In a study in early 2017, financial experts predicted the closure of numerous brick-and-mortar stores of established companies like Macy’s and Radio Shack. As the current year ends, those predictions seem to have come true, with Macy’s announcing the initial closure of 68 physical stores, with plans to close a total of 15% (around 100 stores total) of their brick-and-mortar branches by 2019.
Although this may sound like the end of retail as we know it, experts say it isn’t so. Despite the rise of e-commerce and online stores in the past few years, a bulk of retail companies still make a sizeable amount of their sales through brick-and-mortar branches.
So, what’s going on? Is retail really going the way of the dinosaur? Not exactly.
Experts have concluded that while e-commerce has affected the sales in physical stores, the dent isn’t that big. The difference lies, however, in the ability of companies to embrace new technologies and adopt new business practices, shifting their focus from a profit-centric model to a more customer-centric one.
The shift might be counter-intuitive, but it’s a trend that has benefited major companies with brick-and-mortar stores. Wal-Mart is one such example – the company has not only worked to incorporate new technologies into their stores, it has also expanded its online presence, for the convenience of its customers.
Digital Marketing is at the forefront of establishing an online presence, which is especially important for small businesses, now more than ever. In this increasingly digital world, online presence through digital marketing gives your business an advantage over businesses that haven’t yet made their mark on the Internet of Things. Digital marketing for small businesses has benefited local companies because it expands, targets, and manages their digital business space.
Most people think of “digital marketing” as simply having a website, per se; but, it is far more complex than that. It is no longer enough to have a website – while that is the primary ingredient, there are many other components that go into the digital mix.
To make sense of it all, here are some of the basic concepts of digital marketing.
Website Development – One of the key aspects of digital marketing is the website. Website development services focus on creating sites that encourage engagement with customers, hitting both the aspects of form and function. A good web development team must focus on an easy-to-use design that captures the customer’s attention, as well as on the outward beauty and aesthetic of a site. As an advertisement, websites are a much more cost-effective option compared to traditional signs and billboards, saving you money on printing and distribution costs.
A good website acts as both calling card and front door for your company, which means that good design is integral. Websites create a digital space for businesses to exist and work in; giving customers access to your products and services, and providing the opportunity for interaction. For instance, a small business with a website can reach customers beyond the local community, thus generating and increasing revenue on a larger scale.
Reputation Management – In its most basic sense, reputation management is the digital version of PR work. Online Reputation Management, or ORM, works to improve your business presence all throughout the Internet while maintaining a positive image of your company.
In this age where most customers use search engines like Google as a phone book and as a source for product reviews, ORM promotes your company in the best possible light through search engine optimization, management of reviews and posts about your brand, and the creation of content that positively impacts your company.
When things go bad or when your company goes through a crisis, ORM helps manage online chatter. ORM campaigns help get your brand back on your market’s good side by disseminating positive information, or by addressing online concerns in a professional manner that redefines the public perception of your company.
ORM services can also offer comprehensive strategies, such as positive content that highlights all the good aspects of your brand, to counter any negative releases from your competitors.
Social Media Management – With social media networks like Facebook and Twitter dominating cyberspace, having efficient and professional social media management must be a priority for digital marketing. Because of its rapid rise in mainstream culture, there is still a surprising percentage of business owners who view social media as a temporary fad. However, studies have shown that 97% of marketers use and participate in social media networks because they understand the current impact of social channels and that this will continue into the future.
But, although 97% of marketers use social media, a surprising 85% are not sure which social media tool is best for their company and their brand. A competent social media management service can mitigate this by studying your products and services to determine the best approach to utilizing social media to improve your brand’s reach and recognition.
Because most of your customers already have social media accounts, your business can benefit from increased traffic with a simple social media page, all the while decreasing marketing costs. Social media management also offers business owners more precise insight into customer wants and needs, as customers directly interact with your company’s page, which provides your business with professional and more cost-effective customer service.
Local SEO – Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, has been the backbone of digital marketing since search engines began improving their search algorithms. Simply put, SEO works to ensure that your business is as close to the top of search engine results as possible. SEO does this by creating content that is most visible to search engines, giving your company’s website the organic and natural leads that it needs. Because customers nowadays tend to search for pretty much everything online, it follows that a greater online search visibility attracts more customers.
Local SEO, on the other hand, is like regular SEO, but with the added benefit of targeting the local area of your company. Local SEO ensures that your business comes up as one of the first results when customers search for a product or service in a specific location. Local SEO services can target specific customers by offering customized strategies that make sure your company stays on top of the competition.
Small businesses benefit from digital marketing because it develops their online presence not just directly within their local community, but in surrounding areas as well, effectively expanding their business reach and their customer base. In addition, managing your online reputation as well as social media ensures that your brand remains in a positive light, and that customer concerns are addressed in a timely and professional manner.
Overall, digital Marketing offers small businesses the chance to dominate their local market through local SEO services, making sure that they are the first result whenever anyone searches for their service in their area. Cedar Park Local can provide your small business with digital marketing services that are customized to your specific needs.
Is your small business maximizing its online marketing potential? Are you “dazed and confused” by all this digital marketing mumbo jumbo? Let the professionals at Cedar Park Local do it all for you. Click the Get Free Consultation link to set up a free, no-obligation evaluation and consultation, to discover how we can help your business grow and prosper.