Today, most such business owners have at least made the concession of attaining a website, but what about optimizing it for search engines? Designing it in line with a brand? Offering an e-commerce platform for online purchases? Engaging with customers on social media?
Is online marketing really necessary for today’s traditional small businesses, or is it possible to survive without an online strategy?
Here are a few points about why online marketing could be considered a “necessity.”
Consumer Expectations Have Changed
Almost everyone has access to and regularly uses the Internet. Most of us, when we hear of a business for the first time, immediately look for a website or social media profile where we can learn more. We don’t stop in for a visit. We don’t look you up in a phone book. We don’t consult a rolodex. People expect you to have a website, and if you don’t, they may doubt your legitimacy or discard you as a potential option altogether. There’s a “bare minimum” standard that consumers expect to see of businesses online, so strive to achieve at least that.
Just because you’ve been reluctant to adopt an online marketing strategy doesn’t mean your competitors haven’t. They could be conquering the digital landscape, poaching your potential customers and offering a better first impression to anyone searching for businesses like yours in your area. To make matters worse, every day they continue to follow these strategies is another day ahead of you they’ll be.
Rate of Change
Finally, let’s consider the rate of change in technology accessibility, reliance on online stores and services, and of course, consumer behaviors. Big breakthroughs in technology, such as high-speed Internet and mobile devices, make us more dependent on the Internet and less dependent on physical structures every day. This means online marketing becomes more important on a consistent scale as time passes. If you don’t think online marketing is important for your business today, there’s a chance you’re right—but think about next year. This is a long-term investment.
All in all, it may be unfair to say that online marketing is truly “necessary” for every business. However, if you aren’t engaging in any kind of online marketing campaign, you’re definitely sabotaging your business’s potential and possibly setting yourself up for future collapse. Your business might be getting by just fine without a website or any online outreach, but that doesn’t mean you’re better off that way. Challenge your assumptions and change with the times, no matter what industry you’re in—you’ll thank yourself for it later.
An excerpt from an article originally published by Jayson DeMers, Contributor, Forbes
Photo by Igor Miske. unsplash