The True Cost of Avoiding Online Marketing
:: By Mike Canarelli, Web Talent Marketing ::
One of the toughest parts of running a business is growing it. This part of the job can occupy all of your time—and energy—if you let it.
In today’s difficult economy, finding new avenues of customer engagement is everything, regardless of whether your company is a startup, a franchise or a well-established cornerstone of the community. One of the biggest mistakes any business can make is underestimating the power of online marketing.
Online marketing has become standard fare for successful and enduring businesses, regardless of industry. Even those companies that rely on walk-in customers for survival are beginning to understand how online marketing can increase traffic to their brick-and-mortar storefronts. The staggering numbers of people who are opting to get their deals, coupons and news from the Internet has challenged conventional notions of promotion and forced labor markets to rethink their approach.
Consider this: The U.S. Census released an infographic in January showing 79 percent of all U.S. households have a computer in their home and nearly 95 percent of those computers are used to access the Internet. If that isn’t enough to change your marketing approach, consider this: 88 percent of all Americans have a mobile phone, and more than three-quarters of them use it to access the Internet.
The report’s most shocking fact? Those statistics are two years old.
Every quarter, the odds of an Internet user finding your business online increase exponentially. If you haven’t started marketing online—or if you’re relying on a volunteer or intern to manage it—the missed opportunities could be fatal. It is quite likely your competitors have already discovered the power of professional online branding, and it is only a matter of time before they begin to capture the market.
So, enough doom and gloom. The good news is that it is not too late to start solidifying your online footprint. The first step is hiring a reputable firm to strengthen your Web presence. If the cost of hiring professionals worries you, bear in mind this move typically pays for itself within a year (and in many cases, it takes even less time than that). Don’t think of it as just hiring someone to create online advertising for you; think of it as establishing a partnership. A quality online marketing company will help you on a variety of fronts:
• By building a website optimized to reach customers looking for your goods or services
• By handling your social media activities to ensure you’re engaging with consumers at the broadest possible levels
• By rebranding your business to attract new markets
• By improving your search rankings so customers can find your business more easily
You may have heard the term “SEO,” which stands for “search engine optimization.” When you see it, understand that the professional companies that specialize in this particular area of expertise do much more than simply boost your company to the first page of Google. Truly professional SEO companies evaluate your organization from the top down to develop a Web presence that not only grows your business, but accurately reflects your corporation’s vision and values.
Online marketing doesn’t have to be intimidating. Take a few moments to research reputable companies, read testimonials and get to know a few key terms related to the industry. Once you find an online marketing agency that has delivered results and fits your philosophy, reach out to them and get to know the people who work there.
When those quarterly reports start to grow, you’ll be glad you did.
Mike Canarelli is the CEO and Co-Founder of Web Talent Marketing and has over a decade of experience in design, development and digital marketing. Under Mike’s leadership, Web Talent Marketing has risen to the forefront of strategic Internet marketing, as well as Web design & development.