Helping Small Businesses Grow

Is Traditional Small Business Marketing Dead?

Posted by admin | On: Mar 01 2012

Is Traditional Small Business Marketing Dead?
Has the sour economy, changes in technology or more aggressive competition caused you to sleep less, work longer hours and struggle to get the profitable results you deserve?

If you are the owner of a local business, you are probably suffering from a drop in demand for your products or services as a result of the economic recession most areas have been suffering from for the past few years. In fact statistics show that small local businesses are making 30% to 50% less than they were just a few years ago. Some of the businesses that comprise this statistic include:
– plumbers
– dentists
– locksmiths
– restaurants
– plastic surgeons
– accountants
– carpet cleaners
– contractors
– landscapers

Traditional Marketing Doesn’t Work Anymore
The fact of the matter is that the marketing techniques that were solid and reliable for local businesses to use to reach their market in the past are no longer working. This means Yellow Pages ads, newspapers and other types of hard copy advertising are simply not bringing in business. That’s because people simply don’t use them anymore.

Businesses that are still using such outdated forms of advertising are throwing away thousands and thousands of dollars on ineffective marketing every month. If you are one of those people still investing in such ads, ask 10 people where their copy of the Yellow Pages is. Most can’t tell you or will tell you they put it in the recycling bin shortly after it arrived. What does that tell you about the money you’re spending?

Consumers are looking more and more to the Internet to find information about the services and products they are seeking, even locally. Therefore if businesses want to reach new customers they simply must have a quality Internet presence. And that does not mean just a lame website that a kid could have put together!

Today’s most effective websites well thought out, interesting, personable and informative. They utilize a variety of savvy online marketing techniques in order to stand out from their competitors. If you have a site with no keywords in it and almost no backlinks, you are missing the boat and will never get to the top of the search engine results.

Specific Marketing Strategies
There are specific marketing strategies that apply uniquely to Internet marketing. If you’re not staying on top of these Internet marketing strategies and implementing them, your website will not get traffic and you’ll miss out on one of the most efficient, lucrative sources of new customers for your business.

One of the stumbling blocks keeping most local business owners from using online marketing strategies to grow their customer base is that they simply have no idea what needs to be done. Online marketing is so new and such unfamiliar territory for most business owners that they don’t know where to start. They spend so much time running their business, taking care of their clients and managing their staff that they don’t have the time to learn something new – especially something that’s constantly evolving.

Ask yourself a few questions:
– What are long-tailed keywords?
– What is keyword density?
– What is Web 2.0?
– How do you set up an autoresponder?
– How do you change the tags on your website?
– How do you create videos and audios for your website?

If you are like most business owners, you can’t answer these questions with much certainty. That is absolutely normal. You’ve wisely spent your time focusing on other aspects of your business – the ones that were crucial for you to master. But now you need to learn more! Finally, the time has come for average local business owners to discover exactly what needs to be done in order to effectively put an online marketing plan in place for their businesses.

Changes in Business
Today, most local business owners are running lean and hungry. They need more work. They need to get more customers in through the door. They need to adapt to the changing economy. Today’s business environment is in constant flux – specifically, the whole process of reaching your target market cost-effectively is nothing like it was even a decade ago. Understanding these changes and meeting the challenges they present is essential to the survival of your business.

Case in point: One local business was spending $8000 per month on Yellow Pages advertising that cost more than it was bringing in. It doesn’t take long before smart business people recognize this as fighting a losing battle, a big problem that needs to be fixed. So they stopped the ad. However, now they have an $8000 budget for marketing but don’t know what to do to get the best possible return on their marketing investment. Because they don’t know Internet marketing, they could easily pour those funds into online strategies that either fall flat or backfire. The learning curve is sharp and unforgiving.

But these entrepreneurs realize the Internet is the future. More than 2.6 billion local searches are performed online every month. This number grows by more than 50% each year. In fact, 80% of people search online before they make a purchase. Even more important, the vast majority of searchers look online for local services and products before they make a buying decision. They now prefer this type of search over Yellow Pages or the newspaper. Therefore business owners need to be online in an effective way.

The Potential for Exponential Profit
Using Internet marketing can easily result in an increase in sales of tens of thousands of dollars. This is amazing considering the sheer number of layoffs, crises, and more that people are facing. The old ways of getting business in the door are broken and they have to learn something new. Many people who thought they had retired find themselves just a couple of years later back working hard in business. They are the people who can use an Internet marketing plan to save their business and their livelihood.

By putting online marketing strategies to work, you are not only positively impacting your own business, you are improving your local economy. More money is being spent locally. With a steady stream of new customers flowing into your sales funnel, downsizing and layoffs become a thing of the past. In fact, your business will grow, despite the economy because you are reaching those who are looking to buy from businesses like yours. And that is what effective marketing is all about!

Online marketing has the potential for exponential profit. If you are not ready for your business to double or even more, stop reading now!

Statistics You Need to Know
The following statistics give you a glimpse of how people are using the Internet to find the products and services they need:
• 64% of U.S. Gross Domestic Product comes from local businesses.
• 4.2 million local small businesses have sales in the $500,000 to $20,000,000 range.
• Over 2.6 billion local searches are performed monthly – a number that grows more than 50% each year.
• 98% of searchers choose a business that is on page 1 of the results they get.
• 41% of clicks go to the #1 ranked site in a search.
• 12% of clicks go to the #2 ranked site in a search.
• 8.5% of clicks go to the #3 ranked site in a search.

These statistics show how important it is for your business to develop and implement an online marketing strategy to get your business to the top of the search engine results so when prospective customers go searching for you (without knowing your name or business name) they find you.

Stay tuned for the next Marketing Hot Wire issue which will outline the specific online marketing strategies you should develop and implement to help get your business get top search engine results.

Kevin M. Clark is a past Entrepreneur Of The Year Award Winner and is the author of “Kevin M.
Clark’s Guide to Marketing Your Business Online. Go to www.MarketingHotWire.com and get a
Free copy of this highly acclaimed new book. But hurry, this is offer is available for a limited time.

1 Comment

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