We understand that today, a business must utilize a variety of marketing mediums in order to be successful. Traditional print advertising such as newspapers and phonebooks have become virtually obsolete - with readership decreasing at an alarming rate. Even smaller companies must reach beyond their traditional marketing methods. Local Businesses must have an online presence to survive but with so many advertising methods now available, it is more confusing than ever. We want to help you sort through the options and decide which angle is going to work best for your business.
Did you know that to this day, half of all businesses in the United States do not even have a website yet? I was shocked to hear that, because it kills me to hear how much money in sales business owners are giving up just by not having an online presence and the ones who do have a site, do not have an online marketing program in place or really know what they should be doing to get customers to their site.
Also, the biggest thing that is a problem with businesses that already have a website is that they relied on their web designer to optimize their site for them. The sad truth is that most web designers know nothing about SEO on-page optimization. That is completely different than designing pretty graphics and uploading them. Did you know that over one billion of all searches each month are now locally focused? That’s huge - and local search is just starting to catch on. It’s not like some new trend that is here one day and gone the next. Bottom line is that marketing your business on the Internet is here for good and for other companies who saw the change coming and positioned themselves for it, business has boomed.
The good news for you is that you’re not too late. In the very near future “everyone” will be going to the Internet to locate and find information on local businesses. We are almost there now. Google and the other major search engines have come a long way making it easier and more geo targeted to the relevancy of what you are searching for.
When consumers type "plumbers in Andover Massachusetts" into a search engine like Google, they expect to get results on who is offering plumbing services in Andover and for that growing number of consumers, the businesses who show up in a meaningful way, will be the ones who get the jump on the sales. Businesses with a quality online presence are seen as more reputable and current.
Now, in reality, there are actually some very good reasons why local businesses haven’t jumped on the Internet "bandwagon" like they should. The first thing is that — up until now — it hasn't been critical. In the past, the majority of consumers were not looking for local businesses online, nor did they expect local businesses to have an online presence. In fact, in the past, getting people to the websites of local businesses took a bit of work, but not anymore! We’re happy to say that "times have changed"
People are not going straight to the yellow pages anymore to find a local business as they did a few years ago. If your business is dependent on the Yellow Pages or other offline directories, you are going to get a rude shock. Offline directories like the Yellow Pages are just no match for what the Internet can provide consumers. With local online search, customers can find you, learn about you — effectively becoming "pre sold" and boosting your credibility from the start. Plus, if you have a physical store, they can get store hours, maps to your store and much more. Side benefit — this cuts down on routine "when do you open" and "how do I get there" phone calls. It also allows you to reach out and sell 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
But the reality is this - costs for Yellow Page ads and other print advertising are up and readership is flat to decreasing at best. So you’re paying more for less and this trend will continue, but online, it’s just the opposite. For local businesses, opportunities are opening up that are incredibly cheap, even free! Most local businesses, however, don’t know what they are or how to take full advantage of them. Google, Yahoo and other search providers are aggressively building local online search capabilities and once consumers catch on to the benefits, there is no going back. If you know how to get yourself properly listed as a local business in the search engines, there is a bonanza to be had.
Yes, local search is becoming huge! But showing up in the search engines is only a small part of the "battle." Getting online effectively requires a broad and unique set of skills which is another reason why local businesses have been slow to fully reap the benefits of online marketing. With the right systems, however you can be in the right place at the right time when your prospects and customers are looking for you online.