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April 28, 2009

Small Business Survival – Market Online or Die

A recent report by Borrell Associates predicts that small and medium sized business will triple their non advertising spending online in just 5 years. That means a cool 1.63 billion dollars for online marketing that does not include PPC, Banner ads or other advertising. It is also expected that during this same time offline advertising will shrink to 19% of a marketing budget. With all that money going into the internet what will businesses be buying and how will it affect your business?

Non- advertising spending = web marketing to small business

Part of this phenomena is becoming clear; many small to medium sized businesses consider any money they spend on the web to be “marketing”. Unlike offline budgeting which divides budgets into categories like: advertising, building maintenance, PR, marketing and sponsorship a new majority of business do not distinguish between web related expenditures.  To them it is all “marketing”

The best way to market online is not to market at all

On one hand everything you do online can be marketing while on the other the most effective tactic is not marketing. This makes measuring the success of online promotional programs nearly impossible for the average business owner who is used to putting out an ad and waiting for customers to call or walk in the store.

This attitude is indicative of a widespread lack of understanding about what really works online. There has been a fundamental shift in marketing that has accompanied the internet. This shift is simple but profound. You cannot sell anyone anything online they have to want to buy it. Why? Because online – the user is in complete control – period. Your customers can compare prices, features and plans in seconds. It is literally easier to click away form most pages than to navigate them.

Consumers are accustomed to landing exactly on the information they seek and have less tolerance for confusing navigation and irritating shopping carts. This means that money spent on creating a customer buying path or streamlining your shopping cart process can pay off.

Websites are not books plus nobody reads the table of contents

Website visitors are entering your website on pages other than the homepage which means that your primary message needs to be clear throughout your website. No matter what your business is, people are searching for relevant information. They have a problem and want to know if you can help them solve it. This concept is nothing new, yet the vast majority of business websites still continue to focus only on themselves or make visitors jump through hoops to find a contact number.

How do you know what your visitors really want -start with the questions people in real life ask you. Write down the top 5 questions, problems or concerns your customers have. Now write the answers just like you are speaking to a real person. Be specific and substantiate your claims.

Make sure the content is clear, simple and not full of jargon or sales speak. Give examples like: “A client came to us with ____ and we helped them _____. ” “Our pricing programs are individual and based on _____ , ______, and ______. ”   Always include a call to action and whenever possible make it personal. These examples would be: “We would love an opportunity to answer your questions in person, please call 123 234 6789 and ask for Mike Williams.” Or “Are you finding what you need? If not, one of our operators would be happy to help you find the item you are looking for and answer any questions. We look forward to speaking with you, just call 123 234 6789″

Your customers expect to find the information they want online and businesses large and small are finally wising up to this fact: without an effective web presence – your company might not exist. The good news is that standing out online can be as simple as providing more specific and relevant information that people really want.

Jan Riley is the CEO and founder of LeadMastersUSA, a website marketing company founded in 2004 and based in Atlanta, Ga. Her entrepreneurial spirit and internet experience along with a talented staff has made LeadMastersUSA synonymous with innovative marketing tactics, increased ecommerce profits and business websites that build relationships. We believe that the true power of the internet is NOT technology – it is communication. People buy from people. Discover how your website can connect, capture and convert visitors into customers with our 3 minute weekly video series at www.LeadMastersUSA.com You can contact Jan at 678 318 7515.

9 Responses to “Small Business Survival – Market Online or Die

    avatar RANDYbb says:

    spokane lawyer

    grat stuff always fun to read

    avatar Small Business Survival - Market Online or Die | Axis Web Host says:

    […] Small Business Survival – Market Online or Die April 28th, 2009 | Categories: Webmaster Articles | Tags: Banner Ads, Billion Dollars, Borrell Associates, Budgets, Building Maintenance, Business Owner, Business Survival, Complete Control, Confusing Navigation, Control Period, Fundamental Shift, Marketing Budget, Medium Sized Business, Medium Sized Businesses, New Majority, Phenomena, Pr Marketing, Shopping Carts, Tactic, Time Offline […]

    avatar Madelaine says:

    You are so right! My belief too is that small business have an incredible opportunity to succeed online even in this economy.

    avatar club penguin says:

    very useful information, thanks Jan.

    avatar RANDYbb says:

    spokane lawyer

    grat stuff always fun to read
    P.S. – Sorry, forgot to tell you great post!

    avatar Ryan Shaw says:

    great article; thx

    avatar Increase Blog Traffic says:

    I will be using this article to help my small business clients :)

    avatar Prohome Income says:

    Blog is superb. It implies about the online marketing and its tactics which wont show it as an market and it will reduce the expenditure which made in the offline marketing…..

    avatar Fred Barber says:

    Advertising and marketing your company is not just about getting a website online and running a $200.00 ad in the local paper. If customers can’t find your website and their friends are all talking about your competitions sales and their websites then having your site is useless. With today’s technology there are many ways to advertise your website or your company without investing a small fortune that most small businesses can’t afford to begin with. You can begin by visiting websites just like this one and many more just like it and reading their ideas that they have on survival of Small Businesses. Then you can take what you have learned and apply it to your specific needs. There’s no sure fire way to advertise your company because every one of them have different needs what works for one may not work for the other. What one business can afford to spend the other may have to wait for a big sale or something to have the revenue to do. You have to be willing to invest your time into researching yourself what will be the best strategy for your small business.
    With today’s slow economy small business are hurting everywhere. I heard about a statement made from a noted Financial Advisor and he stated that most small businesses are cutting back and the first thing they cut back on is advertising. Wrong! That could prove to be a fatal mistake! Most businesses are offering bigger and better deals every day because they too are hurting and the best way to survive is to keep your name in the public eye. So therefore advertising should be one of the last items to scale down. Make sense to me.

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