviews will help boost sales. It’s the 21st century, and more than 40% of the world’s population owns a smartphone or has access to the internet. Therefore, it follows that being online gives you better visibility. Having only a shopfront and having physical banners can only provide exposure in the local community, but it is also limited to those who live in your area or those whose commute includes your store in their route. You will be competing with other similar stores in that area and more often than not, shoppers or consumers would choose to go to a store that has positive online reviews or are recommended by their friends.
Webree Ventures, a digital marketing agency that has helped its clients merge real-life culture with their online businesses noted that the business landscape has shifted immensely from how it used to be conducted. If a potential customer is interested in your business, they will expect to find your website or at least a social identity. If a digital presence is not available, the client will move on to another option which is online, because today’s consumer mindset is that if it’s online, it’s legitimate. If it’s not, then the business must be illegitimate or irrelevant. In this day and age, it’s becoming increasingly rare for someone to patronize a shop without any prior knowledge of what it offers because a quick Google search should show them what the shop is about and if no information is found, they lose interest immediately. With no social proof in existence, why should they risk delving into the unknown, when there are so many other choices for them to explore?
Yash Chaudhary, head of Webree Ventures, goes on to illustrate the fact that your competitors are online, even if you aren’t. When potential clients are unable to find out more about you, they will move on to your competitors who have information readily available and you will lose your sales to them just by not being online. You can also utilize your competitor’s digital presence to grow your own. Study their strategies and branding methods, apply what works to your own social media and online presence while ditching those that have not brought your competitors any successes. You can even look to the role models of the industry and imitate what they are doing. For instance, a makeup brand that shares the same values as an established brand should strive to grab their audience’s attention. By having the same aesthetics and similar packaging, they will put their brand on the same level as their rival. If they are able to offer more competitive pricing, you’ll be sure to see the numbers rolling in. Furthermore, you can also learn how your competitor engages with their audiences. Most commonly, we see established companies and brands host giveaways or ask questions that interest their consumers.
Consumerism is no longer how it used to be as consumers have become increasingly aware about their consumption. They also have the means to do research on a brand and if it does not fit in with their lifestyle choices – whether vegan, organic, cruelty-free, etc – they will move on to one that does. For instance, Millennials are spearheading the biggest eco-movement the world has ever seen and are very much interested in how sustainable a company is. Consumers want to purchase and employ the services of a company that falls in line with their ethos and if you want your company to stay relevant, you have to make sure you know what their ethos is and cater to it. Whether it’s how environmental friendly they are, from biodegradable packaging down to whether their manufacturing process is sustainable, to how authentic their company is. Millennials are also more likely to support a company that gives back to the community in some way, therefore being a “real” and “authentic” business, rather than one that is fully commercialized.
When you know your target audience’s desires, you will be able to better cater your business to them and that is where digital marketing comes in. While your potential consumers are able to find you, the opposite is also true and you will be able to find who your consumers are and what they stand for. When you know what they want, you can better provide for them, thereby creating a symbiotic relationship with digital marketing being the platform that binds the two: consumer and seller.