If you are thinking about buying your own business, have you thought about how you are going to market it? If you haven't yet considered making digital marketing a core of your small business' strategy, then you may be limiting your chance of growth and profit, as new research suggests.
A recent report conducted by Deloitte Access Economics and commissioned by Salesforce explored if and how small and medium-sized business are using digital tools to grow their businesses. Sadly, a major theme in the study was how small-business owners are falling behind larger businesses by not effectively using new mediums to generate sales and engage customers.
Despite many organisations of every scope and scale migrating to social media, US research firm Clutch suggested that 44 per cent of small businesses stay away from digital marketing, even though many acknowledge that this is largely where opportunities are waiting. CEO of social engagement firm Friendemic Steve Pearson explained.
"For many small-business owners, digital marketing is intimidating," he said, "If you're not a digital native, or if it's not something you grew up with, it can seem too much."
But this frame of thinking is the Achilles heel for business owners, as the financial benefits of such investments are hard to ignore yet so easy to embrace.
Deloitte found that small businesses that were sticking to a one or two traditional communication channels (e.g. phone and face-to-face) grew at a modest average rate of 2.3 per cent per year. In contrast, those that integrated other marketing channels (e.g. Facebook and email) were growing their revenue at a far higher rate of 7.1 percent.
Social media especially is an marketing avenue optimised for small business owners.
Deloitte even managed to provide a dollar symbol on the value of diversifying marketing communication, suggesting that adding a few extra channels could increase revenue by AU$160,000. Similar outcomes were suggested for the use of paid digital advertising, with the study also noting a link between paid services and increased revenue growth.
With figures like this, it is unsurprising Clutch reported that 82 per cent of small businesses who used digital viewed them as essential to their firm's financial success.
At such a low cost, and being accessible to everyone, social media especially is a marketing avenue optimised for small-business owners. But we are yet to reach this proposition, suggests CEO of social media agency Project Bionic Joshua Dirks.
"It's really sad that the most powerful marketing leap in our history has gone under-utilised by the very people who have the most to gain," he said.
So are you making the most of your digital communication channels?