Small business: The new digital economy

By Darrell Cook

Small business has an advantage over the big corporations – speed to market. In today’s fast paced information age, small businesses that send messages over the new digital channels are the ones that are reaping profits and gaining market share. Moreover, a sustaining communication strategy with a mix of a strong website, email, and social media can generate a breakthrough performance. These new digital tactics for marketing are creating a very significant digital economy for small business.

In the 2010 survey conducted by Constant Contact on the most important tools for marketing small business, it was identified that 92% of small business owners felt their website was the most important tactic, while 88% agreed that email marketing was highly significant and necessary. Most impressive was the 50% of small businesses who recognized that Facebook was increasingly valid for their marketing.

So how does a small business owner, on a shoe string marketing budget, use these important tools to get ahead of their competition? Here are a few tips to get started or enhance your current marketing program.

Focus on highlighting action items on your website’s Home Page and maximize sales

Too often I see websites with Home Pages that are more information driven that action driven. Far too many Home Pages are populated with a lot of unnecessary text and oversized stock photography to make their site look pretty. Focus on bringing your unique offerings up front and tell the viewer exactly what you can do for them in a single Tag line right at the top. Position high on the Home Page your special offers or your seminars/programs. The first thing a visitor wants to know is what do you do and why is it beneficial for them.  You will find that your visitors that go deeper within your website are more likely to buy, your search engine ranking will be tailored automatically to more qualified buyers and your referrals will have higher close ratios.

Focus on the messages and maximize loyalty

Where email has success is in 2 specific areas: Your subject line and your opening offer. By building a sensational subject line you can avoid the “me too” cheesy spam messaging and become meaningful to your email subscribers. Loyalty is built through trust. Therefore, be honest, specific and up front about the content of the email through a poignant subject line that speaks to solving a problem. Once the click though happens, then part two is providing right up front the offer validating the subject line. Keeping it short, simple and helpful will increase viewership and likely expand your subscriber list.

Focus on Facebook and maximize your brand

Facebook is a unique community of dedicated fans and honest feedback. The largest fear I hear from companies about Facebook is the possibility of negative marketing. You will be surprised that by creating a loyal fan base on Facebook can be the best experience. Yes, they will tell you how they are experiencing your offerings but mostly in a constructive and positive manner. For the ones who get out of line, your Facebook fans come to your rescue and defend your brand/offering. It is a community like no other and one that should be part of your marketing program. It can find niche audiences and build your brand across many boundaries that might take hundreds of thousands of dollars in a traditional media buy.

Overall, the X factor in marketing any business is the combination of the right offering, to the right audience, at the right time. In today’s world you can’t afford to overlook the new digital economy.

About Darrell Cook

Darrell CookDarrell is Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Conversys. His focus is to steward the North American growth for Digital Promotions Marketing. His career spans a wide range of technology and Internet companies throughout North America and the UK. From small start-ups to Fortune 500 firms, Darrell excels at bridging offline business processes with effective online channels. He is currently a Board of Director of the Retail Advertising and Marketing Club of Canada (RAC), and former Board of Director of the Internet Advertising Bureau of Canada.

By Adam

June 09, 2010