Entrepreneurship has evolved.
There used to be a time where you could open up a local business in town and turn a hefty profit with hard work, dedication, and financial management skills.
Today, your blood, sweat, and tears are not enough to keep your business afloat.
You need to get familiar with the concepts of digital marketing if you want to survive.
This holds true for all businesses across every industry.
Some small businesses may still have success with some traditional marketing efforts.
I’m not saying you should completely stop your other marketing tactics.
But you absolutely need to have a digital presence and learn how to be a marketer in that space.
You need to figure out which platforms your customers are using to consume information.
If you’re trying to capture a younger audience through television commercials, it’s unlikely that you’ll succeed based on these numbers.
Millennials are spending more time on their mobile devices than the other generations combined.
What does this mean for you as an entrepreneur?
You need to adapt.
TV, radio, and newspaper advertisements alone simply won’t cut it anymore.
The Internet is too accessible for consumers. Other mediums can’t compete.
Everyone likes to get a good deal, so customers conduct research before they make a purchase.
If your customers can’t find you, your products, or your services online while they are conducting research, they will find someone else.
It’s that simple.
Learning how to use digital marketing tactics can help entrepreneurs do several things.
- Connect with customers online
- Reach mobile consumers
- Increase ROI
- Track consumer interactions
- Get higher conversions
I’ll explain why you need to be savvy in digital marketing in order for your business to survive.
Gain an advantage over your competitors
Let’s take a look at two major scenarios involving your competition.
- Your competitors are using digital marketing.
- Your competitors are not using digital marketing.
Simple enough, right?
If your competitors are proficient with digital marketing and you’re not, that’s a big problem for you and your company.
You’re already behind.
Use competitor analysis tools to your advantage.
The last place you want to be is falling behind your competition. It’s a recipe for disaster, and your company will struggle to survive.
Let’s say that your competition is not using digital marketing.
But it’s only a matter of time before they start.
While the online presence of small businesses is low, you’re still competing with companies outside of your local area.
If you’re in the retail industry, it’s likely that your customers can find whatever you sell through giant e-commerce stores like Amazon.
So, just because your direct competitor in town isn’t utilizing digital marketing, it doesn’t mean you’re in the clear.
This holds true for entrepreneurs who own small businesses in the service industry, as well.
Your customers can find the service that you offer from larger competitors through websites such as Angie’s List.
30% of small business owners say that they are concerned with keeping up with advancements in technology.
While it’s true that websites are not necessarily inexpensive, they are still an absolute necessity for entrepreneurs.
If you have a tight budget, you can still set up a sufficient website for your business.
Over time, you can reinvest into the website to make it faster and to increase the overall performance.
But for now, you need to start somewhere.
Ultimately, your website will serve as the nucleus for your digital marketing campaigns.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to creating an inexpensive website with WordPress.
Step #1: Register a domain name and get web hosting
Bluehost is a great option for entrepreneurs who are price-sensitive.
Compared to other platforms, you can register your domain name and get web hosting services at a pretty good price.
Use your company’s name as the domain name.
You don’t want to confuse your customers by trying to get too creative or fancy.
Step #2: Select a website platform.
I would recommend WordPress if it’s your first time building a website.
It’s easy to use, and you don’t need to be a technology wizard to navigate through their platform.
You don’t have to learn coding skills in order to build a website on WordPress.
It’s just a simple way for you to edit your website.
Lots of developers use WordPress, so if you are struggling with something, it’s easy to find help online.
Step #3: Choose a plan.
If you’re getting your web hosting services and domain name from another website, like Bluehost, you can use WordPress for free to design your website.
With that said, I would not recommend the free option.
Go with their business plan.
You can afford to spend roughly $300 each year for extra features like unlimited storage space, premium themes, plugins, and Google analytics integration.
Step #4: Design your website.
Navigate to your “Dashboard” menu on WordPress to access all of the tools you need to design a custom website for your business.
This is the central location and essentially the main homepage once you log in to your account.
Step #5: Choose a theme.
Select “Appearance” from the left sidebar to navigate to the “Themes” menu.
From here, you can decide how you want your website to look.
The preset themes are a great starting point.
It’s easier to work within a theme as opposed to building and customizing your website from scratch.
Step #6: Install your WordPress site to the web host.
In our first step, we used Bluehost to register our domain name and web hosting, so we’ll continue using their platform for this example.
Go back to Bluehost and navigate to the control panel.
From here, you’ll see “Install WordPress” under the website menu.
Step #7: Install new scripts.
Once you click “Install WordPress” in step #6, you’ll get redirected to this page from Mojo Marketplace.
Simply click the “Install New Scripts” button to continue.
Step #8: Enter your domain information.
Just type your domain name in the box.
Step #9: Log in with your WordPress credentials.
Next, the Mojo Marketplace platform requires you to enter your WordPress administrative information.
You need to add four credentials to continue.
- URL of your website
- URL of your website’s admin login
- WordPress username
- WordPress password
That’s it – you’re done.
Once you complete these nine steps, your WordPress website is installed on your Bluehost web hosting account.
Now that your website is up and running, you can have a significant advantage over your competitors that don’t have a website.
Your new website is an imperative component of your digital marketing efforts.
When you advertise through digital platforms, you need to give your customers and prospective customers some form of a call to action.
It’s a great opportunity for you to get customers to your website.
You can generate new leads and increase conversions, which will ultimately add revenue to your bottom line.
We discussed earlier that small business owners and entrepreneurs are worried that they can’t keep up with digital trends.
Don’t let yourself fall into that group.
As an entrepreneur, you need to adapt to survive.
To gain an advantage over your competition, make sure you have an active website so you can market accordingly through digital platforms.
Build your brand
Digital marketing can help entrepreneurs build brand awareness.
Brand awareness is important for both new businesses and businesses that are already established.
Don’t get me wrong.
I’m not saying that digital marketing will turn your brand into the next Apple.
However, I’m saying you won’t have a chance without it.
Use social media to help build your brand with digital marketing.
Unlike your website, it’s free to use social media platforms like:
According to the global web index, social media usage accounts for 30% of the time that people spend online.
What’s this mean for you?
As an entrepreneur, you need to embrace social media marketing with your overall digital marketing strategies.
If your business is not on social media, it needs to be.
It’s an extremely effective way for you to build your brand.
Let’s take a look at social media profiles in the United States.
The number has continued to rise each year for the past 10 years.
Over 80% of the U.S. population has a social media profile.
With so many people using these platforms, your company can’t afford to stay on the sidelines.
It takes much more than just creating a profile to be successful.
You need to learn some tricks as well, like how to create highly effective Facebook cover photos.
In order to build your brand, you need to stand out from the crowd.
Separate yourself from the competition and capture the attention of your digital audience.
This is not an easy task.
Without goals and a proper plan, your business may have trouble executing digital marketing efforts.
Entrepreneurs believe that their websites and social media platforms are the most difficult digital marketing channels to integrate with their marketing strategies.
Based on what I’ve explained so far in this article, it’s clear that those two segments are the most important.
When done effectively, it’s one of the easiest and most inexpensive ways to connect with your customers.
Connecting with your customers can help you build your brand.
If you’re not growing your brand, you are either plateauing or plummeting.
Entrepreneurs will not survive if they are not constantly building their brands.
It’s the little things that count and will contribute to your success.
For example, if you’re sending emails to your customers, that’s great.
However, sending emails isn’t enough.
Take your digital marketing efforts a step further and segment your email lists.
It’s the difference between being an entrepreneur who uses basic digital marketing concepts and an entrepreneur who is savvy in digital marketing.
These slight differences can contribute to your company’s survival.
Something as simple as increasing your open rates can lead to more traffic on your website.
Based on your call to action in these emails, your customers may also follow you and connect with you via social media.
82% of consumers trust a company more if they are active on social media.
Establishing trust with your customers is essential to the success of your company.
This will build your brand.
Digital marketing will help grow your business
In simple terms, how can you grow your business?
- Add new customers
- Retain customers
- Lower costs
- Increase sales
Sure, there’s much more to it, but these are critical talking points.
Let’s take a look at how you can lower costs and add new customers at the same time.
This graph shows the price of CPM, which is the cost per thousand impressions.
There’s only one digital marketing tactic on this graph of seven marketing strategies.
The digital method is by far the least expensive.
For less than $3, you can expose your brand to over 1,000 potential customers.
It will cost you over 20x that amount to reach as many people through direct mail and over 10x that amount through TV commercials.
Now you have some options.
You can dramatically cut your marketing budget by replacing traditional methods with digital marketing trends.
You could spend the same amount and reach even more customers.
Either way, digital marketing is a home run.
You’ll add new customers at a lower cost, which will ultimately increase your sales.
Digital marketing also increases customer retention.
Improving your customer retention has a direct correlation with your customer service.
Now you can increase your cross-selling and upselling strategies as well.
This increases your sales at a lower cost and grows your business.
You can use your website (that we created earlier) to implement upselling strategies.
Stick with the trends.
Use videos as a digital marketing strategy, as well.
80% of Internet traffic worldwide will revolve around videos by 2019.
Other businesses are already preparing for this trend to grow their companies.
As an entrepreneur, you need to incorporate this strategy into your digital marketing campaign , too.
Look at the top three categories on this list.
Companies recognize that they need to use more videos to capture customers.
YouTube channels have become a necessity for entrepreneurs to survive.
You can also use the same content from your YouTube channel for your Facebook videos.
Instagram has new parameters that allow you to post videos that are up to a minute long on your profile.
You can also utilize live videos on Instagram and use Instagram Stories to enhance the digital experience for your customers.
As we discussed before, it’s a very inexpensive tactic and a great way to gain exposure.
Since Instagram is a mobile application, it will your keep brand relevant as people continue to use their smartphones to consume digital media.
It’s a reminder that you can’t focus all of your digital marketing efforts around web-based platforms.
You need to make sure that your website is mobile friendly.
If you’re going to direct customers to your website through smartphone applications, it needs to run and operate smoothly.
So how fast does your website need to load from a smartphone?
Fewer than 3 seconds.
53% of mobile users will leave a site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.
You can’t turn these mobile leads into conversions if users are abandoning the page.
As I mentioned earlier, you need to reinvest money into your website.
This is especially true for entrepreneurs who built their website on a tight budget.
It’s ultimately a key component that will help you grow your business.
So what have we learned?
Entrepreneurship has changed, and it will continue changing in the years to come.
If you can’t adapt to the new trends, your company will not survive.
Entrepreneurs who learn to adapt faster than others will gain a competitive edge over their rival businesses.
If your company doesn’t have a digital presence right now, the first step you need to take is creating a website.
You don’t need to be an expert in coding or spend tens of thousands of dollars to do this.
As we outlined earlier, you can easily create an inexpensive website using WordPress in just nine simple steps.
After you create a website, you can use email marketing and social media to build your brand.
This will help differentiate you from other entrepreneurs who aren’t using these methods.
Don’t let yourself be part of the group of people who aren’t using online marketing, websites, and social media.
These people will see their businesses struggle if they can’t adapt.
Again, I’m not saying you need to completely abandon ship in terms of traditional marketing efforts.
But your primary focus needs to shift toward digital marketing strategies and campaigns.
Entrepreneurs need to grow their businesses in order to survive.
If you can effectively lower your costs while continuing to add customers and increase sales, survival will not be a problem.
Digital marketing is less expensive than traditional marketing efforts.
This allows you to cut your marketing budget or expose your brand to a larger number of people with the same budget.
Use videos through platforms like YouTube, Facebook video, and Instagram to capture the attention of your customers.
Most importantly, make yourself as digitally savvy as possible.
How will you use digital marketing to gain an advantage over your competitors?