Pros and Cons of Digital Marketing for Small Business Owners

Learn about the pros and cons of digital marketing and why you should be investing your time and money into digital avenues.

Pros and Cons of Digital Marketing for Small Business Owners

One of the biggest problems small business owners face today is not having a repeatable process to bring customers in the door in a cost-effective way. Without this process in place, it is a struggle to consistently generate enough revenue to keep the doors open and the lights on.

Small business owners know they must have a strong marketing strategy to create a sustainable business, but today there are an almost unlimited number of options in both traditional and digital marketing. 

Today, I’m going to show you the advantages and disadvantages of digital marketing to show you why it may be far more cost-effective for your business. 

What is digital marketing?

To start we need to define digital marketing. Put simply, digital marketing is any marketing that is done on digital channels that can range from your websites, other websites, search engines, social media, mobile apps, email, and more. 

Generally, digital marketing is divided into two main categories of organic and paid. Organic marketing is marketing through avenues that help your business “naturally” find customers over time. Search engine optimization is a form of organic marketing. 

On the other hand, paid marketing involves investing money for customers to see your ads or sponsored content. Google ads are a good example of paid advertising. Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms usually offer paid options. The paid options get your ads or sponsored content in front of more people faster.

How Businesses Benefit from Digital Marketing

With our always-connected 21st century culture, it’s no secret that people are spending more time online. Over 20 million Australians now have regular access to the internet and almost 18 million are now active on social media. 

Digital marketing offers some unique advantages for small businesses that traditional marketing isn’t able to match that we’re going to cover next.

Pros of digital marketing

Digital marketing can be significantly more cost-effective for small businesses for a number of reasons. Here are some of the top reasons small business owners are using digital marketing more and more. 

1. Better targeting: As a small business owner you probably have a good idea of the groups of people that are interested in the products or services you offer. Digital marketing allows you to choose who sees your ads based on a wide variety of demographics. This means you’re only paying to get in front of the people who are most likely to buy from you.

2. Dynamic content: Traditional marketing is expensive to set up and produce, but with digital marketing, you can give customers something new on a regular basis to keep them engaged with your brand. 

3. Create conversations: Your customers want to be heard. Whether it’s to sing your praises,  to show their friends the new product they are using or experience they’ve had. Digital Marketing gives you the opportunity to engage with your customers on a large scale with limited resources.

4. Agile to change: In many industries, consumer interests change fast. Digital marketing allows you to test new marketing messages, benefits, and features on a small audience to see if it connects with your customers. Once you’ve found the right combination you can also scale your ads quickly with digital marketing. 

5. A cost-effective way to build your brand: Repeat customers are one of the greatest assets any business can have. Digital marketing provides a cost-effective way to get in front of your repeat customers on a regular basis so you can continue to build your brand with them until they’re ready for their next purchase. Google and Facebook both offer retargeting programs specifically to re-engage existing customers.

Cons of Digital Marketing

It’s important to know that there are some downsides to digital marketing. Like all forms of marketing, you can waste a significant amount of time and money if you don’t know what you’re doing. 

Here are some of the most common pitfalls of digital marketing for small business owners. 

1. Patience: Some forms of digital marketing such as organic search engine strategies can take months or years before you start to see significant results. When you first start off you may see zero new customers for months and then like magic the floodgates open.  

2. Trial and error: To be good at digital marketing you need to be willing to try lots of different approaches on different platforms before you find the right one for you. For example, you may need to create seven different versions of a Facebook ad to find the one that converts the best. Many times the most effective ads are not the ones you would guess in the beginning.

3. Changes quickly: Digital marketing changes much faster than traditional marketing. For example, Facebook made numerous changes to their policies on how you can market on its platform and what products and services are not allowed to even buy paid ads on their platform at all. 


Is digital marketing worth it in 2020? Definitely for all small business owners, especially those who have limited resources to spend on marketing. 

If you’re able to find the right digital marketing strategies to reach your best customers it can be a game-changer for you and your business to have a dependable flow of interested customers coming in your door every day.

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