Anyone who hasn’t been locked in a closet for the past five years knows that the Internet has helped level the marketing playing field between large and small companies. Social media and other online marketing methods are allowing businesses with small marketing budgets to compete with larger companies.
Not too many years ago, a business needed to spend $200,000 or more annually in a small to medium market just to have a minimal presence. That left most businesses out of the hunt for any kind of top of mind awareness in their market. Businesses with smaller budgets were limited to a selection of marketing alternatives that might include guerrilla marketing, community newspapers, local store marketing or maybe a modest presence in the local daily newspaper.
Today, if a business owner figures out how to harness the power of the Internet, a world of potential customers, literally, opens up. That’s the good news. the bad news is that it isn’t quite as easy as it might first appear.
In my experience, most people who run a business find that it’s a full time job. Business people tend to be consumed with all that needs tending, from personnel issues to accounting. From dealing with vendors to keeping customers happy. And, there are dozens of other tasks, each screaming for the entrepreneur’s attention.
This business of online marketing takes precious time that most business people simply don’t have. And, it isn’t just the time to execute the e-marketing plan. It also involves creating the plan. How, as an entry level player, do you know where you should have a presence, and what you should do once you are there?
How much effort should you put against search engine optimization? Should you be on YouTube, Flickr, Twitter or Facebook? Should you have an e-mail program or a paid search campaign? Does a blog make sense for you? Then there are the hundreds of add-on applications that extend the effectiveness of all these platforms. And, how do you connect your choices so they all coordinate to deliver a cohesive message to the same target audience? Finally, how do you measure results?
It is the rare business owner who can figure all this out and still run his business. Take advantage of the opportunities the web offers and start today by hiring someone who already knows this stuff. They’ll do a much better job, and do it quicker than you could ever hope to. The money you save by trying to figure it out yourself will be a trifle compared to what you will gain by ramping up now and staying ahead of your competition.