Internet Marketing Rational For Local Small to Medium Businesses
The Rationale for Internet Marketing for Small to Medium Businesses goes something like this. More and more people come online and are consuming more of their media online every day. These users are buying more online now than ever before with many relying on the Internet as their primary source local product and service information source. Internet Marketing for SMBs is critical, especially for local services businesses competing to capture a growing segment of their local market, namely online shoppers and those turning to the internet first for local business information. Businesses investing in online marketing can gain competitive advantages by positioning their business to a growing segment of the market.
Internet marketing enables local SMBs to reach more users as today in the US, 3 out of 4 are online. More than 90% of the 170M + US Internet users access their rich media content through high-speed Internet connections. These high-speed connections enable rich media experiences include online gaming, digital quality video and audio and complex business applications running as nimbly as if they were executing locally. During recent years, the US online media consumption, on average, has nearly doubled from 2.1 hours / day to 3.8 hours / day. With increased online media consumption comes increased online sales. In fact, the US Depart of Commerce estimates that, as of November 2009, eCommerce has reach 3.7% of overall US retail sales as compared to.8% in 2000, representing a 362% growth during that period.
Further accelerating online media expansion and increasing the importance of Internet Marketing for SMBs is the emergence of popular social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Unless you consume zero media in your life, you no doubt have heard mention of these extremely popular social networks. The explosion of highly specialized user generated content available on these social networks and other popular sites like YouTube have increased peoples reliance on the Internet, which for many, has become their primary source of local business information.
As more businesses and consumers turn to the Internet first for local product and services information, Internet Marketing for SMBs becomes even more critical, particularly if the business is a local services business where online visibility to the local market is key. Local services businesses, in particular, need to ensure that their businesses are listed in the local search results of for the most popular local search engines.
By way of example, imagine you are a financial advisor building a services practice in the Albany, NY area. For advertising, one can imagine investing in print (yellow pages, newspapers, magazines, etc.) possibly TV, Radio and maybe even outdoor (billboard) advertising, but late to the Internet Marketing game. Now image a potential local investor is online and performing the following search on a popular local search engine: "financial advisor, Albany, NY."
If you run this search in any popular local search engine, you will see list of the of competitors for a potential investor performing this search is long. Businesses not in the search results are in essence, invisible to people using local search to locate financial advisors. This segment of the market who goes online first is a substantial segment of the market, many believing it the majority, and maybe more importantly, a segment of the market that is actively looking for products and services to research and eventually purchase. This kind of prospect garnered through Internet Marketing is valuable as they are actively searching for the very services offered by businesses online.
The takeaway is that Internet marketing represents a great opportunity for local SMBs, particularly local services business. Internet Marketing, and specifically, local search as illustrated in the example above, provide valuable visibility to a growing segment of the local market, a segment who turns to the Internet first to find information on the local products and services of interest.
Internet marketing solutions for small and medium businesses are affordable with directly measurable results. Getting started can costs less than a single print advertisement.