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Digital Reach: The Untapped Potential Small Businesses Need To Harness

Digital Reach: The Untapped Potential Small Businesses Need To Harness

Currently, 22% of the world’s population is on Facebook

India will cross 650 million internet users by the year 2020

Going against the digital tide can actually harm small businesses of today

The emergence of new digital formats of reaching out to the customer has led to businesses amplifying their digital reach. The online market place is lucrative and provides an active channel for engagement and sales. It is set to be the dominant arm of an organisation’s marketing efforts.

This growth in digital marketing is aided by increasing consumer presence online. There is a large Indian demographic who is continuously available online to buy, share reviews and get information about products and services. And the organisations must do everything they can to capture their mind space.

The Relevance Of Digital Reach For Businesses

Currently, 22% of the world’s population is on Facebook. 76% of those users look for interesting content there. 66% of those users are accessing Facebook to learn about new products and services.

According to Rajan Anandan, VP Southeast Asia and India – Google India, India will cross 650 million internet users by the year 2020. This is just an example of the power of the digital medium. But it does make a strong case for businesses to have a strong online presence and improve their digital reach.

As customers move online, companies are also building their digital marketing capabilities to influence customer perceptions or increase sales. For big organizations, digital marketing has become an integral part of the business.

Taking the example of social media in specific, in 2018 an average global internet user had at least 7 social media accounts. This means that social media is a strong means of customer care today. It is an important part of daily lives. Organizations push branded content through these portals to influence their brand perception and turn a lead into a sale.

Similarly, other digital tools such as search engine marketing, email marketing, influencer marketing etc are providing organizations with ways to target various customer demographics effectively. It also helps a great deal that online metrics are easily measurable and verifiable.

Unlike traditional marketing tools, online marketing campaigns measure every little detail. The marketer knows how many people were touched by a campaign, how many of them clicked on a link or visited a website, what information did they seek and how many actually bought the product. The list of metrics that digital analytics provides to a marketer, is endless.

Tapping The Potential Of Digital Reach For Small Businesses

The digital channels roll out these benefits to all businesses – big or small. While large businesses have long begun on their digital journey, the small businesses need to realise the untapped potential that a wide digital reach promises them.

With the evolution of modern technology, small businesses have to keep up the scale of marketing and business operations in line with that of larger firms. Integrated digital marketing strategies are driving business results for large organizations. Going against the digital tide can actually harm small businesses of today.

Therefore, many small businesses are changing their business format from a brick-and-mortar establishment to an online one or creating strong digital marketing strategies to increase their digital reach. There are several reasons why all small businesses need to create a formidable digital presence.

Let’s take a look at some of them –

Going digital provides a level playing field

The digital medium is a level playing field for small and large businesses. Digital marketing provides smaller businesses with the tools and techniques to survive competition and deliver business growth. Small businesses cannot compete with large conglomerates due to their money power.

This was all very evident with the example of mom and pop stores shutting down when huge companies like Walmart came in. But digital marketing provides hope in this respect. With smart campaigns, smaller businesses can use search engines, social media and other digital channels to create stellar marketing campaigns that capture customer interest.

Digital marketing is value for money

Digital marketing allows businesses to compete at a much smaller advertising budget. With effective management of resources, marketers can target their desired customer group at a fraction of a price in comparison to traditional methods like TV, outdoor or print.

A 2015 study claimed that 52% of consumers were influenced by Facebook in making online and offline purchases. In fact, Facebook has a hyper-targeted ‘Customer Audiences’ feature that allows advertising so sharply that it has resulted in a drop in the marketers’ customer acquisition cost by 73%.

When it comes to brand awareness, the average CPM (cost per thousand impressions) for Facebook ads is $7.29 compared to $35 for television commercials. This is a staggering drop and reflected the cost-effectiveness of digital marketing. In simple terms, it means that for the same amount of money, a company can reach far more customers.

Digital Reach allows reaching the audience where they are

Social media is a part of people’s lives now. This is where they share their preferences, hear other’s opinions, read branded content and even purchase products. Online marketing methods provide timely access to customers when they are actively interested in the brand.

A person searching online for a hair cream will be shown a hair cream brand’s advertisement thanks to search engine marketing. Such timely advertising is far more effective than running full-page ads in print publications.

Digital reach helps in targeting the right audience

Digital reach does not only provide access to a large and high potential customer base, but it also allows businesses to personalise the content or marketing method to reach the customer. Many people prefer that marketers use emails to connect with them. That way if they do not like something, they can unsubscribe. The control lies with them and customers value it.

However, if they like the content then they stay on the company’s email list and continue buying from them. This can lead to lifetime customers. Digital tools allow segmenting, targeting, personalisation and automation.

All these elements put together, enable small businesses to not only survive but thrive in a cut-throat competitive environment where big brands rule. Owing to a strong digital reach, small companies can access customer data, segment them and connect with them in a way that customers cherish.

Of course, digital channels need to be backed by a strategy that complements the power of the digital medium. This isn’t instantaneous and brands need to learn to recognise their online customers and respect them.

With advanced analytics and automation in their hands, small companies can go digital with amazing results.

Note: The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views held by Inc42, its creators or employees. Inc42 is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by guest bloggers.