Internet Marketing for Small Businesses: Giving You a Distinct Advantage

Video: Growth of Small Businesses

Learn how small businesses are picking up in the market.

The Internet has leveled the playing field and allowed small, savvy business owners to compete with bigger corporations and dominate their local market. The speed and flexibility of the Internet offers small businesses access to an inordinate amount of real time marketing information and cutting edge techniques. Business owners can easily test and tweak their marketing message, establish brand recognition, and use low cost, online marketing channels that produce high conversions. Internet marketing is one of the best ways for a small business to gain a powerful advantage in the marketplace, and create extremely profitable marketing campaigns.

The biggest indicator of the growing trend toward local searches is the changes Google has made on their site.

The latest research shows that local buyers are heading to the web in massive numbers before deciding where to shop in their community. This is a huge shift in the behavior pattern of buyers, and one that is only getting more pronounced. In 2008, search engines were the number one way that consumers searched for information on local merchants, while the use of print ads and yellow pages is declining. Even more interesting is that the majority of those searching online for local merchants were in the final stages of the buying process and took action based on the information that they found.

The biggest indicator of the growing trend toward local searches is the changes Google has made on their site. Google, who is always interested in giving the end user the best experience possible, witnessed the rapid rise of people searching for local terms, and changed the structure of their site to accommodate this trend. They created local Google maps which display at the top page of local search listings, and have even started displaying searches and ads based on the geographic region of the person searching. This is no fad – it's a highly visible trend.

The ability to target eager buyers is just one of the reasons that businesses are coming online. Another important consideration is the ability of a company to craft and hone their marketing message with real time data. The Internet allows a business to track all sorts of information on their visitors; where they live, how they found the site, how long they stay, what pages they visit, what they read, and more. There is also a wealth of market research to be found online in forums, blogs, and other social media sites. The ability to test and tweak their marketing message, and see immediate results in their sales, is another powerful advantage that the Internet provides.

The low cost of doing business on the web is another important factor that is bringing businesses online. The cost of creating an online presence and marketing it effectively is very minimal. Even more appealing is the technology and low cost systems available that allow small businesses to automate the follow up process and many of the repetitive online marketing tasks.

Yet another appealing aspect of an online business is the reach of the marketplace and the 24/7 marketing that occurs. The Internet allows you to instantly reach a global audience, and keep your marketing campaign running non stop. You can also handle many of your customer service needs online, and possibly products displays, alleviating the need for large retail space, and trimming overhead and employee costs.

Finally, the Internet allows you to have a more interactive conversation with your prospects and customers. By taking advantage of the social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter, you can develop deeper relationships with your target market. These relationships lead to much higher conversions and create a base of loyal customers who will act as marketers on your behalf, directing friends and family to your site.

Internet marketing for small businesses is critical to remain relevant in today's marketplace. Consumers are transitioning to the web in record numbers, and even local buying habits are changing to reflect this shift. Just as important, the Internet affords local businesses the ability to converse with their target market, and run an effective marketing campaign with minimal investment. Perhaps the main reason, however, that the Internet has become so important to small businesses, is the simple fact that, after establishing an online presence, companies almost universally see a significant increase in their profitability.