Given the incredible amount of focus, time and effort required by small businesses, it can feel very lonely sometimes. The amount of individual time put into small businesses by their owners can result in feelings of seclusion that can keep you outside of the realities of what is going on around you. That goes for marketing, business and your personal life. But you need to know that you are not alone… In fact there are currently somewhere between 24 and 28 million privately held small businesses in the United States and many are trying to keep up with numerous marketing challenges, just like you. So now that you know you are not alone as a small business with challenges online, let’s detail the two most powerful marketing priorities that can impact your business.
Did you know that search is the number one referral source for web traffic? In fact almost 45% of all referral desktop traffic in 2015 is coming by way of search, followed by almost half that number coming from direct domain traffic. Well behind search and direct are email, display and social marketing referrals, making search still THE number one source for web traffic, by a long shot.
These “last-touch” numbers mean that at the point a consumer finally clicks to a specific website to take some kind of action, it is primarily coming from search. It is no surprise then that the percentage of traffic coming from search has been steadily increasing, albeit a slow rise year over year.
What does this mean for you?
For small and especially local businesses, it is becoming increasingly important to have a well defined and executed search strategy. This includes organic SEO (search engine optimization), PPC (pay per click) and even content marketing strategies that will work together to increase search visibility. Every small business is different and therefore requires custom strategies and expert execution if your business is going to achieve needed search exposure. Even more importantly, the hyper-local search environment has it’s own nuances that locally oriented companies must also navigate.
In short, a static older website just can’t compete on its own any longer. Professionally developed sites that are being tended to on a continual basis for search rank and content marketing are what makes the difference in SMB search marketing.
A study reported by eMarketer shows that mobile search marketing will surpass that of desktop this year, in keeping with the dramatic and consistent rise of smartphone searches by consumers. Another study ironically shows that only about 1/3 of small and medium-sized businesses have mobile-optimized websites and just 6% had invested in mobile for marketing.
If these numbers don’t open your eyes to the domination mobile is becoming then read it again. If you consider your smartphone use, and those around you, you will quickly understand why having a website that is designed specifically for a mobile device is so important. Additionally, consider how many times you have needed to search from your phone to find something while you are out and about. Your prospects are just like you and those around you. Mobile is a critical part of our lives today and your company’s online presence needs to reflect that!
What does this mean for you?
Today you simply must have a mobile strategy that includes an optimized website, regular site and content marketing updates as well as mobile marketing and search components. If your competitors are not optimizing for mobile (and clearly most are not), then there is a significant opportunity to gain marketing and revenue ground. If your competition IS utilizing mobile for their marketing, then you are already behind the eight ball and will have a substantial amount of work involved to compete in this new age. Mobile marketing for your small business is not something you can afford to ignore any longer.
What Should You Do?
With an ever-increasing sophistication to online marketing and an environment that has components and platforms that are continually changing, SMB’s really have three options if they act quickly.
- Nothing – You really can choose to do nothing different and keep your online presence exactly as it is currently. You just need to understand that the results you are getting at this point will continue to decline and ultimately collapse altogether.
- Education – Along with today’s digital marketing requirements of social media, email and blogging, you should include search and mobile marketing education into your full-time schedule. These minimum digital marketing components can no longer be done effectively as a beginner, you will definitely need to invest in some schooling initially, as well as plan for weekly reading to stay on top of what changed. It really happens that often.
- Professionals – Lastly, you should consider hiring a professional digital marketing firm to handle your online positioning across all of the major components. Yes, it is costly to do so, however when you consider how much your time is worth and the ramifications of doing nothing, this option begins to appear as a real solution for most.