It's a given that there are so many ways for small businesses to promote themselves these days. However, when it comes to self promotion or advertising, the ONLY sector (that I can see at least) that is 100% targeted is SEO (search engine optimization) and, hopefully in this article I will make it clear as to why that is.
Despite the fact that it has been widely used by the general public for (arguably) over 20 years now, it always amazes me how little most locally owned small businesses understand about the internet and how it can help their business grow.
Perhaps Small Businesses don't fully utilize the internet because...?
Perhaps it’s because so many people in general are under the delusion that, if you have a website and a social media presence, your customers are just going to magically find and flock to their business?
Or, maybe it’s because other forms of advertising that have been around longer - radio, tv, newspaper (Gasp! Newspaper??!) are still so ingrained in our psyches that business owners think that advertising using those avenues is money well spent?
Whatever the case may be I’d like to explain, if I may, why search engine optimization is the best advertising money you’ll ever spend.
Reason 1: SEO has potential to be very cost effective
Of course this isn’t true every single time, but as a business owner, there is a lot that you can learn on your own, and in a fairly short amount of time. In other words, there are SEO measures you can learn to take without hiring an outside person or firm.
And, in many cases, the tsimple things you can learn how to do on your own MAY be all you need to improve your Google ranking (and rankings in other search engines too!). For example, if you own a tow truck service and your business is located in an area where there are only 6 other tow truck companies, then getting to the top of Google in your geographical area will probably be relatively easy to do.
Reason 2: SOME SEO measures you take are more or less permanent
There are simple steps you, as a business owner, can take to improve your website and your overall web presence that are “one time improvements”. In other words, once they are done, they are done and you won’t ever have to worry about them again - well, at least not any time soon. Big difference between that and purchasing print or radio advertising month in and month out!
Even those tasks that ARE ongoing - things like using social media, blogging etc, are a win for you because once you know how to do them, those skills are yours forever and can be utilized as often as you’d like.
Reason 3: No form of advertising / business promotion is more “targeted”. PERIOD!
This is the sexiest reason of them all!!
Visualize this scenario. You own a fitness facility. You run a (costly) radio advertisement about a special promotion your business is running.
Consider the following:
- Not all of the people that hear your radio ad are even interested in fitness. In fact, of all the people that hear your ad, it’s likely that only a TINY portion will be even the least bit interested in your business!
- Of that TINY portion, a significant portion of those people ALREADY belong to a fitness facility.
- AND, of the miniscule amount of folks left over, what portion of them are in a position to take action on your (expensive) radio advertisement at that exact moment in time? Even if they are keenly interested - it could be simply a matter of the timing being wrong.
Now contrast this with proper SEO:
Put yourself in the shoes of someone sitting at their computer, tablet or phone. All of a sudden it pops into their head that they REALLY should join a gym. In fact, they've been meaning to do so for quite some time now.They open up Google and search for fitness facilities near them - perhaps with the hopes that one in particular might be running a special.
Of THAT group of people - you know...the ones specifically searching for "fitness facilities" in Google - what percentage of THOSE folks are interested in what you have to offer?
EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.
Are the results that they'll see limited to your actual website? No. If you are doing your "online thang" correctly, there's every chance they'll see not only your website in their search results, but also your social media presence(s), your Google My Business account etc etc.
Does business promotion GET any more targeted than this? I don’t think so. These people are LITERALLY raising their hands and jumping up and down saying, “Ooooooh ooooh oooooh I want to join a gym. I want to know the best one in my area. I want to know all about what each gym has and what their current specials are!!!!!”
Are you REALLY going to ignore the potential customers that are, in essence, TELLING you in no uncertain terms that they want your product or service?
If you ignore optimising your business’ web presence, that is EXACTLY what you ARE doing! You are sprinting by a stocked pond full of fish ready to jump into your frying pan, be fried up and eaten! (is that a weird analogy? Sorry.) in order to get to a vast ocean abyss (radio, TV, newspapers) with a fricken dull spear in your hand and dark sunglasses on your face!
So, where are you going to place your attention? On the 100% that are begging to do business with you? Or, in the one out of ten who MIGHT want to do business with you?
To me, it’s a no brainer.
Interested in learning more? Contact me through my website: Thirsty Fish Graphic Design. I will be more than happy to answer questions and give away some free pointers, too, if that is what the situation calls for.
If you'd like to know more about me and what I do (beyond web design and SEO, that is!) please feel free to check out my website Digital Dad, Marc.
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Also, do you have thoughts on this topic? Perhaps you know a small business owner who took some very simple steps to improve their online presence / SEO that were inexpensive or completely free, yet yielded some fantastic results? Maybe it was you? Either way, I'd love to hear your story - so please comment below.