When you’re just getting started in the business world, your budget and resources are tight. You will be juggling between what you believe to be more important to your business, and dismiss other areas that may seem an unnecessary spend. 

One key area you will look at is marketing your product or service in the hopes to improve engagement with your target audience. Many will make the mistake of thinking that their customers will come naturally, or that you can simply put up a website and traffic will be instant.

Did you know that 20% of small businesses fail in the first year, and 30% fail in their second year? One of the main reasons businesses fail is due to not understanding their marketplace and where they fit in.

Marketing plays a key role in the success of your business, but there’s more to it than understanding your value and unique selling point (USP). Businesses need to be able to adapt to customer demands, competitors, technology changes, and the economy.

What is digital marketing?

Digital marketing utilises internet and online technologies to promote your products and services. The most common methods used within digital marketing are social media, search engine optimisation (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), content marketing and email marketing.

Although it may seem like a specific marketing approach, there is actually more to it than meets the eye. 

Here’s why digital marketing is important to your business

Online visibility

Long gone are the days of flicking through Yellow Pages to find businesses nearby. Everything is found within a matter of seconds through a quick search on engines such as Google. They have the ability to bring up local businesses in your area – but you’ll only be found if you’re online.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to put your business in front of new customers, as they will contribute to a great deal of your sales and business growth.

Brand awareness

Brand awareness represents the familiarisation and recognition of your brand. A well- established brand can be recognised from something as simple as their colour scheme, logo or company slogan. For example, ‘I’m Lovin’ It’ would be instantly attached to the McDonald’s franchise. 

Establishing your brand online and staying consistent allows you to build awareness. . You’ll be the first in a consumer’s mind when they are looking for a product or service that you offer.

Gain visitors to your website

Websites aren’t a one-off job. Building visitors through SEO takes time, which is where digital marketing comes into play. 

When creating and maintaining your website, you need to think about your consumer journey, keywords and accessibility. Did you know that your website should be accessible to as many people as possible? This includes those who have impaired vision and hearing and learning disabilities. 

There’s more to it than just adding some text and images to a website and calling it a day. Generally speaking websites can see results within 4 to 6 months, but you need to be updating it frequently through refreshed content and blogs. It can be a time-consuming job, which is why many businesses will hire someone to focus on SEO and website management as a stand alone role.

Increase your sales

More visibility of your products and services will increase your chances of sales. Getting your marketing strategy right and planning a well-thought out campaign will transition your audience into paying customers.

A successful campaign comes with a lot of research, planning, adjusting and experimenting. Once you get it right, you will start to see positive results.

Budget planning

Digital marketing provides better opportunities of budget planning than traditional marketing might. With traditional marketing such as direct mail, print advertising or TV adverts, you can’t measure the results as accurately as you can with digital methods such as social media marketing.

Online methods provide great insight through their available analytics tools. You can measure how much your spending, how effective a campaign is, and your return on investment. This will aid you when you’re planning your budget and cut costs by dropping the approaches that don’t work as well as others.

Better Return on Investment (ROI)

This brings us on to our next point. With methods such as social media and search engine marketing (SEM), you are able to define your targeting to reach the right people. With traditional methods, you aren’t always able to decide who you reach as your audience will be much broader.

Reaching the right people means you are putting yourself in front of the people that are interested in your products/services. This leads to a better conversion rate and return on investment.

Continuous Improvement

With the detailed analytics tools that we have available, we can see exactly what results campaigns are producing. Many platforms also have the ability for A/B testing. This is the process of comparing two different versions of a marketing asset and measuring the difference in performance. We are able to analyse the results and continuously improve on the areas that aren’t as effective.

Why hire a digital marketer?

A digital marketer is capable of a broad range of skills and will be responsible for using digital channels to generate leads and build brand awareness. Digital marketing can come with a heavy workload. If you find that you don’t have the time to manage your website or social media pages, it’s a good idea to consider adding a digital marketer to your team.

Digital Marketing Apprentice

As a small business, you may not have the budget to hire an experienced digital marketer. Another solution would be to hire an apprentice that can be trained as a digital marketer. 

The B2W Group deliver the Level 3 Digital Marketer apprenticeship in the Greater Manchester and South Yorkshire areas and learners will attend online sessions to gain more insight in the Principles of Marketing, Digital Marketing Business Principles and Site Development Associate.

Our learners undergo an intensive three-week Introduction to Digital Technologies qualification, meaning they will start their role ready to apply their knowledge of digital marketing.

Find out more about hiring a digital marketing apprentice here.