All search is local. Consumers expect to find your business when they search on Google. Having a traditional marketing plan with promotions including advertisements in traditional media, like the local newspaper, local guides, and telephone directory are all components of part of a good marketing plan. But in today’s fast, wired world, small businesses need to have an online presence. A media consumption survey of Millennials found that Millenials won’t find you unless you are online, but won’t trust you if you are not promoting in traditional media. The summary of the survey is available at SlideShare,
Small businesses must have a plan for getting found online and appearing at the top of the Google search page when the consumers search for their product or service. Your business has to appear on the first page of a Google search; as Andy Crestodina at Orbit Media, @crestodina says. “Where is the best place to hide a body? Page 2 of Google”, no one searches on page two.
There are three parts to online marketing that small businesses need to have in place and working in order to increase the opportunities to come up high on the Google search results page.
One: Have a website with a blog- Every business has to have a website today, and most small businesses do. But just building and posting a business card website, one with your contact information and location, some info on products and services is not enough. A website is an ongoing marketing, promotion, content and communication vehicle for a business. Small businesses can’t set it and forget it.A website needs updating and maintenance on a regular, scheduled basis. A static, stale website with outdated information will not rank well with the Google searching and indexing algorithms. Small businesses need a website content plan and schedule, the content has to be updated and added. Website that have a blog increase inbound traffic and place higher on search engine results. Blogging is another content and publishing task that requires time and attention from a small business. @MelonieDodaro has some blogging tips to increase traffic at Top Dog Social Media.
Small businesses today are publishers, small business produce good, informative posts and blogs to educate, and entertain web surfers. The more a potential customer learns about the benefits and features of your business, the more likely they are to act and become a customer. The consumer’s decision to purchase from or use a business is made and finalized before the consumer every enters the business site or shopping cart online.
Two: Optimized pages- The web pages for a small business website have to be optimized for search engines; use of key words, metatags, headlines matching body copy, labeled images, good links. There are a lot of moving parts to get search engine optimization right, but with a system in place when creating and updating webpages, it can be managed properly and successfully. CopyBlogger.com, @copyblogger, has a good post on 10 steps that small, local businesses can take to improve search engines on the Copy Blogger Website.
And, Three: Social media presence- The final component in the triad is social media. Having a social media plan, integrated with the small business website and blog creates a synergy that increases both inbound traffic and higher ranking on search engines. There are choices to be made: Which are the right social media platforms for the business? What is the purpose of social media posts? What is the content and schedule? For most small business, the default choices are the big 4 of social media, Facebook, LinkedIn, You Tube and Twitter. A coordinated plan and schedule, integrated with the business website and blog will increase traffic and improve the ranking on search engines. But between the three legs of online marketing with a website & blog, search engine optimization, and social media, the last one, social media requires the most planning and content development in order to be successful. Jeff Bullas, @jeffbullas, has some helpful Twitter tips for content creation and marketing Jeffbullas.com.
For many small businesses, managing these three components of online marketing requires more work, time and expertise than is available. Small business will have to do a cost-benefit analysis to determine the value of marketing online. My own research on the media consumption habits of millennials reveal that business need to market on both traditional and new media. Consumers won’t find a business if it is not online, and consumers won’t trust a business if they do not see it in traditional media channels. You have to be online or in decline today. Small businesses have to master some basic online skills, delegate the social media tasks among some current staff, or add staff or subcontract the social media management out. One local small business that specializes in helping small business to mange their social media marketing, and maintain a bigger digital footprint is Above and Beyond Marketing at and @RickDuddy