As the founder of a start-up that provides online marketing technology solutions for local businesses, I have spent countless years analyzing and understanding the difficulties that small business owners face when navigating the vast world of online marketing and promotion.
On a daily basis, I am researching and interacting with new business customers who could benefit from said technology. This means that I am analyzing their online marketing strategy from top to bottom. About 10% of the time I come across savvy local business owners who are “doing it right”. They are effectively promoting and marketing their business online to grow their customer base and build a brand. But I will tell you, 90% of the time, the local businesses I come across are sorely lacking when it comes to their online marketing efforts. These are the businesses that ultimately fail. It is absolutely amazing to me because there are so many simple, FREE steps you can take online to maximize your reach and grow your customers. Unfortunately, hundreds of thousands of business owners are just not realizing the potential of the Internet and social media.
Many business owners wrongly believe in the mantra, “If you build it, they will come”. While I admire that optimism, it is rarely the case. It doesn’t matter how great your product is, if you fail at marketing your business online, your efforts will be in vain.
Did you know that 97% of consumers go online to research products and services locally[i]? Did you know that 90% of consumers report using search engines to conduct research on businesses[i]? Did you know that more than half of small businesses don’t even have websites[ii]? If you do not have an effective online marketing solution, you are missing out to your competitors who do. If customers are not finding you during their searches, there’s no doubt about it: you’re losing business, and probably lots of it.
Your online presence is just as important, if not more important than your physical location. Take this statistic to heart: Businesses that make use of the web are expected to grow 40% faster and are nearly twice as likely to create jobs[iii].
[ii] Google’s “Get Your Business Online Initiative” http://www.gybo.com/
[iii] U.S. Chamber of Commerce. http://csr.bclcmaps.com/#!/projects/get-your-business-online
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