Small Businesses Must Embrace Digital Marketing

As a small business owner myself, if there is one thing I believe, it is that small businesses have no choice but to embrace digital marketing.

Canadian small businesses are facing an unprecedented confluence of reverse factors today.

The long-standing ripple effects of the pandemic, an impacted economy, declining consumer spending and interest rate hikes are impacting these businesses more than ever. It’s a time when every dollar spent carries greater significance, often marking the difference between survival and closure.

During this sink or swim time period, traditional marketing tactics like public relations, although tried and true, require consistency and financial resources to continually test new campaigns. I’m not naive enough to think that every small business has the financial flexibility for this.

Digital ads might seem appealing with their “set it and forget it” approach, but they, too, demand patience to produce results. Immediate returns on investment aren’t guaranteed, so I wouldn’t suggest relying on this tactic as your first line of defense.

Digital marketing on the other hand?

The liferaft in turbulent waters when it comes to fostering small business growth during volatile economic times.

Here’s why.

The shifting paradigm

You’ve heard it before and I’ll tell you again: The digitalization of society has fundamentally changed how consumers discover and interact with businesses.

Online research, social media and e-commerce have become integral parts of consumers’ daily lives. According to research conducted by Constant Contact, up to 65% of Canadians prefer online shopping.

It’s imperative that small businesses adapt to this shift to remain relevant and competitive. Embracing digital marketing ultimately provides businesses with cost-effective alternatives to traditional advertising methods, ensuring that messages reach the right audience at the right time.

There’s no denying the power of social media

Social media platforms are far past the days of using Facebook solely for “poking” and connecting with relatives.

Today they stand as powerful tools for small businesses to connect with their target audience. By utilizing platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and more, small businesses can build brand awareness, engage with customers, and even drive sales.

The real-time nature of social media allows businesses to stay agile and responsive, adjusting their strategies based on customer feedback and trends.

There are countless case studies of small businesses in Canada that have leveraged social media marketing to significant success. From local coffee shops to boutique clothing stores, these businesses have harnessed the potential of platforms to grow their customer base and increase revenue.

Check out Digital Main Street to see these case studies for yourself!

Influencers galore

What is social media without influencers?

These creatives have become key players in the digital marketing world—and I’m here for it.

Small businesses that identify and partner with influencers that resonate with their target audience tap into a ready-made community of potential customers.

These partnerships help to paint your brand as authentic and credible, ultimately driving sales and increasing visibility. Creators are also experts at promoting key messaging, which is important. After all, who are you more inclined to believe? A brand who says they’re awesome or a creator who doesn’t have stakes in the company?

User-generated content—original, brand-specific content created by customers and published on social media or other channels—is also becoming increasingly popular and allows for more organic partnerships that don’t scream “brand deal.”

Content is king

My last reason why you must embrace digital marketing is because content is king in the digital world.

High-quality, thought-out content not only attracts and engages customers but also helps establish a small business as an authority in its industry.

Small businesses should prioritize crafting a content strategy that truly connects with their target audience. Whether it’s through blog posts, videos or podcasts, offering valuable and informative content remains a proven method to establish trust and foster customer loyalty.

So, regardless of your chosen content format, maintain consistency, prioritize captivation and take bold risks to set yourself apart in the ever-growing ocean of online content.

Embracing digital marketing has shifted from being an option to becoming a necessity for small businesses in Canada aiming to grow, and regrettably, even to merely stay afloat in recent times.

By harnessing the power of social media marketing, influencer collaborations and high-quality content, small businesses can not only survive but thrive in a time when conventional business operations have become unusually challenging.

While my empathy goes out to all small business owners facing these challenging times, I am confident that the potential for thriving small businesses in Canada is attainable for those who are ready to embrace these crucial digital marketing trends.

Give it your best shot.