The internet has revolutionized the way we shop and the way products are marketed online. Internet took over the traditional media due to being cost effective, measurable, and faster way to reach and convert prospective customers into actual customers. It is absolutely essential for today's businesses to interact with their customers online in order to stay competitive in this wildly changing technology, business, and financial world.
If you have a small business or planning to have one in the future, online presence is a must. Businesses that advertise their products or services solely through traditional media (brochures, newspapers, radio,…) will miss the opportunity to capture the segment of huge online market. And yes, it is huge!
Internet marketing = marketing of products and services over the internet.
Internet marketing for small business has an immediate online impact and connection with customers. The relationship between businesses and customers become more personal as they can communicate with each other frequently through updates, forums, blogs, social media, and many other channels. Imagine potential customers find you online and read great reviews and feedback about your business. It's an instant sale before sale.
The greatest thing about online market is exposure, of course. Internet marketing for small business lets you tell the whole world about your existence. Internet gives small business opportunities that were not available before.
Imagine that you're in restaurant business and have a small restaurant in Seattle, WA.
As of 2011 about 4,400 people search for the term "restaurants in Seattle" in Google every month. First website listed for this relatively noncompetitive term (for such a big city), gets about the half of that potential customer volume. That's at least 1,500 going to that first website every month (the lowest estimate). Even 10% of that (the lowest estimate) means that this business gets additional 150 customers every month for just this one term online. Internet market is huge! Do you see the value for your business?
Internet Marketing for Small Business
There are various ways to market your products and services online. Before I list them, let me assure you that, from my experience, most of your competitors know nothing about how to use these methods or not utilizing them in the right way.
I will list most common ones:
- Website. This can become your central command point. Everything else can be easily connected to it. There are free and paid methods that will help you rank and expose your website online. If you never had a website and don't know where to start – don't be afraid. It's not as hard as you think it is in today's world.
There are some direct methods related to promoting your business using websites:
- Search Engine Marketing or SEM (paying to advertise your website)
- Search Engine Optimization or SEO (free and easy to learn techniques)
- Niche Marketing (building small websites that rank fast with terms related to your main website and bring you desired website traffic)
- and others.
- Social Media and especially Facebook Pages. I can talk forever about how powerful this is for small business.
- Organic Traffic to your website. Help your potential customers by providing them with useful, quality information and answers. Gain their trust before they even visit your website.
- E-mail marketing. Get people sign up for your free newsletter or updates.
- Affiliate Marketing - paying sales commissions to other websites that promote your products or services.
- Mobile Marketing. More and more people use their phones to browse internet on the normal basis.
Afraid that you can't do it or don't have time?
Not sure if you can start expanding your business online?
Don't Be Afraid!
Easy to say, I know.
First of all, while this website is still small I'm able to provide free 1-on-1 advice. You have no idea how much joy I have when helping small business owners. Dear business owner, you just simply don't know what you don't know.
Get out of your comfort zone and feel free to contact me.
Most of the time, I like to utilize free (or cheap) tools and methods available online. First, because they are free (or cheap) and most people don't know about them. Second, people that don't know about these methods and their effectiveness really like to waste money on expensive tools/services.
Here are some tools that can help you start exploring marketing methods mentioned above: