We get this question quite often. We specialize in helping small businesses with digital marketing. For most of these businesses, their customer base and their target audience are local. They are selling their products or services to their neighbors, people in the same area.

Should these small businesses be advertising on Facebook or other digital platforms? For that matter, should they be doing digital marketing at all?

The answer is a cautionary "yes." Why cautionary? Because first, they need to have the foundations in place to be successful with digital marketing. This is where the vast majority of small businesses fall short, and this is why their digital marketing efforts fail or return very little for the time, effort and money spent.

If you want to be successful in your digital marketing efforts, here are some "must haves" that need to be in place before you spend the first dollar on advertising.

1.  An optimized landing page. There is little point in spending money on any on-line advertising if you are going to send people to your homepage when they click on your ad.
If someone clicked your ad, he or she did so to get more specific information or to (much more rarely)  make a purchase. It is crucial that you send them to a page that fulfills that specific purpose. Optimized? Simply put the landing page needs to be specifically designed and built for one purpose. Conversion, there should be no distractions, nothing to take their attention away from the reason they are there. Give them the information they want, take away any barriers to conversion, and make it easy for them to complete the process.

2. A conversion or sales funnel. You are advertising for a purpose. Ultimately it is to get a sale. However, the vast majority of the time, people do not buy on the first interaction. This is why a conversion funnel is critical. You need to "guide" them through the process, lead them down the path to your desired outcome. Depending on what you are trying to achieve, this could be a short one or two step process, or it could be a complicated, multi-step process that takes place over an extended period of time.

3. An automated follow-up system. You're busy right? Most small businesses are understaffed. There aren't enough hours in the day! Your potential customers don't care, they want to be catered to, looked after, they want service. If you wait 48 hours to respond to their email question, they will move on to your competitor. If you can't keep them engaged and feed them the information they want if you don't guide them through the process, they will lose interest, and you will lose a sale. This is why an automated follow-up system is critical.

4. The most import thing of all, a responsive, well organized, easy to navigate professional website. This is a "must have." Fact: If you don't have a professional, well designed, mobile-friendly website, you are sending potential customers to your competitors.Here are just a few interesting research results:

  • 81% of customers will visit your website before deciding whether or not to do business with you. (Retailing Today, 2014)
  • 72% of consumers who did a local search visited a store within five miles. (WordStream, 2016)
  • 78% of local-mobile searches result in offline purchases. (Search Engine Land, 2014)
  • 50% of consumers who conducted a local search on their smartphone visited a store within a day, and 34% who searched on computer/tablet did the same.(Google Study)

Those are some pretty compelling reasons to make your website a top priority when it comes to your businesses overall success plan.

5. A digital marketing plan. I'm sure you've heard this before "failing to plan is planning to fail." It's true. If you are just haphazardly throwing ads up on Facebook, boosting posts, "Giving it a Shot," I guarantee, you are wasting money. Like most everything else, digital marketing requires some planning to be successful. You need to develop and follow a digital marketing plan, measure what is working and what is not, and make adjustments to optimize your results if you want a good return on your investment.  

So, should you be advertising your small business on Facebook?
If you have all of the above things in place, "yes." Properly executed, Facebook advertising can give you a high return.
If you are missing any of the above pieces, then spend that ad money on putting them in place first.
Facebook can get along a little while longer without your money.  

 Cotts, Inc. is a digital marketing agency specializing in helping small businesses. We are located in the small city of Pottsville in Schuylkill County, PA 17901.

We build results-driven websites, expert social media content & strategies, custom interactive kiosk systems, digital signage systems and print campaigns so your business can compete in this digital world.

If your small business needs help with marketing in the digital world, reach out to us, our contact information is:
Website: https://cottsinc.com
Email: cs@cottsinc.com
Phone: 570.399.5662