Digital Advertising and Small Businesses: What You Need to Know

Digital Marketing
Cognite MarketingDigital MarketingMarketing Tips

(Updated: 10 November 2022)

Over the years, we have seen not only advancements in technology, but also how consumers have utilized this technology to find products and services. Companies have had to adapt to this change, to appear where the consumer is – online. As such, marketing itself has also changed from the traditional marketing channels of print, radio, and television, to websites and various online social media platforms.

With these changes, large and small companies have found an even playing field when coming to marketing to their target audience. Therefore, it stands to reason that in order to attract new customers and to broaden your brand reach, your business needs a strong digital presence.

Let’s take a look at what digital advertising can help you, as a small business owner achieve:

Build brand awareness

With a variety of online platforms to choose from, the idea behind digital marketing may seem daunting at first but fear not! Utilizing a combination of these online platforms can allow you to broaden your marketing reach without requiring a massive marketing budget.

So how can you build a stronger brand awareness campaign:

  • PPC Advertising – You can use paid online platforms such as AdWords, LinkedIn, or even Facebook to set up campaigns that are set to specifically target customers actively searching for various keywords relating to your service offering. You can furthermore target your audience via location and set your daily budget accordingly.
  • Social Media – With social media, you can spread the word about your business and engage with your target audience about the various pain points they may be experiencing and show how your business can help address those problems.
  • Content Marketing – Sharing and providing useful and engaging content via your website, social media platforms, or through newsletters can help retain customers’ attention in your brand and place you as an expert in the field in their minds.
  • Website – Having a strong website can also help customers find out more about you, your products, or services. It’s important that your website provides just the right amount of content and a clear path from start of enquiry (landing on your website) to engagement (filling in a form, buying a product, or contacting you directly).

Having these tools at your disposal can help your business reach your target audience without having to spend thousands of Rands on printing campaigns.

Attract and retain customers

Whether you’ve just opened your company’s doors, or you’re an established brand, one thing is often a constant thought – getting sales. Similarly, to building brand awareness, your business can use the various digital platforms mentioned earlier to attract or retain customers thus potentially improving your sales. How might you ask? Well simple, your company can run various campaigns across these platforms to attract new customers and engage with existing ones.

There are multiple methods such as giving your clients a shout out or offering specials etc. and these digital platforms can help you get your message out there faster than ever before. Just make sure that you know your target audience and where they are, because not every platform offers the same reach, just as not every customer uses the same platform for their search or social needs.

Digital marketing platforms are typically easy to use

The benefit of digital marketing platforms is that we use a majority of them in our own personal lives, from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok etc. that having to learn all these is not necessary. However, knowing which ones to use for your marketing strategy and how to use them correctly is a little different.

We’ve mentioned this earlier but knowing where your target audience likes to browse online may help you better use the platforms to your advantage. It would be pointless if your target audience loves to use social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, but your online marketing efforts are directed to YouTube or LinkedIn. It also doesn’t help if you spread your message over too many platforms as this can cause its own headache.

If you’re the type to consider paid advertising, you can try your hand with social media paid advertising or Google ads, but caution must be taken. If you are not familiar with paid advertising, you could end up spending money targeting the wrong audience or even the wrong service, so hiring a professional may need to be considered to help guide you.

It gives you more control over your budget

One of the biggest advantages of digital advertising is that you have more control over your budget than with traditional media. For example, if you’re running a Facebook and Google Ads campaign, you can set a budget per day or per week so that you never have to worry about going over budget.

However, if you have launched a billboard campaign or are running an advert in a magazine or perhaps a newspaper, you may paint yourself into a corner especially if you’ve made a targeting, content or design mistake. With digital advertising you can, but shouldn’t always, change your mind daily as this can water down your advertising message.

There are many features available

It’s important for business owners to understand what digital advertising options are available to them. Beyond website advertising, there are social media marketing channels, online advertisements, email marketing campaigns—the list goes on. The trick is getting a great balance of media, channels and messaging to connect with your client’s emotional and rational needs. This includes direct ads to those that are actively searching for your products, advertising to those that show demographic or psychographic relevancy and remarketing to those that have engaged with your adverts before.

So, where do you start?

Make sure you speak to a Marketing Company that understands the South African market, listens to your sales goals, and can bridge the gap between what you offer and what your clients want and need.

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