Internet marketing for small businesses is marketing. It’s not a separate category, or something special some companies do. The internet is part of our lives and with the advent of the iPad, it’s soon to become a larger part.
I find it interesting that most of my “business” clients don’t really do much “marketing”. They do some advertising, but that’s about it. I get the sense that there’s a “build it and they will come” mentality among small business owners. Well, guess what? There is a better mouse trap.
Let’s try this. . . think of the internet as a tool you can use to reach your current customers. That’s it. Don’t think beyond that. What would that allow you to do?
Well, e-mail is an internet utility that is virtually free. If you’re about to introduce a new product, you could tell all your current customers using e-mail – for free. You could invite them to a Grand Opening. You could even help your neighbor and invite them all to his Grand Opening. (If it’s next door, wouldn’t they stop in to say hello?)
Now, if you can see how efficient that is, and ultimately how successful you could be doing that . . . how do we get more of our customers’ e-mail addresses?
You could have a pad of paper by the cash register. You could have a drawing where people toss their business card into a fishbowl. You could call them all and ask for it. You could even put a form on your website where they type their name and e-mail into it themselves.
So the next question would be how can you get more customers, so you can get more e-mail addresses, so you can send more notices, so you can make more sales?
That’s where it gets personal. For a real estate client we use Craigslist. A buddy of mine uses eBay. My folks use Google. A car dealer may use billboards. And a personal injury lawyer may just find the best tool is the back page of the yellow pages. That’s where you really start to make headway.
My challenge to you is ask your clients how they think they got from not knowing who you were to hiring you. Let’s put together a road map of how someone who’s never heard of you, eventually hears about you, is impressed with you and then hires you.
When we can master that and begin to understand the “ladder of value” we’ve already got in place, then we can start creating a network to find more people who want what you do.
Therein lies the art. the joy. the wonder of internet marketing.
And therein lies success.