Every so often I read studies that were performed to survey the amount of effort businesses put into their online marketing. I am still astounded at the lack of resources being directed into the web, especially by small businesses. Research I’ve seen shows that up to 15% of small businesses don’t even have a website! Some studies show up to 65% of small businesses don’t sell products or take online payments on their website.
I didn’t grow up in this industry, so I feel like I still have somewhat of an ‘outsiders’ point of view. In my experience in the healthcare industry, I spent about a decade running marketing departments or in other administrative roles directly related to public relations and marketing. Back in those days websites were relatively basic, we didn’t have the option of creating company Facebook pages, and “Search Engine Optimization” consisted of stuffing a bunch of keywords into your Meta tags… if you even thought about SEO at all. Even so I was always looking at ways to use technology to promote ourselves, become more efficient, stay in touch with clients, and organize information and keep it accessible.
I guess that’s why when I read these studies and talk to small business owners it is foreign to me when people show an adversity to investing in their online presence. Especially in Florida, where you have a migratory audience. If you sell products online and stay in touch with snowbirds when they flock back up north using social media and email marketing, chances are they will make retail purchases from you throughout the year. Or if you don’t sell a retail product, at least you can stay top-of-mind and insure they will utilize your services when they return. Remember: your competitors are probably marketing to them. If you aren’t, you will lose them.
The internet is the great equalizer, and small businesses can compete with even the Big Boys online. With search engines shifting focus to “local search”, and consumers losing patience with the poor customer service you receive from the corporate machina, it is a ripe time to take advantage of online marketing. Companies that have a strong product to offer, commit themselves to providing Ritz Carlton level of customer service, and stay in touch with their customers using technology will thrive in today’s fickle market.