Importance of Online Marketing

The Importance of Online Marketing to Small Businesses in 2016

In 2016, online marketing is no longer an option for small businesses.  In fact, small businesses today are learning that online marketing must be a part of their overall marketing effort just to remain competitive in their industries.

According to statista.com, United States consumers purchased more than $287B in goods and services online in 2015.  This accounted for 15% of all retail purchases being transacted online, with the trend of online purchasing only continuing to increase for the foreseeable future.

US ecommerce chart

Online retail chart

In order to reach consumers online, small businesses must make a concerted effort to create a highly focused online marketing plan to gain awareness in the marketplace of their products and services. This is not something that should be approached half-heartedly.

What exactly should a small business be doing with their online marketing plan? It all starts with the company’s website. Small businesses must have clean content (text, graphics, videos) informing consumers of their products/services, a design that is easy to navigate and find the product/service information, easy to locate the company’s contact information, it must work across multiple versions of web browsers, and lastly it must also have a responsive web design to properly display on desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and smart phones alike.

Small businesses must also make sure to list their business information on all the local business listing sites. There are literally hundreds of local business listing sites. The most important thing is to always have accurate information on the local business listings. If the business is relocating, then it is imperative to update the business information on the business listing sites.

The next key item of the online marketing plan for small businesses are their social media accounts. Social media accounts must be created for where their consumers frequent, whether it is Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, or Linkedin. Small businesses must build up their network of followers on their social media sites and provide them with high quality content regarding their products/services and any special promotions they are having.

The final piece of the online marketing plan is for small businesses to focus on their SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. This is the ranking or placement of your company’s website on the major search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo when consumers search for the company’s products/services. The ranking or placement of your site is extremely important to the company’s website traffic. It is estimated that 50% of the web traffic goes to the company ranked highest on the search engines. This means that all the other companies are fighting over the remaining 50%.

Still not convinced as to how important online marketing is to small businesses in 2016? Here is a stunning statistic from Google:88% of consumers who search for a type of local business on a mobile device call or go to that business within 24 hours.

That statistic alone shows the importance of online marketing for small businesses.

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