While local phone books are still delivered door-to-door, spending dollars from a marketing budget to place a costly ad may not be as effective for businesses today. Consumers now rely on instant Internet access via their personal computers and smartphones to locate everything from lawyers and local restaurants to farmers markets and financial services… whenever and wherever.
For the business owner, it has become increasingly important to embrace these emerging online trends in order to capture the attention of today’s tech-savvy consumer who benefit from the convenience, expediency and expansiveness of the Internet.
Newspapers, magazines and elephone books may not be diminishing completely, but there are significant advantages to shifting focus from traditional advertising to online marketing.
BUILDING THE FOUNDATION
Like building a house, creating a strong online presence requires the creation of a strong foundation. A business Web site should function as the base of an Internet strategy, the core from which all other marketing initiatives and communications extend. Your business can have a customized Web site that works 24 hours a day, seven days a week to connect with friends and followers, engage clients and customers, increase awareness and generate new opportunities.
In today’s marketplace, a Web site is the first impression a person often has of any business. It is a critical influencer of whether he or she makes an inquiry or purchase. A Web site is the “21st century-version of a storefront” to online users. A great-looking site with the right words and features can positively affect a person’s perception of your business. It’s about shaping and molding your reputation in the online world… convincing potential clients and customers that your business has the competitive advantage in the local marketplace. With your distinctive and informative Web site, you can tell your story, convey your image and motivate your audience — the options are endless!
REACHING YOUR TARGET MARKET
A sizeable advantage of online marketing compared to traditional marketing is the ability to measure results in real time. It can be difficult to assess the direct sales impact from a print ad, but with search marketing, business owners can easily track the effectiveness of campaigns, and concentrate efforts on those that provide the highest return on investment through advanced analytics and performance tracking.
A potential client or customer may glance only once at an ad in the phone book. But with a strong SEO (search engine optimization) strategy, a Web site can gain long-term exposure and continuously appear front and center on a prospect’s screen every time a search is performed for the targeted keyword. Additionally, businesses do not have to wait weeks to see a significant boost in positive (inquiries, appointments, phone calls, reservations, sales) activities. With an online paid advertising campaign, businesses can experience real-time results and instant conversion ability.
“24/SEVEN” MARKETING FOR YOUR BUSINESS
The Internet has made it possible for businesses to promote their products and services in a manner that is “always on,”. Apart from word-of-mouth and building strong relationships with your audience (social media), a Web site is the most cost-effective marketing tool a business can have.
If you already have a Web site, now is the time to review its effectiveness. If your Web design is outdated, upgrade to a fresh look that clearly conveys your goals and professionalism. You should also update your existing content and messaging to ensure business information, product and service details, Google-map directions and staff bios are current.
It’s also important to perform searches periodically on Google and other major search engines. Who shows up on the first page when you search for locally? Is your business listed at or near the top? Are you even on the first page? Achieving a prominent position on search engines is key to attracting new business and generating new opportunities through your Web site. Because in today’s global, on-demand marketplace, your business must have a distinctive, search-friendly and socially-connected Web presence to achieve and maintain a competitive advantage.