Change is the only constant, and you must have heard this proverb probably 100 times. What difference are we talking about here? The entire focus is on the trends of Digital Marketing – the plans, strategies, and tactics. Whether you have realized or not, the primary festive season in India has just ended, and this season was a significant comeback for most online retailers and e-commerce giants.
Etailers like Flipkart, Snapdeal, Pepperfry, BigBasket, and more, all claim to have exponential growth in their sales this year, and most of it coming from tier II and tier III cities and other rural areas of India. These markets are untapped and are believed to be the next battleground for businesses in the coming times.
A major trend shift
Earlier, small businesses had their entire focus on promoting their products and services through newspapers and other print ads, which was enough to bring new business. TV ads and commercial ads on the radio are considered to be expensive and unaffordable by these small business owners. These platforms are just not enough, and the same was the case in the buying behavior of the locals in the rural areas. The traditional method of shopping by visiting the local stores was the only option to buy apparel, accessories, and commodities.
The introduction of smartphones at competitive prices and enhanced 4G connectivity at cheaper rates are to be given the maximum credit for this turnaround in the marketing strategies for the success of small and medium-sized businesses.
With each day passing by, the marketing tactics of different businesses and industries are evolving exponentially. And, with the help of targeted social media and other digital marketing campaigns, even small businesses are making the most out of the accessible opportunities. With a limited marketing budget, the conversion is mindboggling, and the yield is way high.
Why small businesses should move a step further in marketing their offerings online
Even digital marketing trends have altered, and new ways of marketing have evolved with time. From newspapers to radio to television ads, to email and now, the current drift is towards the internet. It is evident that the change cannot be controlled, and businesses need to stay way ahead of the curve as this is how a business is proven efficient enough to reach its customers.
Going online, looking for more business is now practice as approximately 2.5 billion people globally use smartphones and invest almost 2 to 3 hours using different devices. The very first step they think of taking when looking for information about their needs and requirements is to look online. And, what if your company is not seen their, simple, they will pick what shows up. Small companies are generally not prepared to reach their potential customers online. Less than 1/3rd use tracking strategies and analytics on their website. Approximately 25% do not consider digital marketing. Worst, 2/3rd of SMEs do not even have a website at all. This traditional business scenario is changing fast in India, and even there is no other alternative to survive without these modernized promotional or marketing tactics.
Introduction of business opportunities in Rural India
With an increase in business opportunities in rural areas, there will be even a great boost in the new employment opportunities, thereby growing overall income levels of people. These scenarios, in turn, will have positive impacts on more small businesses penetrating rural India in diverse ways, and adopting digital marketing is one of the helpful ways for the same.
How is digital marketing in rural areas going to help small businesses?
If you would have tried visiting any random village or a tier III city in 2009, getting a proper reception on the phone was a real task. The rising competition between the telecom companies, their desire to enhance their customer base, and trying to be the best in the market are the reasons for improved mobile-network connectivity today in these rural areas.
As per the report by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), India has 493 million active internet users, after China, and this is just 36% of the overall population. Among these, 200+ million are rural residents, and 87% of the total numbers are frequent users of the internet.
With the availability of smartphones at competitive prices and cheap data plans with increased bandwidth, the overall small business penetration in rural areas is increased. Social sites like YouTube and Facebook, as well as online chatting sources like WhatsApp, are increasingly used in rural areas. Even the other social media sites like Tiktok, Instagram, and most popular search engine Google have shown good response across the rural population.
Owners of small businesses are needed to learn to target people using smartphones, who will help them spreading information about their products and services through digital sources. They should start taking every user or visitor seriously as these individuals are going to be big influencers in the coming time.
Benefits of digital marketing in rural India
With the enhancement in digital infrastructure, lines are blurring between urban and rural and rural areas are coming closer to cities. Mobile and the internet are bringing the rural population closer to urban inhabitants, and hence, rural India is becoming more familiar to urban business styles. Even small local businesses are creating their own online stores, investing in marketing plans, and having a digital marketing budget.
Digital information flows quickly and seamlessly amongst different groups or communities of people. Information regarding weather, fluctuating prices of commodities like crops and other useful business information can be made accessible by the NGOs or the government based digital sources like mobile apps to rural populations faster, which even are in the process right now.
Small scale industries are increasingly adopting digital marketing channels to improve and enhance their businesses. Farmers are introduced to modern farming methods that help them use good quality of agri-inputs like fertilizers, pesticides, etc and yield better crops. Not only this, Indian villagers who produce goods and commodities are being sold in big cities where the demand is usually high through digital sources as well as channels.
With a boost in consumption levels right in the rural areas are creating new employment opportunities, thereby growing disposable income– this, in turn, will have an optimistic effect on more small businesses targeting rural India in different ways.
The primary focus is to help rural areas in India grow their earning capacity by developing their business and living standards. With the inception of digital marketing for businesses in these areas, it is not far that India is going to have the world’s best economy.