Some experts believe consumerism will move from physical to virtual in a few short years. The mom and pop business that once earned profits on word of mouth will be replaced with Internet businesses that offer the same products and services from the comfort of a consumer’s home. Internet marketing is about more than making some quick money today – it is about establishing a piece of Internet real estate that will prove profitable tomorrow.
Where is Your Business on the Internet?
Does your business have a website? Are you active on Twitter and Facebook? Do your customers receive email updates when products and services go on sale? These are the key elements to Internet marketing, but many bricks and mortar businesses have no idea how to use them to leverage more traffic, business, and sales. The smallest business in the world can be the largest business online with successful Internet marketing.
Overcoming the Fear of the Internet
For many small businesses, fear is a strong enough reason not to attempt Internet marketing. Behind this fear is a lack of knowledge. Sure, its easy enough to open Internet Explorer and search for directions, but building a website must take time, money, and technical knowledge that many bricks and mortar business owners simply do not have. This fear is enough to keep many small businesses off the Internet, instead rooting themselves in the physical nature they understand.
Cost – How much money does a bricks and mortar business spend on print advertising each year? If they spend only $20, that’s more than enough to start a website. Most often, bricks and mortar businesses spend far more than $20 to market their products and services in local newspapers, mail coupon campaigns, and other print advertising. The cost of Internet marketing is just a reason to continue marketing in that narrow comfort zone.
Time – How much time does it take to start-up and maintain a website? In the beginning, it can take a little time to perfect a website design, look, and feel. Integrating the website with social media and establishing an Internet marketing campaign can also take a bit of time. Establishing your place on the Internet does not have to be a fast process, however. A little time spent here and there can prove more effective than hours spent over a short period throwing together a website the business will later want to change.
Technical Knowledge – The technical knowledge required to start and market a website is probably the number one reason small businesses stay away. With terms like html, php, coding, SEO, and SEM – how is a small business not supposed to feel overwhelmed? As is the case with any new hobby, it can take time to learn the ins and outs of Internet business, including Internet marketing, but the time is well spent when the rewards are reaped.
Tomorrow there may be no bricks and mortar businesses. Tomorrow consumers may use the Internet to communicate, shop, share, and more. Tomorrow is coming faster than many bricks and mortar businesses care to understand. Internet marketing is a viable and necessary option for today’s bricks and mortar businesses to continue servicing their customers tomorrow.