Internet Marketing Rationale for Local SMBs
More and more people come online and are staying online longer every day. These users are buying more online now than ever before with many relying on the Internet as their primary source of local products and services. 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. For those that don’t invest, they remain invisible to a growing portion of the local 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, video with digital quality picture and sound and applications running as nimbly as if they were running 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 networks. The explosion of highly specialized user generated content available on these social networks and other popular sites like YouTube and others have increased peoples reliance on the Internet, which for many, now has become their primary source of local business information.
As more businesses and consumers turn to the Internet first for product and services information, it’s Internet Marketing for SMBs that becomes even more critical, particularly if the business is a local services business where online visibility within the local market is key. Local services businesses, in particular, need to ensure that their businesses are listed in the local search results of in-market users for at least the most popular local search spots.
By way of example, imagine you are a financial advisor building a practice in the Albany, NY area you are probably 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 Google Local: financial advisor, Albany, NY:
As you can see, the list of your competitors for this potential investor is long and if you are not in the search results, people using Google Local to locate financial advisors will not find your business. It is as if your business is invisible to a segment of the market which could be substantial. This kind of prospect garnered through Internet Marketing is valuable as they are actively searching for the very services you offer.
The takeaway is that Internet marketing represents a great opportunity for local SMBs, particularly local services business. Internet Marketing, and local search in the example above, provides valuable visibility to a growing segment of the local market who turn to the Internet first to find information on the local products and services they are interested in at a time when they are ready to buy .
Internet marketing solutions for small and medium businesses are affordable with directly measurable results. Getting started can costs less than a single print advertisement!