In these last years, after all the changes that overwhelm us day after day, we can no longer take stock of the situation. Things seem confusing because the technologies are more and more and the majority of the population does not know how to take advantage of these technologies with the right background knowledge.
So in just 10 years, from 2008 to 2018 we have gone completely to use the smartphone in every environment of our lives, from the simplest things like relationships with relatives, friends and acquaintances,which now take place mainly on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc…., up to more complex things like buying goods, subscribing to sites of information or video courses online for their growth.
But if you’ve spent time networking with local small business owners, working for them as employees or pursuing them as potential customers for the past 15 years or so, you’ve undoubtedly heard some variations of the following sentence: “we need online marketing “.
Today, most owners of this type have at least grasped the fact of making a website, but what do they think of optimizing it for search engines? Designing it in line with a brand? Offering an e-commerce platform for online purchases? Involving customers on social media?
For the “traditional” entrepreneur, these concepts often seem foolish, or simply a waste of time. For the marketing professional,the benefits seem obvious. Where, then, is the root cause of this dissonance?
Is online marketing really necessary for today’s small traditional businesses or is it possible to survive without an online strategy?
Are we sure you do not need an online marketing strategy?
Let’s take a look at some of the most common reasons why a traditional entrepreneur refuses online marketing as a necessity (or even a value) in the first place.
It is important to recognize that not all online-resistant entrepreneurs have the same motivations or points of view. Furthermore, some of these conflict points are valid enough, while others may be rejected with some supporting data.
Objection No. 1: I do not need more customers.
This is rather simple and difficult to discuss. If you are satisfied with your existing customer base and are not interested in growing, I will not try to dissuade you. It’s a nice place to stay – make sure you can count on those customers for the long run.
Objection No. 2: All my clients are offline.
This is the usual complaint from companies that find customers through existing partnerships and networking. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s a representation of biased thinking, ofcourse you’ll only attract offline customers if you’re just doing offline marketing!
There are 5 billion Google searches every day and over 1 billion active Facebook users; do not you think that at least some of those users might be interested in your business?
Objection No. 3: Online marketing does not work for me.
If you have already tried online marketing and have seen little or no success, it does not mean that marketing is inherently imperfect, it means there was a flaw in its design or execution. It happens, even for the best in the industry, but the correct answer is to make improvements by finding new partners, pursuing new channels and increasing the quality of the data you work with.
Objection No. 4: Online marketing is a passing fad.
This usually applies to a specific strategy, rather than to online marketing in general: SEO and social media. Now that both fields have been around for more than a decade, traditional business owners are starting to take them more seriously, but no one has the confidence that they will be around forever – just the suspicion they will turn rather than fade away completely.
Objection No. 5: Online marketing is too expensive.
This is another valid point, but remember, marketing is aninvestment. If done correctly, you will see a positive ROI, which means you will get more revenue than you invested in the beginning.
Objection No. 6: I do not understand online marketing
Just because you do not “grab it” now does not mean you’re not able to use it for your company. The Internet is full of available communities and can help you understand it. In addition, you can always hire a contractor or agency to design, run and manage a campaign for you or a consultant to help you frame your situation.
Now that I have discussed the common points on why online marketing is not taken into consideration by small and medium-sized businesses, I would like to talk about why online marketing can be considered a”necessity”.
Online Marketing is a necessity
Point 1: consumer expectations have changed
Almost all Italians have access and regularly use the Internet. Many of us, when we hear about a business for the first time, immediately look for a website or social media profile where we can learn more.
We do not stop for a visit. We are not looking for you on the yellow pages. We do not consult the local newspaper. People expect you to have a website and, if not, they may question your legitimacy or completely discard you as a potential option.
There is a “bare minimum” standard that consumers expect to see online from companies, so try to get at least that.
Point 2: competition
Just because you’ve been reluctant to adopt an online marketing strategy does not mean your competitors have not.
They could conquer the digital landscape, burn your potential customers and offer a better first impression to anyone looking for companies like yours in your area. To make matters worse, every day they continue to follow these strategies is another day more than you.
Point 3: variation rate
Finally, I want to emphasize the rate of change in the accessibility of technology, the dependence on online shops and services and, of course, consumer behavior.
Big technological break throughs, such as high-speed Internet and mobile devices, make us more dependent on the Internet and less dependent on physical structures. This means that online marketing becomes more important on a consistent scale with the passage of time.
If you do not think online marketing is important to your business today, there’s a chance you’re right, but think about it next year. This is a long-term investment.
All in all, I think it’s unfair to say that online marketing is really “necessary” for any company.
However, if you’re not engaging in any kind of online marketing campaign, you’re definitely sabotaging your potential and possibly preparing for a future collapse. Your business could work well without a website or online support service, but that does not mean you’re doing better this way.
Challenge your hypotheses and change with the times, regardless of the sector you are in – you will thank yourself later.