When potential customers visit your website, what do they experience? Are they invited into your brand’s world, made to feel at home, and told a few stories?

These days, brands that want to thrive need to have a strong digital presence. That means investing in a digital marketing strategy and making every effort to meet your audience where they are: Online. If you’re still not convinced, here are seven reasons you need to invest in digital marketing.

1. The World Is Online

When you’re trying to promote anything, you need to go where the people are. These days, they’re online. Starting with the Millennials and extending into Gen Z, many of the people you’re trying to target are digital natives. They may not have been born with a smartphone in their hands, but they sure can’t imagine life without one now.

Today, the vast majority of people in the world have internet access. More than five billion people use a mobile phone, use the internet, and are on social media.

Not only is the majority of the world online, many people now think digital first. What’s the first place people look when they want an answer? Google. If someone wants to find a new restaurant, get a new hairdresser, or buy a new product, where are they going to head? The internet.

With a digital marketing strategy, your brand will be waiting to greet them with open arms.

2. You’ll Create Connections

Digital isn’t just where people are. It’s where there’s a chance to build lasting connections. You can reach out to people in far-flung places and build real relationships with them, in a way that previously wasn’t an option.

For example, if you start blogging on your website, you can leave comments open to give people a chance to respond. You can start a dialogue with your customers and potential customers right on your site.

Social media also gives you a chance to connect with your audience in unprecedented ways. You can respond to concerns, listen to feedback, and, of course, bask in praise, all thanks to comments, likes, and messages on social media.

3. You’ll Save Money

Digital marketing doesn’t just help you win fans and customers. It does all that while costing way less than traditional marketing efforts. Depending on the digital marketing efforts you use, the cost can be free to a few hundred dollars per click. Free digital marketing includes blog posts written by your team and shout-outs on social media. Paid marketing efforts include influencer posts, guest posts, and pay-per-click advertising.

4. You’ll See What Works (and What Doesn’t)

You know digital marketing is more budget-friendly than traditional efforts, but what’s the actual return on investment? That’s the beauty of going digital. You can see what’s working for your brand and what’s not, in real time. You can then make adjustments to boost your ROI and get more bang for your buck from digital.

To keep tabs on the success of your digital marketing strategy, you’ll want to make note of a few key performance indicators (KPIs). For example, let’s say you hire someone to write a guest post that appears on a popular blog. The day the post appears, your website traffic jumps 200%. That’s not bad.

But, it gets better. That same day, your website doubles its sales. Instead of 50 sales in one day, you have 100. You can look at the referral links and trace the traffic to see how many of the additional sales were due to the blog post. Guest posting may be a viable method to use going forward.

Now, let’s say you hire an influencer to create social media posts about one of your products. The day their post goes live, it’s crickets on your site. You don’t see a boost in traffic at all.

That doesn’t mean using influencers isn’t a good tactic for you. It may mean that a particular influencer’s audience is the audience for you. You might try again, working with a different influencer or with several, until you find one who is a good match.

5. People Will Find You

Search engine optimization (SEO) is an essential part of a digital marketing strategy. The beauty of SEO is that it allows people to find you. They come to you, rather than your brand actively seeking them out. The other beautiful thing about SEO is that it’s free. When your website is at the top of the search engine results, you don’t have to pay anyone for that ranking. You did it by optimizing your content for the relevant keywords and following other SEO good practices.

Those good practices include:

  • Optimizing your website for mobile users (remember more than five billion people go online on a mobile device).
  • Creating relevant content (aim for “EAT”: Expertise, authority, and trustworthiness).
  • Keep your content up-to-date (a perfect excuse to update your blog posts from 2017!).
  • Creating strong backlinks.

SEO is about more than your site’s content. How fast it loads and URL length also affects SEO. For better ranking, remember to keep things simple.

If you’re not sure how or where to start with SEO, a digital marketing agency can guide you through best practices.

6. You’ll Seem More Human

Those “Stars, They’re Just Like Us” columns resonate with readers for a reason. People want to see that other folks around them are human, too. That extends to the marketing sphere. People want to feel like their favorite brands get them and understand. With digital marketing, your brand has a chance to show off its human side.

How? The best way is by using your digital marketing strategy to tell your brand’s story. Think about your company’s mission and purpose. Then, share that with the world on your website and social media. Customers want authentic brands, they want to know that you’re driven and are working toward the greater good. They also want to work with brands that share their values.

Another way to seem more human is to connect with your audience on an emotional level. When deciding what type of content to create and share, focus on emotional, moving stories. Have an employee share their story of overcoming hardship or let a customer share how your product changed their life, for the better. If you work with influencers, get them to connect your brand to an emotion, too.

Digital marketing gives your brand a chance to connect with its customers, which also enhances your humanness. When a customer takes the time to leave a review or comment on your social media posts, take the time to respond or say thanks. That extra effort to go the distance will go far.

7. Digital Marketing Connects to Other Marketing Efforts

As you embrace digital marketing, you don’t have to throw away traditional marketing approaches and strategies. In fact, the two should go hand in hand. Your digital marketing efforts should work in tandem with your traditional marketing efforts.

For example, you might launch a digital campaign with influencers, then use those influencers in your TV or outdoor advertising. You can create a blog post, then turn that post into a radio spot or magazine advertorial.

There’s no need to throw the baby out with the bathwater when you adopt a digital marketing strategy. Think of it as a supplement or addition to what’s already working for your brand and you’re sure to be pleased with the results.