Effective marketing is absolutely essential to gaining more customers and growing your business. Yet statistics indicate that if you sell products or services locally, marketing is very likely one of those things you do randomly or not at all. The fact of the matter is that marketing can be complicated, time consuming and expensive. As a result most people simply don’t do any marketing at all, or do it so randomly that it’s not effective.
To effectively market your business today, you need to think “marketing.” It starts with understanding.
If you sell products or services locally, understanding how you can market yourself, the products you sell and services you provide in a simple, cost-effective and powerful way is the key to growing your business and making more money. .
Why Marketing is Important
The American Marketing Association defines marketing as: the activity, conducted by organizations and individuals, that operates through a set of institutions and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging market offerings that have value for customers, clients, marketers, and society at large.”
The important point here is this: marketing is a communication process. That communication process is intended to positively influence the purchasing decisions of potential customers.
The big question then is this; what type of communication process can people who sell products and services locally use to positively influence the purchasing decisions of potential customers that is affordable, effective and doesn’t require a huge time commitment?
The answer is local online marketing.
Local online marketing is literally the simplest, most powerful and cost effective way to market yourself, the products you sell and services you provide.
People use the Internet today to find, compare, select and evaluate almost everything. The Internet is a communication platform. More and more people use it for everything.
Potential customers are likely online right now in your area searching for, comparing or evaluating the products and services you sell right now. If you use the Internet to provide consumers the information they want and need to make purchasing decisions, you may positively influence their decision.
If’s for that reason understanding why people buy is very important. If you know why your customers purchase the products you sell and services you provide, you can use a simple online marketing process to provide them the information they need and want to influence that decision.
Your marketing message can be as simple as letting potential customers know you exist to as complicated as making direct and personal offers. Or both; and everything in between. The point it that communication is important. Any information you provide increases your local “visibility.” The more visibility you have in the community, the more likely your are to positively influence potential customers.
If you must identify one reason marketing is so important, it’s this; if potential customers don’t know you exist, they aren’t going to buy whatever it is you’re selling.
What is Local Online Marketing?
In the past the preferred local advertising process was defined by local merchants as a series of messages broadcast to consumers through various media channels. These channels include newspapers, television, radio, networking events, magazines and direct mail.
The purpose of these broadcasts was to find and connect with new customers. This process is still alive and well today. It’s called “outbound” marketing. The problem many small businesses have with this form of marketing is that consumers don’t generally pay attention to local advertising. The reason; they don’t have to.
The Internet has changed how people communicate. People don’t need to watch television, read the newspaper or listen to the radio to find information about products or services they want or need. Instead they use the Internet to find, compare and evaluate local merchants and the products and services they sell.
Local online marketing helps people selling products and services get found online and attract new customers.
Use a Marketing Process that Works
Today, if consumers can’t find you online, they likely aren’t going to purchase anything from you.
As a result, a marketing process that focuses on helping potential customers find you online ( inbound marketing) is generally the simplest, most powerful and cost effective marketing process that people selling products or services locally can use to get more customers and grow their business.
Give Consumers What They Want
Successful marketing today is dependant on your understanding of what your customers want and your ability to satisfy their needs and desires. Knowing what resonates with consumers today will also help you better understand and personalize your marketing efforts.
Here are some interesting facts:
- Only 14% of consumers trust local advertising.
- Social media is booming, but consumers don‘t overwhelmingly engage with local companies online because it‘s fun or to be part of the social community, they do it to get discounts.
- When consumers are overwhelmed with information they are more likely to repeatedly change their minds about purchasing a product or service, be less confident in their choices and less likely to remain loyal to any particular brand.
- Surveys indicate that if consumers can quickly and easily learn about products and services, compare options and trust the information they received, they are much more likely to purchase that brand, become a loyal customer and recommend that brand to others.
- People who seek referrals are motivated and ready to purchase. They make purchases faster, negotiate less and pay more for the products and services that are recommended to them.
What does it all mean?
When consumers are shopping for products and services today they want:
- To quickly find and learn about products and services they are interested in purchasing.
- To easily compare purchasing options.
- To receive product recommendations and referrals to local merchants.
With regard to your local online marketing efforts you need to make it easy for consumers;
- To find you online.
- To get more information and compare purchasing options.
- To read consumer reviews and get personal referrals.
In Addition – Make Your Marketing Personal
The key to your marketing success today is you. It focuses on the fact that you are a unique individual who can‘t be duplicated or replaced. Whether you work for a fortune 500 company or own your own business, in our society you are your own brand.
Through your own brand you have the ability to help people solve a problem or satisfy a desire. This has value to people who need or want whatever it is you’re selling. Providing value gives you the ability to build a reputation and define your own credibility.
When you use the Internet to show the value you offer the credibility you have earned, you have a very powerful marketing formula that consumers will respond to.
That marketing formula is this:
VISIBILITY + VALUE + CREDIBILITY = PROFITABILITY