Let’s Explore Digital Advertising 2016

Your small business is, well, open for business! You’ve developed a powerful brand, published a great website and created a cohesive and memorable online presence by establishing a blog and social media accounts with compelling content marketing. Now, is it time to sit back and wait for a mass of online users who are all members of your target market to swarm to your content, ready to be funneled back to your website and converted into customers or clients? Unfortunately, no, because simply doing those things may not be enough to attract an audience as quickly as you may want or even need to keep your small business afloat.

It is important to note that establishing a great website and an online presence simply isn’t optional in 2016 – your business won’t even be on the radar of your target market without an online presence, let alone at the forefront. However, while online advertising isn’t required, it can be an economical and efficient way to build an online audience more quickly and funnel more potential customers to your website.

Neither Of These Things Are Exactly Like The Other

There is a significant and persistent misunderstanding among many entrepreneurs of the fundamental differences between marketing your business with content marketing, which is usually free to post to social media networks, and promoting that marketing and your business as a whole through online advertising, which requires an monetary investment. It is an unfortunate fact that many entrepreneurs don’t understand that simply posting content to social media channels may not be sufficient to immediately draw an audience and convert new customers. However, that doesn’t mean that the investment of time, money and hours you’ve made into your online presence and content marketing is a waste or is even less valuable to your business. When your potential customers and members of your target market discover your business online, having a fully-formed online presence is vital to drawing them in, introducing them to your business and, hopefully, convincing them to become a customer or client.

Social media advertising simply constitutes an arrangement between you and a social media service to direct members of your target market to your online presence or your website in a timely and concerted manner, generating an audience for your content and/or funneling prospective customers or clients to your website in an accelerated manner. You can “organically” develop such an audience without investing in advertising, but doing so may take considerably longer and may require more of an investment of time, money or resources in compelling content marketing.

Understanding Social Media Services And Networks

Although you may not understand the particulars of a social media network to the same degree as a digital marketing expert or the average teenager, there’s no reason to be intimidated by or apprehensive of social media services. At their core, all social media networks have the same fundamental mission: to attract and retain users, growing their base of free subscribers.

The vast majority of social media networks generate revenue through targeted advertising and/or offering a premium tier of membership or services. At the most basic level, advertising on social media is no different than advertising through print media, television or radio – you’re paying to attract “eyeballs” or “ears” to your content and your business. Luckily, through advances in technology and through provider-side access to user data, social media networks can pinpoint their users, specifically those within your target market, making social media advertising more affordable and efficient for most small businesses.

In our next post, we will discuss the pros and cons of social media advertising, and whether or not your business is a good fit.