One of the biggest problems faced by the owners of older businesses is complacency. The old adage, “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it”, is bad advice for business, regardless of how tempting it may be for successful organizations. Just because a business is making the same amount of money they made in years prior, this doesn’t mean they aren’t losing market share to their competitors. Similarly, even if a traditional marketing campaign is bringing in a steady amount of customers, it doesn’t mean the business is maximizing its profits by using their marketing budget in the most cost-efficient way possible. Internet marketing is an efficient and cost-effective way to breathe new life into old businesses. This article will talk about some of the benefits an internet marketing can have for business owners who may have resisted in the past.
The simplest way for an older business to begin internet marketing is to get a website. Websites aren’t just for businesses that sell or operate online. Internet searching has become the main way people search for information about the products or services they need and the businesses that provide them. According to a study from Relevanza, 97% of all consumers search for local businesses online. Small businesses like plumbers and mechanics, who used to rely on telephone book advertisements or word of mouth can greatly increase the number of customers they get each month by having a website that searchers can easily find online. Basic information like address and the type of services a business provides means that internet users who search for things by zip code or location (e.g. searching for “plumbers near me”) will see the business in their results.
A good small business website should do more than serve as online business card. Besides the usual contact information and list of services, small business owners can use their website as marketing platforms that effectively turn visitors into customers. Just posting customer reviews on a website can be effective in building confidence in a business. According to a recent report, customer testimonials have the highest effectiveness rating for all types of content marketing, with a rating of 89%. Adding videos, blogs, photo galleries and more can do a lot to sell your business to prospective customers.
Social media marketing is something else that older businesses should consider using. According to Mediapost, 72% of adult internet users in the U.S. are now active on at least one social network, up from 67% in 2012 and just 8% in 2005. With such high adoption rates, social media is great way to connect with old customers and gain new ones. Many of a businesses old customers are already on social media, so business owners can use social networks to engage with their fans, offer specials and discounts, and reach new audiences with paid content or social sharing.
Having an up-to-date social media page has other benefits for a business. A Brandpoint study highlighted the importance of a presence on social media when they reported that of 68% of consumers check out companies on social networking sites before buying.
The internet also has solutions for businesses that want to use advertising on websites and mobile devices. Advertising online has a lot of advantages over ads on traditional media like television, radio, and print. First, it’s usually cheaper to runs ads on the internet that on other media channels. Videos advertisements can be shown on YouTube (which is more popular with young adults than any television network), Hulu (another thief of network television market share), and on mobile devices. Ads online can be much more targeted so ads are only shown to those who are most likely to buy the product or service. For example, car dealers can have their ads shown exclusively to people who recently did searches on cars or car-related issues. This level of targeting, coupled with the fact that many internet advertising networks are cost-per-acquisition based, means that dollar for dollar, internet advertising is far more cost effective than the alternatives.
For the owners of older businesses who are looking to keep their business fresh, internet marketing is the key to reaching new customers and staying connected with old ones. As the internet becomes more important to the way people search for information, having a website and properly using social media are less of an option and more of a necessity for businesses in the 21st Century. Many of the things can be handled business owners themselves if they have the time and the know-how. But if not, don’t hesitate to get assistance from an outside firm. Your online presence is the future of your business.