Many businesses that have been around for years have a large customer or client base. This allows many of them to get by without delving into digital marketing campaigns or print marketing. These businesses benefit from their long-term reputations.
The economic crash of 2008 still has consumers worried about their financial security, and today they’re paying more attention to their spending than they did pre-2008. Internet search engines like Google and Bing make it easier for consumers to compare prices and deals; and they are taking advantage of these tools to save money and get the most bang for their buck.
In addition, mobile devices and free, widespread public Wifi Internet access have put consumers just clicks away from finding the best prices for the products and services they want. From the birth of Apple’s iPad to the growing demand for smart-pads, companies are moving quicker to meet consumer demands. Recognizing that smart-pads are the tools consumers use the most (in the hand-held mobile device family) to access the web, Google recently tapped into the smart-pad market with its Nexus tablet product. Observing the economy, consumer behaviors, and technology trends in the last decade, you will see these are the three key contributors in today’s changing business environment.
Consumers today are so comfortable with the Internet, particularly working professionals and the younger generations, that the majority of their socializing time happens online; through email, text, gaming, Internet free chat, social media, etc. This means businesses that have previously been able to ride the coat tails of their past success will need to become more innovative in their marketing to adapt to the changing ways people choose what to buy. If they don’t adapt in our changing environment, they’ll lose their edge to competitors that do.
Information travels faster than ever before, on the Internet and over the phone. New marketing tools such as website, spiral marketing, email marketing, text marketing, Google ads, banner ads, etc. are some of the most powerful tools to help businesses build an effective brand image and reputation, in a short period of time. Not long ago a business’ reputation may have taken a decade to build; now it may take only a few years. A real-life example of this is Yellow Book vs. Google.
Early in this article I mentioned how long-term businesses have historically been able to rely on their past success and reputation. But today even successful businesses should continue to build on their existing reputations in our fast changing environment. A good perception in the past needs to continue to be communicated in new ways, because a majority of current and potential consumers today are using different ways to learn about your products and services. The question is not, “should these businesses enter online marketing?” The question is, “how soon and how well will they prepare and position themselves against their competition, before it is too late?”
All that said, here is my advice for businesses today.
1) Research your direct and/or new entry competitors to see what they are doing regarding Internet marketing. If they are not yet tapped into online marketing, that is great news for you. It will cost you less to rank your business website in the top 10 on search engines, locally and organically. If your competitors are already promoting on the Internet, you should act quickly because you are likely losing customers to them, day by day. This can happen without you knowing how much it’s impacting your business now, and in the next few years.
2) Find a web design firm to custom design a professional website for your business, at a price you can afford. Try to get 3-4 quotes from different web design companies and try to at least aim for a price range in the middle. Going with the cheapest may hurt you more than it helps. As is often the case, you’ll likely get what you pay for.
3) Once your business website is up and running, utilize free business promotion first to save some money (if you have the time) and then find a professional SEO company to help rank your business on Google’s-page-one at the demographic location(s) where the majority of your potential clients live.
4) Last but not least, make sure the web design and web SEO company that you hire provides you an official contract with clear definitions of what they will do for you, before they begin your project. This shows that they stand behind their work.
I hope you find this article helpful. For more advice and tips on digital marketing, please visit our Minnesota web design website from time to time for more helpful articles.