In 2019, it feels like almost weekly, we’re introduced to new technology, new ways of doing things, and new applications that can turn the way we do things around. It can be overwhelming when trying to keep up with the latest new marketing trend, or when understanding which tools you should be using, and which are more trouble than they’re worth.

With retail footfall set to decline at 4% for each of the next five years, you want to be where your customers are shopping, and that’s no longer on the high street; for the majority of retailers – your customer is shopping online.

According to Web Strategies Inc, on average, marketing budgets made up 11.1% of total company budgets in 2018, with some variation depending on target audience and the company industry type; those in the B2C space saw an average of 16% marketing budget of their total budget.

Within overall marketing budget, on average, 42% of this was allocated to online, with this expected to grow to 45% by 2020.

Search engine marketing captured the largest share of online spend, with online display taking the largest share – this includes banner ads, online video, etc.

With these figures in mind, it’s easy to see how those companies with a B2C audience not playing in the digital marketing field can get left behind.

Digital marketing is a modern-day tool that businesses in 2019 can no longer ignore, and we’ve come up with some solid reasons why you should be considering the role of digital marketing within your business, if you haven’t already done so.

You can reach your target audience where they already hang out online

The latest Avocado Social stats for 2019 state that there are now 45 million social media users in the UK, and of those 39 million are mobile social media users. With the social media marketing tools now available to businesses, it makes sense for you to be marketing your products on these channels, where your customers natively are.

Facebook marketing has been criticised in the past, but with the right techniques and knowledge, this type of marketing can be very useful for small businesses.

Of all internet users in the UK, 78% of these use Facebook. 40 million people, 71% of UK adults, can be reached via this channel.

Instagram tells a similar story – at the start of 2019, there was an estimated 24 million UK Instagram users, that’s 42% of the UK population. With the ability to target your specific audience based on location, gender, age, interests, etc, opening up your business to market on this channel is very compelling.

While you may not see as great a return from cold marketing on these channels, the ability to tie your company social media platforms to your email marketing and ecommerce platforms, allows you to retarget customers who may have been thinking about purchasing, but needed a little extra push.

Digital marketing opens up a fair playing field for small businesses

It used to be that if you didn’t have millions to spend on marketing, the small business didn’t get a leg in, competing with the big boys with millions of pounds to spend on their marketing budgets, it seemed a pipe dream to compete with them. Digital marketing opens up the space, so you can get your brand message out to customers, in a way that wasn’t possible before.

Digital marketing allows the small business, to rank on search pages, to appeal to the man on the street in a way that wasn’t possible before. Using digital marketing, small businesses can compete with big companies, on a much smaller marketing budget.

As digital marketing allows us to see the data on return of any money spend on marketing online, we can then make smarter decisions based on data to support any decisions made.

The power of email segmentation

It used to be the case that you could collect customers’ email addresses, send them all a bulk email once a month and be done with it. With a highly competitive online market, in 2019 businesses need to do more in order to connect with their audience. The more advanced tools now available to us allows businesses to harness this data to ensure each and every customer is receiving information tailored to their interests.

At Venture Forge, we use a selection of email marketing tools to ensure our clients’ customers are getting tailored email campaigns that are relevant to them. Current technology allows us to tie our clients’ CMS to their email marketing platform, meaning that we can target abandoned browsers, those who have or have not viewed a certain product, those who have spent below or above £x amount and much more.

Having the ability to tailor these email campaigns means that we can monitor the data to see how their customers respond, and engage with each targeted campaign.

There’s more value for your money

With traditional marketing, taking out an ad or running a radio campaign can cost into the hundreds, maybe even thousands of pounds. Digital marketing is very cost-effective, in that it doesn’t require a large personnel to run and you don’t need to wait for the results to come back in; the ad performance can be tracked as you go and if something isn’t working, just turn it off and try something else.

The Relevancy Group states that 66% of online consumers check their email account multiple times per day, with 13% of online consumers actually checking their email hourly or more frequently.

With the low cost and high conversion that email marketing typically sees, we’d suggest that’s a good place to start if you’re thinking about dipping your foot into digital marketing for your business.

The same can be said for social media marketing, setting up multiple ads to target different audiences is simple, and the results can be tracked to ensure each ad is performing well. Metrics can be altered to ensure that you are getting the most value from your ad as you go, so you’re not wasting money waiting for months to find out if the campaign worked or not.

Easy to scale as you go

For small businesses, digital marketing is the perfect co-pilot. Obviously, there’s an initial investment to get going – you need the right skills, whether that’s someone in house or you hire an agency to do it for you, but once you get going, it’s easy to scale and adapt as your business continues to grow.

As you can set the daily budgets, you can continue to run your ads when you’re seeing good results, without having to go back to the table and renegotiate for a longer term. Once your ad has ended, you can rerun with a bigger budget if you wish to do so, the power is in your hands and you’re not waiting around on a third-party to make a deal for a longer running ad.

With online retail growth forecast to continue to grow at between 9% and 14% annually for the next five years, it’s no longer acceptable to batten down the hatches and hope this whole internet craze will blow over; online shopping is here to stay.

If you’re unsure of where to start, give us a call at Venture Forge and we’d be happy to chat through some options on where to begin with your digital marketing.