Digital Marketing Helps Small Businesses Survive and Thrive

By Kristen Harris

As a small business, can you compete with the giant, even behemoth, sized companies that dominate the headlines? Yes, you can! According to the SBA’s latest report, there are 31.7 million small businesses in the U.S., employing 60.6 million people or nearly half of all employees. Small businesses generate 44% of U.S. economic activity and, of small business employer firms, 17.5% are minority-owned and 20% women-owned.

Small businesses can compete with the giants by being faster, more innovative, flexible, and nimble, reacting to change, and quickly pivoting to serve customer needs. 

Talk about changing and pivoting—starting in March 2020, and throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, small businesses have dealt with unimaginable situations and challenges. They’ve responded by quickly changing business models, processes, and systems, and in some cases, the product or service they provide. Scrappy and determined, small business leaders did whatever was required to survive and, ultimately, to thrive.

During this time, many businesses had to rethink their marketing strategy. While digital marketing was already snowballing, it was often considered the domain of larger companies with teams of social media managers, content marketers, e-commerce experts, digital strategists, marketing analysts, and more on-board. Meanwhile, many small businesses were reliant on a physical presence and traditional media. Think a main street storefront and ad in the community paper, not social media pop-up ads directing to an online shop.

Which worked until most people were suddenly stuck in their homes 24/7. What good is a billboard or public transit marketing if no one is commuting to work? How will people see your ad in a local magazine or newspaper or pick up your printed marketing material if they aren’t shopping or dining out? They can’t see your new storefront, fabulous window display, or special advertised on a sandwich board if they’re stuck in the house ordering everything via delivery. 

Small businesses needed to quickly reach people where they were–at home and online. Always online…for work, for school, to connect with family and friends, learn a hobby, or just for a bit of downtime. Anyone else start obsessively following travel accounts and floral cupcake bouquet makers? Oh, just me? Well, everybody has their thing. And small businesses needed to find ways to get in front of current and new customers, to become their “thing.”

The good news is that digital marketing is easily accessible to small businesses. They can often use it in ways that larger firms can’t, letting their uniqueness and personality shine. 

Here are a few ways we’re seeing small businesses embrace digital marketing and use it to compete with the big guys. 

  • Building engaging social media accounts filled with personality and interesting content. 

  • Using highly targeted social media or search engine marketing to show their product or service to their ideal customer.

  • Contacting business connections or potential customers via LinkedIn then setting up a time to meet and get to know each other via video call.

  • Updating their business website to mirror customer needs; helping customers easily find what they want or quickly connect with you.  

  • Adding e-commerce options to their website–allowing customers to place an order, schedule an appointment, arrange for delivery or pickup, or purchase a service online.

  • Building valuable email content, including special VIP sales or events for email list subscribers only.

This first week of May, join us in celebrating Small Business Week. We applaud the service, innovations, and contributions small businesses make to their industries and communities every day. With easily accessible digital marketing tools, a little ingenuity, and an expert at your side, a small business can compete with the big guys. If you need help finding just the right person to help you put the right digital marketing in place, let us know. We’re here to help, from one small business to another.