It is a common assumption that people in need of a service provider go straight to the Yellow Pages. Because that’s how people find businesses, right? Coaches, counsellors, plumbers, bookkeepers, financial advisors, consultants – any need can be met by ‘letting your fingers do the walking’.
Advertising in the big yellow book may be a part of your marketing strategy, but the time has come to add Internet marketing to your business growth strategy.
Business growth via the Internet search revolution
While the Yellow Pages may have dominated historically, now the Internet is fundamentally changing how people search for goods and services. Nowadays, the physical Yellow Pages is being superseded by web search and online markting. People use websites like Google, Yahoo! and MSN Search to find answers, buy products, and locate professional service providers.
Yellow Pages have reacted to the shift and have worked hard to make a web version of their directory available.
It’s quite clear that the future for business growth is online marketing and you can’t risk being left behind.
Thankfully it’s early days and most solo businesses are reacting slowly or badly, and either don’t bother to have a web presence or not putting enough thought into it. It’s very common for a solo business to slap a poorly conceived website online, hoping that somehow people will find it and create new clients.
This is an opportunity for individuals that take their time and use smart tactics to create a purposeful website focusing on a specific niche. I would hazard a claim that for many solo businesses, including yours, the web could become the only marketing tool needed to acquire more clients than ever before – more clients than you can handle on your own.
Why am I so confident? Because right now I use the web to generate all my business and I know of many others that do the same. For example, my mother is a counsellor and she uses the Internet to get nearly 100% of her new clients. She focuses on the Brisbane, Australia marketplace and faces almost no online competition. Hence whenever anyone searches for a Brisbane counsellor her website is the first search result. I could tell you a similar story about a bookkeeper and a mortgage broker that both dominate a geographic demographic and face little competition online.
Want more articles like this? Check out the online marketing section.
It’s not too late for online marketing…
There is no good excuse for not initiating some form of online marketing. Even having a website listing your contact details is a start and should be leveraged using other marketing methods, such as including your web address on business cards, letterheads and brochures.
But the real power comes when you use the web as a marketing process to help generate a constant stream of eager clients just dying to purchase from you. While this is not a straightforward process, the principles behind it are easy to follow and merely draw from the skills you already have.
The important thing to understand is that right now is the best time to start building an online marketing system. As mentioned already, many online markets are not crowded and it is easy to find a niche you can dominate. I guarantee there are people out there searching the web for what you offer.
The Internet rewards people who maintain a web presence for a long time with regular updates. This means that over time as competitors come into your marketplace you can remain the leader because you have ‘first mover’ advantage. You established your website first and enjoy the constant flow of traffic that comes from having a long-standing web presence.
Let’s make things easy
If all this sounds a little confusing and abstract don’t worry, I explain all the main principles to make the Internet work for you as a marketing tool in this series of articles.
This article is part 1 of a series on Internet Marketing. Below are links to all 8 articles in the series:
Internet Marketing Part 1 – Its use as a business growth strategy
Internet Marketing Part 2 – Creating an effective business website
Internet Marketing Part 3 – Using email autoresponders
Internet Marketing Part 4 – How to use pay-per-click advertising
Internet Marketing Part 5 – Introduction to search engine optimisation (SEO)
Internet Marketing Part 6 – Search engine optimisation part 2
Internet Marketing Part 7 – The basics of blogging for business
Internet Marketing Part 8 – Breaking down technical skills barriers