If you’ve never before considered online marketing a central part of your marketing strategy, now is the time to start. Everything from locating services to shopping is moving online, and every business will have to center its strategy around this movement in order to keep up. Yet many of today’s companies still treat online marketing as an accessory to standard print, TV, and radio marketing. If you happen to find yourself amongst the online marketing skeptics, here are five key reasons that every business needs to focus on online marketing right now.

Save on marketing expenses.

Print, TV, and radio advertising are still great methods for reaching an audience, but considering how much the Internet defines how we communicate, consume media, and make purchasing decisions on a daily basis, the Internet offers an advertising medium that is just as effective—and much more affordable. Online marketing eliminates much of the costs once dominated by expensive printing materials, filming equipment, and acting and voice talent. Of course, spending a little extra than most on your online marketing budget will set you ahead of your competition and make your online marketing efforts much more effective.

Get found on Google.

The complex algorithm that determines what a person’s search results are after typing in a Google inquiry has so many frequently changing factors that it can be hard to keep up. Having a well-designed website, creating good content, being linked to from other sites, and more all play a role in determining how high your website ranks. In other words, getting found on Google these days takes much more than simply having a website and stating your mission on the home page. You need to optimize your website on the backend, create great content on a regular basis, engage with your customers on social media, and more.

Meet the people where they are.

A truly great business will be web user friendly. More and more customers are turning to the web to locate services, and more and more of them are going online for their shopping as well. Putting your focus on online marketing will prepare you to be found by these potential customers and will make you a strong candidate as customers make their online buying decisions. In addition, if you operate on a brick-and-mortar/eCommerce business model, you’ll point your customers to your 24/7 retail location, your website.

Build your brand.

Online marketing gives your business an opportunity to define its brand in a way that no other advertising medium can offer. You can quickly and easily initiate a marketing campaign over several social media platforms, and you can tailor your website to create just the right atmosphere and professional appearance for your audience.

Get to know your audience.

Remember: online marketing is very much a two-way street. You send out information and media to an audience, and they engage with it, often responding with comments and ‘likes.’ This gives you the unique opportunity to get feedback from your potential clientele and get to know what their needs and wants are.