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Helping Small Businesses Succeed at Digital Marketing

Jim Continenza, chairman and CEO of Vivial, talks about why small businesses need to have an effective online presence, and shares tips for how business owners can do just that.

Jim Continenza

Chairman and CEO, Vivial

Can you tell us about how your company started? 

Vivial is the result of a print-to-digital transformation. We are a company with best-of-breed technologies and talented people working to help businesses build, implement, and optimize digital marketing strategies to reach consumers quickly and effectively.

Since our founding in 1910, we’ve been at the forefront of marketing solutions. What began as print advertising evolved with consumer behaviors over the next century. Our team of highly experienced product developers, engineers, marketers, and operational leaders have been at the forefront of the digital marketing revolution. This team led Vivial through our successful transformation and continues to pave the path for future innovation.  

Why is it so important for small businesses to focus on digital marketing right now?

According to Google, 86 percent of people rely on the internet to find local businesses and 60 percent of smartphone users have contacted a company directly after seeing them in search results.

The fact of the matter is, regardless of industry or location, people are looking for local providers online. It doesn’t matter if you are brick-and-mortar, e-commerce, or somewhere in between. One of your top marketing priorities needs to be increasing your online visibility and searchability — because it leads to greater brand awareness, increased web and foot traffic, and, ultimately, sales.

What is one technology or digital marketing trend that every small business owner should be embracing in the coming year?

Thanks to digital marketing, a customer’s journey is no longer linear. Instead, it is unpredictable. Consumers may switch between devices — desktop vs. mobile — or even move from online to in-store shopping. Regardless of the path, consumers expect the experience to be seamless. 

In 2021, the complexity will only continue to increase as technology evolves. Local businesses must leverage an omnichannel strategy to ensure consistency at every touchpoint. Additionally, consumers expect personalized marketing activities. One-size-fits-all messaging no longer works. They expect businesses to greet them by their unique preferences whether online, via social media, over text, or in person. 

How is digital marketing today different than it was a few years ago? 

The global expansion of digital marketing has been incredible. Local businesses can reach and interact with customers like never before. 

Take text messaging for example. It’s no longer reserved for Fortune 500 companies, but now available to the sole proprietor. And it’s no longer just simple responses to keywords. The evolution of messaging has been amazing. From two-way communication to multimedia messaging, businesses of all sizes can create personalized communication. And with the rollout of next-generation texting (rich communication services (RCS)), coming quickly, businesses will be able to strengthen their interaction with customers, increasing satisfaction and growing brand loyalty.    

What makes Vivial stand out from competitors? 

At Vivial, we share one mission: to help local businesses succeed. Each team member views the relationship between Vivial and our customers as a shared partnership, where their success is our success. 

This personalized approach, coupled with best-of-breed technology, means business owners have a dedicated team of experts to help develop, implement, and optimize scalable marketing strategies to fuel growth. We have the talent and technology necessary to tailor strategies for thousands of industries. We don’t accept a one-size-fits-all approach and neither should local businesses.  

What is your advice for budding and emerging entrepreneurs? 

Ensure you have a strong financial foundation on which to build. Once you’ve set the foundation, focus on what you do best. Leverage your team’s expertise and technology infrastructure. If you don’t have it internally, go out and secure it. 

Establish goals that are measurable and create a culture of accountability. Foster and demand open lines of communication, regardless of hierarchy. 

Finally, expect visionary leadership. Always seek people who can propose new ideas for your business. 

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