Small businesses that still focus their marketing budget on placing newspaper advertisements may be making an expensive mistake.
Marketing expert Stefan Drew said that an integrated marketing mix does not necessarily have to include print advertising, especially for small businesses with limited budgets. Newspaper and magazine advertising is "just too expensive" for many organisations, he commented, suggesting that small businesses can stretch their money by exploring other options.
In recent years, small businesses have increasingly focused on spreading the word about their products and services via cheaper means such as social media. A number of factors have contributed to social media being a more cost-effective option for small businesses, including:
• Most social media channels are free to join, which means that small businesses do not need to stump up cash for promoting their company. However, creating enough engaging and relevant content does take an investment of time and resource, which should be factored into their content marketing strategy.
• The increasing adoption of social media means that a larger proportion of small businesses' target audiences are likely to be avid social media users. People are also spending more time on social media, fuelled at least in part by the growth in smartphone usage.
• With the Panda and Penguin updates, Google has shown that it looks to reward sites that offer users unique, relevant and interesting content. One of the signals it uses to determine the quality of content is social signals - that is, how widely information is shared on social networks. Small businesses that want to perform well in search cannot afford to ignore the potential of social media.