Until a few years ago, local small businesses had little or no interest in internet marketing. They thought that the internet was a complete waste of time so they focused on other methods of generating leads and acquiring customers. Today, at least some of them have built websites for their businesses. They understand that they can no longer ignore online marketing. The rest of them are yet to see the writing on the wall. Are you one of them? Does your small business have an online marketing strategy? The times have changed. When the world is online, this is where you need to be.
The vast majority of small businesses that run a website haven’t optimized their sites for search engines. They have just built a website. They don’t care whether it is built in line with their brand. They are yet to realize the importance of continuously improving and enhancing their online presence. And they don’t engage with their customers on social media. Needless to say, they are lagging behind their competitors who have gone online, progressively, over the years.
The ‘traditional’ business owner believes that the internet and online marketing are just fads. A professional marketer, on the other hand, sees the obvious benefits. Is internet marketing really important for your small business or is it just a fad? Can local businesses survive without a solid online strategy?
Whether you run a ‘traditional’ business or a futuristic one, online marketing isn’t something you can ignore. It is here to stay and the sooner you take advantage of it, the better. The good news is, help is at hand. Whether your business is in Los Angeles or in New York City, there are fantastic agencies that can help you get your business online.
If you are new to online marketing, here are some tips to get started.
Make sure that your website is optimized for devices of all screen sizes. Mobile search has surpassed desktop search and so if your website is not optimized for mobile devices, you are missing out on a huge opportunity. These days, almost everyone owns a mobile device with an internet connection. They use their tablets and smartphones to look up businesses online. If your website is not optimized for mobile devices, they will go to your competitors. Google also favors mobile optimized websites. Their Mobilegeddon update was meant to promote mobile optimized sites in mobile search results.
Voice search is here to stay
Keyword search is passé. Digital assistants are a new rage. Their functionality has improved considerably over the years and now they are becoming more and more popular with mobile users. Siri and Cortana have made life easier for a large number of mobile users. However, they present a unique challenge for marketers. They now have to optimize their site for mobile search.
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Sell on social media
Popular social media sites now allow businesses to sell directly from their platforms. Pinterest and Facebook have already introduced ‘Buy Now’ functionality. This gives marketers an opportunity to reach their target audience and increase sales. It benefits users as well. They can now buy stuff without leaving the platform they are on. With such exploding popularity of online channels, is it any surprise that the number of agencies and online marketing companies are just exploding in cities like New York?
Videos are going to gain even more popularity
YouTube still gets a large number of visitors per day. In November 2015, Facebook revealed that videos posted on their social media site get a massive figure of 8 billion views per day. Obviously, internet users love videos. Numerous studies have also shown that content shown within videos has much better engagement rates than content that contains plain text.
Top Reasons That Make Online Marketing a ‘Necessity’
The needs and expectations of your customers have changed
Almost every American uses the internet on a regular basis. When they hear about a new business, a vast majority of them look up online to discover more about that business. If they don’t find you there, you don’t exist in their world. Don’t expect them to pay a visit to your store to find out more about your latest offerings. Don’t expect them to look you up in Yellow Pages. These days, everyone expects you to have an online presence. In fact, businesses that don’t have an online presence are now being looked down upon as an illegitimate venture.
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Times are changing
More and more consumers now have access to online technologies. They have started loving and trusting online businesses and services. All of these factors have changed their behavior. Major breakthroughs in the internet and mobile technologies such as access to mobile phones and high-speed internet connectivity have made us more dependent on cloud services and the internet than brick and mortar establishments. In this scenario, businesses that ignore online marketing won’t be able to compete. You might still claim that internet marketing is not important to you today and you may be right, but think about the future. Invest in the long term.
Think about your competition
So you haven’t invested in online technologies and you aren’t keen on experimenting with online marketing either. What about your competitors? Just because you don’t use online marketing, it doesn’t mean that your competitors are also ignoring it. In fact, they could have already started conquering the online landscape and poaching your customers. A small business with a strong online presence looks a lot more legitimate than one that has no online presence at all.
Digital Marketing Improves Your Brand Reputation
Digital marketing has the power to attract targeted traffic to your website. These people are already searching for the product or service you offer. This makes it easy to convert them. If you have a solid website, you will be able to leave a positive impression on your visitors and convert them to buyers.
Digital marketing also improves your reputation. Satisfied customers are more likely to promote your brand online. They will recommend it to their friends and family on social media. Online shares and endorsements will open many more doors of opportunities and help your business scale new heights.
The most important reason to invest in online
Nowadays your consumers are spoilt for choice. In this scenario, you have to constantly remind them that you exist. When your consumers are online you also need to be online. An average person now spends a great deal of time on social media sites, YouTube, and Gmail. If you are there, your visibility improves. This is the most important reason to invest in online marketing.
Online marketing may not be ‘necessary’ for every business and you may be getting by without a website. This, however, does not mean that you should ignore online marketing. Your competitors may be using it and reaping rich rewards. By not investing in any kind of internet marketing, you are setting up your business for future collapse. So, read the writing on the wall (or in the digital screens) and invest in the future.