Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Why should a small business use the Internet for marketing? Well, for one thing, a small business has little clout these days and therefore must scramble for every piece of business it can get. In the old days business survival meant outdoing the competition. These days business survival has shifted to include the competition and even partner with them. For example, the same or similar businesses affiliate, yet maintain a healthy capitalist mindset necessary to motivate entrepreneurs to improve products, services and business practices. All this entrepreneurial activity takes places on a playing field recently leveled by the Internet. The Internet provides a platform for businesses large and small. Ironically, small businesses can benefit most from barrier-free entry into an international, online marketplace. However, the vastness of that marketplace poses both a unique challenge in its enormity and an opportunity in its ability to provide connections between a business and its customers.
Although large corporations may have an advantage in the capital department, allowing them to spend thousands of dollars on marketing, a small business has the advantage of being lean and keen. The small business owner can instantaneously make decisions and act on those decisions. Consequently, change takes place rapidly and that fact gives small business an edge over large corporations. For example, start-up companies have been able to topple large companies, often redesigning the turf: Netflix made Blockbuster obsolete by quickly taking the lead in technology advances, providing its customers with unparalleled service. Blockbuster slowly tried to follow, but kept their “big business” decision-making methods, evolving much more slowly than nimble Netflix. Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy in 2010.
Where many small businesses fall short, however, is when they fail to form a marketing plan and create a budget for implementing that plan. All too often, small shopkeepers, although brilliant at what they do, treat marketing their business as an afterthought, “I’ll get around to it.” This thinking is especially dangerous when business is good. However, business is cyclical by nature, rising and falling with the tide. If a business cannot survive low tide, it dries up. Realizing this fact, in the wee hours of the morning, the enthusiastic business owner decides to get up to speed on the Internet thing. He or she single-handedly creates and launches a website, and thinks “I’m done!” A few months later, almost no one has visited that website.
The website failed to attract the attention of visitors because the website is neutral. The website needs an introduction. It needs to woo its visitors and then ask them for a date. This is where the Internet Marketer comes in. The Internet Marketer sets up the introduction and oversees the courtship. The courtship leads to marriage when a mutually beneficial relationship is forged, and both parties, the business owner and the customer, agree on the terms of the relationship.
INITIAL INTERNET MARKETING EFFORTS FOR SMALL BUSINESS