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Local Tek DEAR SMALL BUSINESS OWNER, This letter is written to help you understand the changes that are occurring which will have an effect on how you run your business and specifically on how you promote your business. The Internet is here to stay; historically small business has relied on legacy media, such as newspapers and radio, to promote their business as well as advertising only mediums such as billboards. These media types focus on one thing and one thing only, eyeballs. The question you have to ask yourself now is: Are there better ways to promote my business on the Internet? Is there something other than eyeballs that a business owner needs to think about?   You are likely very comfortable advertising with your local newspaper, Yellow Pages and radio station; the same salesperson has been visiting you for many years. You purchase month after month; he talks about the number of houses delivered to and the number of listeners. Has he mentioned anything about the 92 percent of newspapers that have reported a drop in readership or the major drop in print Yellow Page usage?   Before you think that you have a business that is immune to this shift or that since you do not sell a product online, promoting your business on the Internet is not for you, look at an example case where a business has grown by promoting itself online effectively.   This specific small business, a 3 person pet grooming salon in rural Missouri, had never had a web site because they had never thought that a pet grooming shop would need online promotion. The yellow pages and local newspaper seemed the obvious place to advertise; everyone had been doing it for years, right?   After someone came into their shop to discuss a small web site and targeted promotion on the web, they decided that having a web site might be “neat.” The company representative working with them also explained the concept of building the site to allow for targeted traffic that allows for higher customer conversions. This was a new concept to them; advertising had always been about viewers not necessarily focusing on targeted viewers that convert to customers.   The pet grooming shop decided to move forward and purchased both advertising and a web site. The advertising was targeted by community. Also very important was the targeting of the web site that was developed for them;. it was developed specifically to receive traffic for pet grooming customers in their specific rural town.   After just one month, the customer contacted their supplier and let them know that they had several new customers that let them know they found them on the web. What does this mean? It means that even in small towns, people are searching for offline businesses instead of going to the newspaper or flipping through the Yellow Pages. This is a group of customers that you, the small business owner, are missing.   For many years, small businesses have complained about corporate America ruining community businesses. The same thing has the potential to happen on the Internet. How can you tell? First ask yourself how you use the Internet or think about how your potential customers use the Internet. If the first thing that you thought was that this does not matter since you do not use the Internet, the thing you actually need to think about is the second part of the sentence, “think about how your customers use the Internet”. One of the major mistakes many long time small business owners make is thinking that since they are not users of the Internet that their customers are not.   Corporate America has had budgets to do marketing online for years, in many cases, if you search for a certain type of business online, in small and large towns, the large companies show up first in the search results. Why, because they know how to use the Internet to extend the reach of their business. These companies understood that people are using the web to find services and products locally. As a small business owner, you need to think about this as well. The topic that seems so technical is actually your marketing today. No longer can you think about your web site as a technical item; it needs to be looked at as a marketing tool. It is about


August/September 2010

August-September 2010 Aire Magazine  

Lite and entertaining magazine designed for the community in which we all live and breathe

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