Are you a small business owner who has been running a successful business for decades relying on your good reputation, word-of-mouth advertising and traditional marketing campaigns? If so, then that is great, but are you finding that even though your current marketing strategies are working and your reputation is creating customer loyalty and even bringing in new customers, that you might be living in the dark ages when it comes to the Internet?
Many small business owners have enjoyed success by relying on the same marketing methods that have continued to bring their business growth. They have spent years building up a great reputation and reap the rewards by seeing increased revenues. But oftentimes they have not made any updates to their website, if they even have one, and might find that the new guy on the block is starting to get a larger share of the customer base. Why might this happen? The new guy knows that the Internet is here and it is here to stay. He also recognizes the power the Internet has in the purchasing process.
Product purchases in particular, are more often than not, made only after the consumer does research on the web to see what their purchase options are, what others say about their potential purchase, price variations, and other variables that are taken into consideration before most of us buy anything. From cell phones to automobiles, most consumers make good use of all the available information on the Internet to make themselves more educated consumers. If the small business owner doesn't have an Internet presence, it is highly likely that his/her company will be overlooked. You have to be in the game to play the game.
Having an Internet presence is even more important when it comes to search. If you either don't have a website or it is not optimized for search, you will not even be in the running for potential new customers who are using search options to help them make their final purchase decision. This is not to say that you should discontinue what you have been doing with your marketing. If it is working and isn’t broken, don’t fix it BUT you can and should make some enhancements. These enhancements revolve around using the Internet to help market your business.
In addition to making sure you have a website that it is updated and optimized for search, you will want to utilize some form of social media marketing in your efforts. Social media is the new way to build your brand and reputation online. It’s a great, low cost marketing tool with a huge potential. To NOT make use of its benefits and advantages, would be doing a huge disservice to your business.
Small business owners are already plagued with trying to find enough hours in the day to get their current workload done, so it might be overwhelming to even think about adding yet another “thing” to do. But do not worry.
You don’t have to do it all and you don’t have to do it all at once. Take baby steps. Check out what your competitors are doing and which networking platforms they are hanging out on. Keep in mind that every business has different needs, every business owner has different time restrictions, and that there is no one right way to conduct social media marketing. It is for you to investigate, analyze and evaluate which techniques and platforms will be the best for your specific situation. Don’t forget while you are entering the huge World Wide Web, that there are other simple actions you can take to increase your online presence such as making sure your website is listed in Google, Yahoo & MSN as a basic minimum. Remember, if your competitors are listed, you want to be listed too.
For a basic video introduction to marketing, go to Small Business meet the Internet.