For years, local businesses shunned websites and internet marketing because they assumed they didn’t need it. After all, being listed in the Yellow Pages was sufficient, right? These days, no matter if you serve a one-mile radius or a 10,000-mile radius, being online is a necessity.
1. People are searching for you.
Every day, people in your area are searching for businesses like yours. In Google results are the businesses who are listed online. Does yours show up? If not, you’re missing out on a lot of business. According to Google, 97% of consumers search for local businesses online. If your location isn’t already online, get it listed with Google Places for free.
2. People want to tell others about you.
With the rising popularity of review sites like Yelp, more people are telling others about local businesses. If you’ve got die-hard fans, your business might already be listed on Yelp. But for people who visit these sites to find out about great restaurants and shops in their area, nothing’s more frustrating than a business that doesn’t have a website link. Make it easy for customers to spread the word about your business by having a website as well as a filled out profile on review sites.
3. People want to get social with you.
Mixing business with pleasure is what social media’s all about. Even if you don’t “get” Facebook, Twitter and Google +, your customers probably do. And anywhere they’re hanging out is somewhere you want to be. Set up profiles on these social sites to connect with your customers and fans.
4. If you’re smart about it, you can rank in top search results.
Search engine optimization (SEO) isn’t rocket science. It’s simply the use of targeted keywords throughout the copy on your website that will lead people to you. A blog is a great tool to generate web traffic, and presents a wonderful opportunity to put those keywords into use.
5. Traditional marketing isn’t working like it used to.
If Yellow Pages, print ads and billboards were once your go-to marketing strategies, you’re probably noticing they don’t deliver the results they once did. That’s because internet marketing is pushing out more stagnant and less measurable methods of marketing. With internet marketing, you can track who visits your site, what they’re saying about your brand, and what they want more of. Ask a print ad to do that!
If you’ve resisted moving online to promote your business, make a commitment to ease into it in 2012. Start with a simple website, and build from there.