Small Business Guide to Web Marketing – How to Get Started

The future of marketing is already shifting 100% to the internet, but it’s taking a lot longer that it should have. These are some of the reasons why.

Before the internet become popular, the media was the only place to go if you wanted to reach large audiences. That’s not the case today.

If you look at the media like a simple business, such as a bakery (which owns an oven, bakes bread and sells it for money), the media is not much different.

They used to be the source of information and holders of all audiences. Based on this, they made millions of dollars, because if you had a message to put out, you had no choice but to use a TV station, radio station, newspaper, or magazine.

But today, the source of information is the internet, and the holder of all audiences is also the internet.

So what exactly are they selling you? And why are you still buying it?

Don’t you think it’s time to stop wondering and move forward?

Today, the media has a hard time coming to peace with the fact that the pie they once split between ten or fifteen people now has moved to the internet, and it has to be divided amongst millions of websites full of talented, creative people.

The internet does not require millions of dollars to start a good operation. It requires skills, consistency and a good product for your clients. The internet moves fast and is very lean, which means there is not much room for middle and upper management.

But these managers are the ones making decisions, so what do you think they will do? Have a meeting and fire themselves?

They already got rid of their experienced people; no oven, no baker, but they still claim to make bread.

I almost feel like I’m beating a dead horse here, but to their credit they still have something that the internet is taking forever to get, and that is glamour. That’s right, GLAMOUR.

Now going back to glamour, that’s what the internet is missing. Glamour and more credibility. Don’t get me wrong here, there are many credible sources on the net including all mainstream media, but there are also many fly-by-night, wannabes and scammers that need to go.

Now you might say, “They will never go away”, and you’re right. So the next best thing is to clearly separate ourselves from them, which will cause internet users to easily spot the good guy from the bad guy.

This can be achieved by two simple steps. First, be 100% organic and stop supporting bad marketing practices like paid links, mass email spamming, and quick results from shady SEO companies. Second, be transparent on the web, same as you are at your business. Have a 100% organic search engine-friendly site with a name, an address, a phone number, and when possible, pictures of yourself and/or staff. In other words, KEEP IT REAL.

Moving on to the future now. According to a Forresters report, interactive marketing will near $55 billion in spending and represent 21% of all marketing dollars spent in 2014, as marketers shift dollars away from traditional media and toward search marketing, display advertising, social media, and mobile marketing.

This cannibalization of traditional media will bring about a decline in overall advertising budgets, and death to obsolete agencies; a publishers awakening.

The study concludes that in the next 3 years the following interactive marketing tactics will grow the most: Created Social Media, Online Video, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and Mobile Marketing, among others. This means only interactive trends will redefine your business.

So now that you are better informed, here are some things I would do if I started a business in Toronto, or decided to invest marketing money on the internet.

1. I would take a hard look at my products, services, and most importantly, my customer service. Other than yourself, no one will promote your business more than a satisfied customer. In fact, customers will brag about how much money they spent on a product or service if they are happy with it.

2. I would build an organically search engine optimized, simple, to-the-point mobile and user-friendly website that offers just as much personality and information as if the visitor came right in to my business location. By simple, I mean no flash intros and flying toasters, if you know what I’m trying to say.

3. I would avoid using stock business images and hire a professional to create images that portray my business in the best light possible, and spend some money doing a short, professionally done video. I stress short and professional for a very simple reason: people will watch a one minute video five times, but won’t watch a five minute video once.

4. I would look at the web as my main marketing source and create a virtual online marketing and advertising department, then allocate every penny I’m already spending on conventional advertising (ie, the yellow pages) and create a yearly budget to spend on promoting my business, products and/or services.

5. I would create a realistic geographic target. This is very important. The web has billions of daily users and most people get caught up on big numbers. Remember, you don’t want to reach two million people that are either not interested in your company or just to far away to want to do business with you. You are aiming for a small amount of prospects that are interested in your business and live with in reach of your business, also known as GEO-targeted marketing. After all, if you could get a few new prospects calling every day, you will more than likely own a very successful business over time.

6. I would still invest a small amount on conventional media to support their transition to the next generation, but I would only invest on their online hyper-local and niche websites.

7. I would a least talk to a PR firm and SEO marketing firm to get some advice on what my possibilities are, for the simple reason that most businesses don’t think they can afford these services. The truth is, if a marketing company could double your reach and sales, you would probably be able to afford them (and few other things, too).

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