Written by: Jen Carlevatti // Dec 11, 2020
Last updated: Dec 11, 2020
Over the last decade, digital marketing has steadily increased its share of marketing budgets. Once a novelty, activities like building SEO-optimized websites, creating effective social media ads, and developing email campaigns are no longer “nice-to-have” or “maybe-some-day” strategies – they’re critical to the survival of your company. Read on to see how online marketing courses can boost your business and ensure you stay competitive in the marketplace.
Reach More Customers
If you’re not already on the digital train, here are two statistics that may convince you it’s time to bone up and jump on:
- In 2019, e-retail sales worldwide.
- In 2021, over 2.14 billion people worldwide are expected to buy goods and services online, up from 1.66 billion global digital buyers in 2016.
The number of people shopping online is staggering, and they’re online right now looking for businesses like yours. They expect to find a robust website, a thriving social media presence, and positive online reviews – typically through a search engine. If they can’t find you, or their online experience is less than ideal, they will head straight for your competitors.
Speaking of your competitors, chances are high that they are already online and reeling in new customers. Learning how to beef up your digital marketing efforts will help you stay in the game, capture additional market share, and beat your competitors.
Still not convinced? Consider this: Online marketing is the great equalizer. It allows small businesses to reach beyond local audiences and enter the global marketplace, something that was once reserved for corporations with large in-house marketing departments and deep pockets. Today, new easy-to-use tools, user-friendly processes, and a plethora of online marketing courses make it simple for even the smallest company to take advantage of digital marketing.
Save Money and Increase ROI
Digital ad spend in the U.S. is expected to increase 85 percent by 2023, and for good reason. Traditional marketing activities like TV ads and direct mail are expensive and reach a limited number of potential customers. What’s worse, it can be difficult to gauge which traditional activities (if any) are truly moving the sales needle and which provide the best ROI.
With digital marketing, you can reach a massive audience in ways that are both cost-effective and measurable.
Here’s an example: Let’s say you spend $300 on a small print ad in a newspaper with a circulation of 500,000. You have no way of knowing how many of those subscribers are target customers. Perhaps 1,000 people who fit your company’s target demographic will actually read the ad. If an uptick in sales follows, you won’t know whether the ad is responsible or if another marketing tactic is the driver.
Conversely, you could spend $75 on social media ads. Vast troves of user data collected by social media companies allow you to target the 2,000 people most likely to buy from your company (i.e. a pet store could target dog and cat owners who live within a 10-mile radius). Throughout the duration of your campaign, you will have access to real-time metrics that show how well your ad is performing (including the number of views, click throughs to your website, etc.) so you can immediately determine ROI.
Based on the examples above, you can save $225, reach an additional 1,000 people who precisely fit your target demographic, and measure the results with social media advertising. Best of all, a brief online marketing course can arm you with the skills needed to make an effective digital ad buy and analyze the results.
Interact With Customers and Get Feedback
One of the most illuminating aspects of digital marketing is the ability to engage with your customers through social media channels, online surveys, and review sites. You can:
- Find out their likes and dislikes.
- Use negative feedback to improve your operation and positive feedback to reinforce what you’re doing right.
- Discover what problems your customers are experiencing that you can solve.
- Find out what they are looking for next.
By interacting directly, you can take the guesswork out of the equation and build your reputation as a trusted brand.
They key to effectively leveraging all this customer interaction is good public relations. Signing up for an online marketing course can show you the tricks of the trade, such as how (and when) to respond to feedback, manage your online profiles, successfully rectify customer problems, turn negative nellies into allies, build buzz around new product launches, start conversations that lead to sales, and so much more.
USF’s Corporate Training and Professional Education’s Marketing in the Digital World for the Small Business certificate is an affordable, time-saving way to learn the basics of search, social, video, display, or email marketing without earning another degree. Each class lasts four weeks and is held live online with two sessions per week, so you can enroll whether you’re running a business of your own or working a 9 to 5 for someone else. Check out this unique program and find out how to enroll.