NJ small businesses need digital marketing tools protected

NJ small businesses need digital marketing tools protected

This month is National Small Business Month and there is no better time to uplift the voices of and honor the local businesses that make us proud to call the Garden State home.

In May, we honor the tenacity, creativity and sheer hustle of entrepreneurs who dare to dream big while operating on a small scale. The past several years have been tough on small business owners as we navigated the COVID pandemic, labor shortages and now, we’re dealing with rising inflation. Many of us are struggling to survive, let alone thrive in the current economy. To save on costs, many small businesses owners have pivoted to digital marketing due to the plethora of free and accessible tools available on social media platforms. We want to use this month to shine a light on the behind the scenes tools that small business owners use to help grow their business and reach new customers.

In the digital age, reaching the right audience is no longer a shot in the dark with hundreds of digital tools at our disposal. Unfortunately, as concerns over data privacy continue to swirl in Washington, lawmakers are considering legislation that would severely impact how many small businesses do business.

Tools like targeted advertising on social media are a great equalizer, allowing local businesses like ours to compete with more prominent national brands. We’re here to remind lawmakers that small business owners are front-line innovators and early adopters of digital technologies, and we need to protect access to these tools in order to succeed.

Research from the Data Catalyst Institute shows that digital advertising offers small businesses more opportunities than ever. Small business advertisers report a 39% growth in the past two years due to digital advertising. 82% find digital ads more effective than traditional media, and 80% say it helps them compete against larger companies. So, while big corporations grapple with billboards and TV spots, our fellow small business owners are embracing algorithms, analyzing click rates, and turning browsers into buyers.

We are owners of small, women minority-owned businesses in New Jersey — a boutique cosmetic company and a sports athletic apparel brand. Our passions are unique, but we have one thing in common: we harness social media to help create and grow our businesses. We’ve seen success and scaled our businesses by leveraging digital platforms and using the targeted advertising tools on Instagram and Facebook.At Hue Harmony Brand, a sports athletic apparel and life coaching brand, targeted advertising was a game changer. Our Facebook targeted ad campaign had around 100,000 clicks that resulted in more followers, potential business leads, and even helped to feed children for the Brand’s Powerful Energy Has Arrived Foundation. Targeted ads allow small business owners like us to find customers precisely where they are — online, scrolling through Instagram, at an affordable price.

As for LaMonique Cosmetics, our vita-mineral aromatherapy cosmetics line is now featured on eco-conscious customers’ Facebook feeds. We utilize third-party data to create more effective ad campaigns that reach customers looking for socially responsible beauty solutions. The data provides valuable insight into customer preferences and market trends, helping our business understand its audience.

Though our objectives are different, it’s clear that targeted ads and social media have transformed both of our businesses’ reach, connected us with customers, and fueled our growth. Sadly, we fear that potential regulations might stifle our digital lifeline.

What if the tools we rely on became unusable? What if privacy concerns overshadow our ability to connect with our audience? We have had to adapt to many challenges over the last few years, but restricting our use of digital marketing tools is an obstacle that we as small business owners are not suited to overcome.

Let’s preserve the agility that allows us to pivot, tweak and thrive. We urge our policymakers to consult the entrepreneurs in their districts. Listen to the coffee shop owner who runs Instagram giveaways, the vintage store owner who live-streams sales, and the food truck chef who tags their location. Let’s regulate wisely, fostering innovation while safeguarding our digital village because when small businesses prosper, communities flourish.

Vanessa Daniels is the owner of Hue Harmony Brand, a sports/athletic apparel company that offers life coaching and sports leads for athletes. Monique Glover is the owner of LaMonique Cosmetics, a trendsetting online cosmetics store that offers mineral-based cosmetics.

Originally Appeared Here