We spend allot of time working with small and medium size business’s and something that comes up quite frequently is the misconception that Online Marketing is only for larger companies with huge budgets. While in the beginning this was somewhat true as it was only the larger companies that really had any kind of web presence this no longer is the case.
We have seen a huge surge in small and medium size business entering the online marketing world, whether it be their first website, their first attempt at online marketing, or simply just wanting to know how the web can benefit their business. The fact is that marketing your business online is more important than ever, and the web is truly the only place that can give you the closest thing to a level playing field with the big boys. In fact, niche online marketing, and local targeting of your business can not only put you on a level playing field but in some cases can actually put you ahead.
More and more people are using the web to search for local business’s from restaurants to plumbers to everything in between. The good old Yellow Pages book that you receive once a year has been relegated to service as a door stop or booster seat in most cases. Last year 54% of local business searches were done online versus the Yellow Pages . Its pretty easy to see where this trend is headed.
More than ever its time for small business to take a look at their marketing budgets and allocate more time to building their web presence than trying to get a bigger ad in the paper or sending out mailers. With such a diverse set of online marketing tools available to them its not only a cost effective option but can be more targeted, return better ROI, and provide better tracking of your marketing dollar.
Heres a perfect scenario of where web based marketing would be more productive:
You maintain a customer database and once every quarter you send out a flyer or marketing mailer to your existing customer base to let them know about promotions or new products. While you mail out to 1000 people you really have no way of knowing what percentage of those people actually read you advertisement and what action they took with it.
Using email marketing to replace marketing mailers or flyers you go from a quarterly advertisement to monthly newsletters. You send out a monthly newsletter that provides your customers with information about new products, promotions, and helpful hints that can make their lives easier. You deliver 1000 emails a month at a lower cost than your quarterly printed marketing and in return you get to keep in touch with your customer base on a regular basis, your able to see who opened your email, who clicked through to your website, you decided they wanted to stop receiving marketing, and a wealth of other statistics. All in real time!
What a great concept! Cheaper more effective marketing all using online marketing tools.
While email marketing is one part of a multi pronged online marketing strategy it can be highly effective in communicating with existing clients and even getting new ones. While its something that you can do in-house all statistics show that if you allow a professional marketing company to manage it for you it can deliver much better results.