You've probably tried traditional marketing methods in the past. Or perhaps you've just started a business that you want to scale...And now you wonder:

Does Digital Marketing Work for Small Businesses?

Yes, digital marketing works very well for small businesses. The different digital channels allow you to reach your target audience in various ways. Once you discover the right channels and start using them properly, you'll be set for success.

But how am I so certain about it, you may ask?

Well, I run a Boutique Marketing Agency in Spokane, WA, and have almost two decades of experience in the field. We work mainly with SMB owners, and building a strong online presence has been the key to their growth.

Our colleagues at the KB agency said it right:

"Ignoring online marketing is like opening a business but not telling anyone"

Here are the main questions I'm going to answer in this article:

  • Why is digital marketing important for SMBs?
  • How it can help you grow your business?
  • What are the advantages of online marketing?
  • How much does digital marketing cost on average?

The Importance of Digital Marketing for a Small Business

With the above quote, I gave you a concise answer to the question, "Why digital marketing is important for small businesses?" I also have another article that will help you gain a broader perspective.

So, for the sake of this post, we'll look at some numbers:

statistics emphasizing the importance of digital marketing

Small business statistics provided by FlairHR show that:

Over 90% of consumers buy from brands they recognize. Can you build brand awareness using traditional marketing strategies when operating on a tight budget...Good luck with that!

An effective digital marketing strategy can increase a small business's customer base by up to 40%. Based on my experience working with SMBs at Ernst Media, this number is even higher.

In the past two years, 60% of small businesses have increased their digital marketing budgets. That's a very clear indication of what works and what doesn't...I believe you'll agree.

31% of SMB owners believe larger companies have an advantage because of more significant advertising budgets. I bet most of them have never used digital marketing channels.

So, What is the Scope of Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing encompasses a wide range of activities and strategies used to promote products or services on the Internet. These can be PPC advertising for quick results, search engine optimization for long-term benefits, or Social Media marketing for connecting with your potential customers.

Now, let's talk more about business growth.

How Does Digital Marketing Help Small Businesses Grow?

Digital marketing is an indispensable tool for small business growth. Having a successful strategy levels the playing field, allowing you to compete with larger companies.

Not by trying to outspend them but by better optimizing your marketing campaigns.

With TV advertising, the biggest spender always takes the prime time, right? However, there are digital marketing techniques you can use to beat the deep pockets.

That's what we do at Ernst Media to help small business owners scale.

I'll give you two quick examples:

Paid Search Google Ads

When we run Google Ads for a small business that isn't a recognized brand, we often bid on their competitor's company name. Here is what I mean:

Let's say you run a small family Italian restaurant, but there is also a Buca di Beppo in your area. I'm a town visitor and want to eat Italian for dinner.

I know Buca di Beppo and will do a Google search to see if they have a restaurant nearby. Then I see your ad with nice photos and positive reviews from existing customers.

Chances are, I'll be like..."That's a nice-looking local Italian restaurant. Let's eat there."

That's a very effective digital marketing strategy, but it requires knowledge and skills...Setting up proper bids, crafting appealing ad copy, and a bunch of other little tricks used in search engine marketing.

Content Marketing & SEO

Most big companies have websites and publish plenty of content. But their blog post topics are all over the place and often feel like advertising...There is no solid SEO strategy.

I think it was Seth Godin who said, "Real Content Marketing Isn't Repurposed Advertising"

What we do is drill down on the industry and discover sub-niches closely related to the client's business. Next, we find keyword phrases that people use when looking for information. Then, we create educational content that focuses on the user's needs and is optimized for search engines.

This digital marketing strategy allows us to:

  • Outrank big companies with better topical authority
  • Provide the answers folks are looking for and build trust
  • Drive website traffic and get lower costs for Google Ads

But how do you make sales or generate leads?

If people land on your site from the search engine results pages, they're interested in your products or services. Each article will attract folks who are at different stages of the marketing funnel. So, you need the right digital marketing skills to convert them from visitors to customers.

These were just two examples of how you, as a small business owner, can compete with big companies. I have another article on the 4 types of digital marketing that work best for SMBs.

What Are the Key Benefits of Digital Marketing for SMBs?

Whether you'll use the advantages of search engine marketing, social media platforms, or SEO-optimized blog content...In today's competitive market, advertising your business online gives you many advantages. Plus, there are different key performance indicators for measuring your results.

Here are the top benefits of digital marketing for small businesses:


visualization of the digital marketing benefits for small business owners


Digital marketing is more affordable than traditional advertising methods, making it accessible for small businesses with limited budgets.

Wider Reach

It allows small businesses to expand their market beyond local boundaries. E-commerce companies or digital service providers can even sell abroad.

Targeted Advertising

No traditional marketing method allows you to be so precise when trying to reach your target audience (specific demographics, interests, needs, etc.).

24/7 Marketing

Online campaigns run around the clock, allowing small businesses to reach potential customers at any time. They can also be set to run during specific hours.

More Sales

Knowing when, where, and how to find your target customers drives more sales. For SMB owners, online channels are the easiest way to achieve this.


All paid advertising campaigns online can be quickly adjusted based on performance data to increase conversions and keep the marketing budget in check.

Brand Awareness

When consistently utilizing digital marketing campaigns, that online presence helps small businesses build and maintain brand loyalty.

Connection with Customers

Social media marketing, website chat integrations, replying to blog comments, etc., allow business owners to build relationships and increase customer retention.


Last but not least, digital marketing efforts can easily be scaled up when things are working well or scaled down during slow business periods.

To get the most out of your digital marketing campaigns, you must avoid the mistakes that small businesses often make.

And now, the most important question on your mind...What's the cost?

How Much Does Digital Marketing Cost for SMBs?

According to TheeDigital, the average monthly cost for digital marketing services ranges from $500 to $10,000. My experience tells me that small businesses should start with at least $1,000 monthly to achieve noticeable results.

Most SMB owners who work with our boutique marketing agency spend an average of $5,000. When onboarding a new client, we recommend an initial budget of at least $2,000 to quickly gain traction and cover all costs (ad spend and account management).

If you're interested in Google Ads in particular, you can read my article about the cost of Google advertising for small businesses. If you want to know the average cost for SEO services, check out this blog post.

Do You Need Help Getting Started?

I Do FREE Consultations 5 Days a Week!

work with a boutique digital marketing agency to grow your business