Five reasons for small businesses to diversify online

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If you’re a small business looking to survive and grow online in hard economic times, here are five reasons to diversify your online marketing efforts  

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Although we are not officially in a recession, tough economic times are upon us and trading conditions for businesses of all sizes are becoming harder. As a small online store, you may be looking for ways to grow your online presence, retain customers and build loyalty during these hard times. Awin has put together some easy tips and tricks to help you keep the faith and expand your online marketing horizons.  

1. You can hang out where your customers do  

Diversifying isn’t just about the number of online marketing channels used, but also about discovering the best channels that feel comfortable and familiar to your customers. 

Consumers seek out services and products online across multiple channels, so testing and trying new ways of reaching them is essential. Google’s 2020 research on ‘the messy middle’ of the purchasing journey outlines just how many touchpoints there are for customers to find, compare and purchase your products.  

Using a wide range of channels lets you explore when and where customers are engaging best, helping you shape your future marketing strategy for maximum impact. For example, you may already be using Google Ads or email marketing with some success, but what about connecting with a reputable influencer in your industry to promote your products or services to their loyal customer base?  

2. You'll gain useful data 

Diversifying your channels allows for tailoring and testing. What works on one channel may not work on another, but having the freedom to test this and get real data on where your marketing spend is working can be a powerful tool for online growth (and that all important return on investment). You may be seeing lots of clicks on Facebook ads with limited transactions, or less engagement on Instagram but great purchase numbers. This kind of data allows you to focus your efforts where it is best placed and limits you wasting your time and resources.  

3. You can get closer to your audience  

Expanding your online marketing outside of the likes of Facebook, Instagram or Google Ads can open up a world of growth opportunity. Diversifying to work with online partners such as bloggers, price comparison sites or voucher code sites will give you access to their loyal audiences that share your brand vision and values. Your products will appeal most to audiences passionate about the same things, whilst they research for that mood-boosting payday treat or birthday gift for a loved one.   

Having control over this choice of who to work with as well as how their brand boosts and reflects yours is important for you to make your mark. 

  4. You can be prepared for the future 

The cost-of-living crisis and changes in online consumer behaviour have seen a shift in how small online businesses need to interact with their customers. Diversifying and testing channels sooner rather than later will protect your marketing investment, build for busy retail seasons, and get you ready for market changes. Be proactive and get prepared ahead of time with a range of tried-and-tested online channels so you can make quick decisions on where to put your time and money.    

5. You’ll get results 

Stepping outside of the norm can be scary for small online businesses, especially with smaller budgets, limited time to invest in setting up new channels, and so much personal investment at stake. But being brave online can bring incredible results. Channels like affiliate marketing can be a great way to step outside of your comfort zone in a low risk, supportive and low commitment environment. Because it is fully trackable, measurable and you only pay for successful sales, affiliate solutions that are setup for beginners or small businesses can be a great tool to test the water. 

Don’t just take our word for it, hear from some amazing small businesses who are diversifying their channels into affiliate marketing and growing online: