How Small Business Marketing Has Changed
Small business marketing has undergone dramatic changes over the last few years.
On this website, you’ll find everything that you’ll need to make sure that your small business keeps up with the changes. And keep you ahead of your competitors!
So what are these dramatic changes in small business marketing?
Two examples illustrate what’s been happening.
Recently, a copy of Yellow Pages was posted through my letterbox. Nothing special in that you might think. It happens every year. But the key thing here is ‘posted through my letterbox’.
Yellow Pages has traditionally been A4-sized and a couple of inches thick. It was always too big to be posted through a letterbox and had to be left by the door.
The latest edition is a much smaller A5 size and is a about a quarter of an inch thick; small enough to be posted through the door. So Yellow Pages isn’t being used for marketing by as many small businesses. Why?
Quite simply, more people now go to the internet to find the information that they need rather than old-fashioned printed directories.
Yellow Pages recognises this and has Yelp, its online business directory.
But Yelp offers more than just listings to help consumers. It has reviews to help them differentiate between the various advertisers. It makes it much easier for the consumer to narrow down which businesses to approach.
Another example illustrates the other important development.
In 2007, I visited San Francisco, California.
The Golden Gate Bridge is a ‘must-see’ tourist attraction, so I thought that I’d make use of the city’s excellent public transport to go see it. I was staying near one of the direct routes to the Bridge and went to the nearest bus stop.
I couldn’t see if there was a bus to the Bridge mentioned on the bus stop’s timetable. So I asked a young woman who was waiting at the stop. She didn’t know, but pulled out a then recently-launched Apple iPhone and began looking at the bus timetable online.
At the time, I thought that this was pretty amazing. But now with smartphones being ubiquitous, it’s common, everyday, unremarkable!
And that’s the second development: that the mobile computers that are smartphones and tablets mean that people literally have the power of the internet at their fingertips wherever they go (subject to lousy reception!).
Small business marketing in the twenty-first century now means marketing online. For most small businesses, it’s likely to be the best way to attract more customers. Even traditional forms of marketing such as leaflets, print ads and business cards can be used to drive potential customers to your business website and other web ‘properties’ related to your business.
You might be thinking, ‘I’ve already got a website, so what’s the problem? My business is marketing online already’.Whilst a website is vital for a successfully marketing a small business online, it’s not the end of the story.
Think of it like this.
Imagine dropping a dinghy in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It’s going to be virtually impossible to find again. So you might fit a radio transmitter to it. You’d be able to find the dinghy again if you were relatively near it. That may be enough to keep tabs on it. But you may need to locate from further afield using a sateliite locator. This option may be better than the radio option, but it’s likely to cost more.
Your website is like the dinghy, bobbing around in the ‘oceans’ of cyberspace.
You’ve got to so something to make sure that potential customers find it when look on the web.
The three approaches aren’t mutually exclusive and can be used in conjunction with each other.
Search Engine Optimisation (’SEO’)
Most people when searching information on the internet will use a search engine. These are ‘gateways’ to the web, filtering billions of results to produce the ones most relevant to the user’s query. Google is the best known with the largest share of the search market, so that’s the one I’ll talk about in this article.
Google wants you to keep coming back to its search engine, time and time again.
You’re only going to do so if you keep getting information from its search results that give you the information for which you are looking. The search results at the top of the page and on the righthand side are paid for by advertisers. A proportion of users will click on these results producing revenue for Google.
So it’s in Google’s best interests to keep you, the user, happy.
As a result, Google employs some of the cleverest people on the planet to write the algorithms that power its search engine. They’re constantly working on improving it.
It’s not just the paid listings that are effective for small business listings.
The top listing produced ‘organically’ by Google can drive a large amount of traffic for the website in that listing. In fact, all the top 10 listings on page one of Google’s search results can produce valuable traffic to a website.
That’s the aim of search engine optimization: to get a website listed on the first page of Google (and other search engines) so that user traffic goes to the optimized website.
SEO can be quite technical when properly done. At it’s most basic, it involves using relevant keywords and phrases within the website and obtaining links from other websites to the website.
As we saw earlier, Google generates revenue from selling paid search listings on its search pages.
Google’s system is known as ‘Adwords’. Bing and Facebook have similar services called ‘Bing Ads’ and ‘Facebook Ads’ respectively.
Everytime a user clicks on a paid search result, the advertiser makes an automatic payment. The amount of that payment is based on an automated online auction. This type of advertising is known as ‘per-per-click’ or ‘PPC’.
PPC is not the only form of online advertising.
There are a variety of online advertising services, including Adwords and Bing Ads, that will allow you to place an ad on a specific website so long as it is listed in their inventory. Sometimes, payment is triggered by the number of views (’pay-per-view’ or PPV’) or is a specific amount for a period of time.
Social Media Marketing
According to Wikipedia:
Getting people to come to your website is only part of the equation. There’s no point spending time and money generating traffic to your business website, if no leads or sales are generated. That where ‘user experience’ or ‘UX’ comes in.
Using persuasive copywriting and making the website easy to navigate are more likely to result in a positive outcome for your small business marketing.
On this website, we’ll be looking at UX and how to make your website into a highly-charged selling machine!
Combine all these elements and you’ve got great small business marketing strategies for your business. Hopefully, one that will blow your competition out of the water!
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