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Digital Marketing - Small Business

The question might be better phrased as, who doesn’t need digital marketing? The answer, for the record, is no one. This is probably not much of a revelation, however, as we’re probably all on the receiving end of digital marketing campaigns pretty much every day. What’s in your inbox right now? Shoe sales? Baseball tickets? A museum opening? Spend an hour online, and you’ll likely come to the conclusion that literally EVERYONE uses digital marketing.

And yet, no.

Who ISN’T Using Digital Marketing?

I personally know artists, musicians, and writers numbering in the hundreds who don’t have the slightest idea how digital marketing really works. I know app developers who actually have their own apps in the stores, who aren’t using even the most basic digital marketing strategies. I know vendors of HR software who don’t even have Facebook pages yet. I know wineries who still rely 100% on email. I know hair salons, cafes, and hardware stores that are still paying top dollar for the same monthly print ad they’ve been running for years.

In saying all the above, I don’t mean to disparage or demean anyone. It’s actually quite common for sole proprietors and small businesses to rely on either older, more familiar models, or single-channel approaches to newer methods.

The Truth About Small Businesses and Digital Marketing

Here’s an amazing statistic—as summarized in an article from Blue Corona entitled 29 Game-Changing Small Business Digital Marketing Statistics, 96% of small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) use social media marketing, but only 32% say they seriously invest in it! Here are two more striking stats from the same article:

  • 50% of small business owners use two or fewer software platforms or applications in their marketing.
  • Less than 30% of small businesses use website analytics, call tracking, or coupon codes.

From a recent study conducted by the team at Clutch, we can also learn that less than half of small businesses are engaging in digital marketing at all, and of the ones that are, over 70% of them rely primarily on social media as their channel of choice, while less than 40% have an SEO strategy, and even fewer are engaging in paid online advertising, and even fewer still are doing any content marketing. All this despite the near-universal agreement that digital marketing is an absolute necessity for any modern business to succeed.

So what’s the disconnect?

The problem is that there are very few learning options out there that truly impart a holistic, 360-degree understanding, that promote multi-platform fluency, and that provide real-world opportunities to master all the tools you need to know as a modern digital marketer.

360-Degree Digital Marketing

The team at HubSpot do a wonderful job of detailing the core components of a digital marketing strategy—you can find their post What Is Digital Marketing? here. Some of the key tactics they summarize are:

  • Content Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing & Advertising
  • Search Engine Optimization & Marketing
  • Email marketing

It’s important that you understand all of these if you’re to implement a successful digital marketing strategy. In addition to these tactics, it’s also a necessity that digital marketers know how to track, measure, and analyze campaign performance, and produce actionable insights based on their results, so that performance improves over time.

This is what is meant by a “holistic” or “360-degree” understanding of digital marketing. You have to understand all the platforms, all the tools, all the assets, and you have to know how to measure, track, and analyze performance across all the channels, in order to succeed.

And how do you learn to do all that?

The Digital Marketing Nanodegree Program

Easy! You enroll in the Digital Marketing Nanodegree program at Udacity! We have experts representing every kind of platform, every kind of asset, every kind of strategy—Facebook, Google, Hootsuite, Hubspot, Mailchimp, Moz, and more. We built the program with these partners because we believe a 360-degree approach requires 360 degrees of expertise.

(For a full summary of our curriculum, please see the What You Will Learn module on our program’s landing page, found here.)

Aspiring learners who want to launch digital marketing careers should definitely embrace this program, but so should individuals who run their own businesses, and so should small businesses who are ready to up their marketing game.

The Small Business Use Case For Digital Marketing

If you’re an independent contractor or sole proprietor, or part of a small business team, this is your opportunity to take a quantum leap forward, and discover a whole new level of success. Given all the statistics we’ve cited above, building digital marketing expertise can quite literally become the key point of differentiation against your competitors, and the critical factor that enables you to stand out from the crowd. As we’ve learned, it turns out not everyone is doing digital marketing after all, or if they are, they’re only putting a partial effort forward.

You don’t need to enlist an expensive agency, or spend exorbitant amounts of money. You may not even need to hire new talent. You may already have the talent in-house. You yourself may be that talent.

What you do need to do, is get started now.

When you consider the fact that the Udacity Digital Marketing Nanodegree program is currently available for $999, and takes only 3 months to complete, can you really risk not enrolling?

Christopher Watkins
Christopher Watkins
Christopher Watkins is Senior Writer and Chief Words Officer at Udacity. He types on a MacBook or iPad by day, and either an Underwood, Remington, or Royal by night. He carries a Moleskine everywhere.