Is Online Marketing Really Necessary for Small Businesses?

man and woman in front of shop

First let’s get something straight: online presence and online marketing are two very different things. Everyone needs an online presence, at least, a website or a Facebook page. Just to terrify you into agreeing: the mega-review-site Yelp ran a survey that showed 85% of consumers used the internet to search for local businesses. So if you don’t have an online identity, you might as well not exist. Online marketing, on the other hand, uses online advertisements, social media and content creation to attract new customer. The question is, is online advertising necessary for small businesses?

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Money, Time, Effort

These three things are often referenced by small business owners as being in short demand (except effort, which is always more than they can handle). Often the owners have multiple responsibilities within their establishments making it tough to balance all their duties and obligations. So investing in an online marketing campaign might be daunting. But, the truth is that you don’t have to create an entirely new campaign, you can integrate your online presence into your offline marketing presence.

If you send out a newsletter mention your social media, website or even a link to a business directory where your customers can find you and review your establishment. On your physical advertising material make sure to ask people to like your Facebook page…or even offer discounts and coupons for those that do follow and like you on social media.

No E-Shop No Problem (kinda)

Online marketing might seem a bit useless if you don’t sell products online but, you might want to consider expanding into online sales. According to this Forbes article, one in four Americans make at least one purchase online, and two-thirds of people log onto Facebook every day. Is that really a customer base you want to miss out on?

Beyond that many online ads can be tailored to target a specific market or interest, making the money you invest work more effectively for you. But even if you don’t have physical products for sale online, it can be a great place to advertise services which would be challenging to promote offline or even display add-on service to products you already offer.


Consumers have an unyielding amount of choices, in many cases the only reason they will choose you over another provider is proximity and presence. If they remember you because you popped up on their feed or sent them a discount code which expires soon, they will probably shop from you when they become overwhelmed with choices.

According to Ofcom, the independent regulator for the communications industry in the UK, the average person spends roughly 20 hours on the internet per week…Do you think that anyone spends 20 hours a week flipping through the newspaper, a magazine or passing by your billboard? I’ll answer that for you: no, they don’t.

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Do you know of any other reasons why online marketing is necessary for small businesses? Let us know in the comment section below.




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