When it comes to digital marketing, things can get complicated. Quickly. But there’s no reason to stress. At Vivial, we make the complex simple. So, where do you begin?

Step #1: Understand the Digital Landscape

The first and most important aspect is understanding the digital landscape. In 2019, digital ad spending will surpass traditional media for the first time. Ever. That’s right, digital advertising – search engine marketing, website development, social media and much more – will now represent 54% of all media spend. The industry is growing at a rapid rate, 19% to be exact, and there are no signs of stopping.

We have collected and curated the most compelling local and small business marketing statistics for you, from social media statistics and mobile marketing to SEO statistics and effective lead generation strategies.

We encourage you to check it out here.

Step #2: Understand your Audience

As the digital information age continues to evolve, so do the purchasing behaviors of consumers. More than ever, consumers are doing copious research before the moment of purchase. And they’re consulting more sources than ever as they do so. These days, consumers look at an average of 10 or more sources before making a purchase. (link to stat page) That’s more than double what it was just a few years ago. If your business lacks a presence on any of those 10 sources—you’re missing out on real revenue potential.

The rise in research is due in large part to the proliferation of information online. There are countless digital sources for consumers to tap into when making purchase decisions. Social media, email marketing, online review sites and business websites are just a few. To remain competitive and relevant, your marketing strategy needs to be robust and diversified.

Check out our Social Media 2019 infographic to see just how consumers use the top social networks.

Step #3: Manage Your Online Listings

We’ve all done it. We’ve searched for a local business, like say, a plumber, and on that first page of Google we see results from places like Manta, Angie’s List, BBB.org, etc. Ever wonder where those sites get information on various businesses? Ever wonder if your business shows up on those sites? It’s a pretty safe bet it does. The bad news is—if you’re not actively policing and managing those listings, your business information could be wrong. In fact, 86% of businesses have either missing or incorrect company name information listed across all listing sources. That is a scary statistic, especially when research shows that 8 out of 10 consumers lose trust in a business if they see inaccurate or inconsistent information across the internet.

The good news—you can totally manage those listings. Every one of those sites offers the ability for you to claim and optimize your business listing. While it’s generally quite inexpensive to manage each, it can be time consuming. But the value in managing these listings is huge. Imagine what would happen if a directory listed the wrong address for your business. Potential customers could be sitting in the middle of nowhere looking for your business. Or worse yet, they could end up at your competitor.

Take the next 60 seconds and run your own Listing Analysis to see if you have errors.

Step #4: Generate Custom Content

Back in the day, a quick 30-second ad on the radio or a small black and white ad in the local paper were about the extent of the marketing options available to local businesses. But there was an inherent problem with those options—how can you cram everything your business does, represents and stands for into something that small? You can’t. When it comes to local businesses, consumers want to know you, trust you, remember you. A logo and phone number in the corner of the obituaries section of the evening paper won’t do that.

In fact, 84% of consumers expect, yes expect, brands to produce content that entertains, provides solutions and produces experiences. Consumers today won’t be wooed by pretty pictures and flashy graphics. They want to hear from your perspective why they should choose you. Custom content offers you the opportunity to tell a story, tell your story, and showcase your industry expertise. In a way, it begins a dialogue with customers, it invites potential customers to get to know you and starts a relationship.

So, there you have it. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to marketing your small business, there are a few things every business must do. And whether or not you utilize your own internal resources, or partner with a trusted digital marketing agency like Vivial, effectively leveraging digital marketing is a necessity for success.