Small business owners must take heed that they needlessly continue to lag behind their larger competitors when it comes to their online presence. In fact, a Basekit study showed that ~91% of small business websites are not yet mobile optimized. In a world where more and more consumers are accessing the web via their mobile devices, it’s no wonder small businesses struggle to compete with their larger competitors. The customer journey hasn't changed but the marketing tools certainly have.
As I recently pointed out in RTOWN’s first webinar , today's customer is primarily accessing the Internet to find, educate and ultimately decide on where to spend their dollars.
For local business owners, the online marketing task must feel too daunting as the strategy seems to be: “keep head firmly planted in the sand.” Hoping the internet will go away is not a strategy. Lamenting the presence of and/or quietly shouting about your disdain for social media networks is not a strategy. Yes, these platforms will continue to change and evolve but they are not going anywhere and they will not be replaced anytime soon.
The good news is, it's not as complicated as you may think to get your business in the game. Today's customer journey is exactly the same as yesterday’s. It goes as follows:
The only thing that has changed is the places where buyers become aware, get educated and find social proof about your business.
As Mary Meeker has been pointing out for years, the decline in traditional advertising channels (namely radio, print and TV) is no longer arguable. Here's the relevant slide from this year's report showing the year over year change in "time spent" by your customers and "ad spend" by businesses like yours:
Simply put, this means that small businesses need to layer today's marketing tools on yesterday’s buyer journey as follows:
It is imperative that small business owners put their business in the places where their customers are spending time. This is online and accessed by mobile devices. With Facebook and Google Search as the undisputed leaders in the awareness section of the funnel, focusing your attention here is a great place to start. Think about what they value as platforms as your develop your strategy around it.
- Friends and family first
- A platform for all ideas
- Authentic communication
- You control your experience
- Constant iteration
- Mobile responsiveness
- Fresh content
- Length of time & relevance
- Focus on the user and all else will follow
- It’s best to do one thing really, really well
- You can make money without doing evil
Need proof on Facebook's method for a small business to grow? Another slide from the Mary Meeker report highlights it brilliantly.
In summary, a small business’ customer values the following from your Internet marketing:
- Emotions evoked
Small business owners should take action NOW! It’s back to school shopping season soon and then it’s Christmas before we know it. Your customers are going to come to you during these buying seasons based on what you do today.
If you have questions about how to start with your digital marketing, here’s a post we wrote to help you weigh the pros and cons of doing social media in house versus outsourcing. We hope this helps.
For my part, I do not like seeing entrepreneurs taking time to learn how to build websites nor do social media themselves. These can be outsourced for a fraction of the cost today and can bring benefits sooner to your business.
Like every successful entrepreneur before us, we must find a way to get things done well for the price we can afford based on our financial position and financial metrics of the time. If we need to learn anything that we don’t already know, it’s how each of our businesses earns money and generates cash. Digital marketing is a component part, yes, but the learning curve is steep and long and we have other things to be experts in first.
To your success!