Will Internet Marketing work for my local business?

HomeAugust 21, 2014
Home No Comments

Some of the questions that local businesses, who have never tried Internet marketing or online promotion, ask themselves are


  • “Will Internet Marketing work for my local business?”
  • “Is it too expensive? Will the returns be rewarding enough?”
  • “What do I need to do? Website? SEO? Email? Facebook/Twitter…? Paid advertisements?”
  • “How do I do it?”


All of these questions confuse people. And what do people do when they are confused? They do nothing because they are not sure! I will attempt today to help readers figure out whether they should opt for online marketing and promotion. I will mention some of the ways this can be done.

One of the factors in choosing a marketing strategy is your target audience. It is apparent that people all around us are using the Internet, in some form or the other. Smart phones and social applications are getting more and more people online and reachable. These are people of all age segments, demographics and from all levels of society. A lot of first time Internet users are coming from the smart phone. Even old people who could never adapt to a computer are using smart phones. So the reach of the Internet is undisputed. But that still does not answer the question of whether it will help your business or not.

If more and more people are using the Internet, it would seem very logical to conclude that Internet marketing is going to work for you. This answer should largely be correct. The Internet allows users to market in ways that other media just cannot. The fact that users can take live action with Internet is a great advantage over print, television, radio or other channels where one has to reach for the phone or visit a store. With mobile phones people can easily connect with your service and place orders online or connect with your business. With social media they can tell their friends about your business or service. In fact with a bit of tact, you can make them tell their friends about your business. In order to decide if Internet marketing is going to work, let us see things that you can do either by yourself or with the help of professionals. To see ways in which bitcanny can help you with internet marketing, visit our digital marketing page.

Paid Advertisements for online promotion and marketing to interested users


Internet marketing also allows targeting features which are great! Google adwords has allowed people to show ads for people searching with specific keywords. This is a quick and easy way to appear at the top of search engine results. But what if people are not searching for your products or services? For example, I might be buying cakes from the local shop and know nothing about your lovely homemade cakes! Or I might be paying my tax consultant heaps not knowing how you can cost me less and help me plan my taxes. I will never search for a tax consultant or a cake shop online and thus never see your advertisement. However, using tools like facebook advertising, I can target people with a specific age group, interest, gender and heaps of targeting factors. The thing is, a lot of people think that facebook advertising is free and need not be paid for. Some promotion on facebook is all they do. Sure, it works. However, viral content may not reach as far as paid advertising. Also, a professionally created graphic or video draws more eyeballs than a home grown one. Spreading viral content also requires tactics which you may not be aware of. You could do a great job if you are creative and talented at using video editing and Photoshop. But you also need to plan for what happens when a user clicks on your advertisement or graphic and visits your website. People need to be prompted to take action at the time they see your promotion-whether paid or viral. Otherwise they will forget about it. Should they visit your product page? Should they go to your website? Do you want to gather their details using a form? Should they call you? These are things that you need to be plan. With online ads, you can fix a budget also. That way, you can pay small amounts and see the ROI.

Optimized website


A good website is a must for someone wanting to make money promoting their services or selling online. The home page or your landing page needs to be optimized for conversion. It should be easy to find information. Your phone number should be highlighted. The main product or service should be easy to locate and click through. It is very important to decide what action you want your visitors to take. Should they call you? Should they send you a message? Should they see your video? Should they place an order online? These are the factors that need to be considered. Your website should also be mobile friendly and easy to load. There are also other considerations to make it search engine friendly but these require some web development knowledge. A lot of other design principles can help you make an attractive and compelling website.

Reaching out using Lead Management software


There is also the option of using Lead Management and marketing software. It helps you collect information about visitors, track their interaction with your site and advertisement. You can choose to market to them based on how much interest they have shown. Lead management tools are available at a subscription model. You can send emails, call people or send messages. You can setup campaigns and do a host of things using such software. You can pay for them annually or monthly. The thing is you have to be patient for these things to show you results. These tools come with a complete marketing armoury that helps you manage different types of campaigns.

Retargeting your users


A great tool available today is Retargeting. It allows you to show advertisements to people who have visited your website. These advertisements are shown to people on facebook and other sites on the Internet. Websites like facebook, google and twitter track users as they visit different websites. Marketing partners who share data with these large websites know when a visitor who visited your website has gone on publisher websites (which show advertisements). These marketing partners then show your advertisements to them. So a person who has abandoned a shopping cart or did not call you after visiting your website gets to see your advertisement. The customer gets reminded of your service and may decide to call you. If done carefully, it can have huge returns on investment. You can specifically do stuff like “people who visited the garments page should be shown advertisements of fashion products and the ad should bring them to a shirt page.” Or you could say “People who bought a dress should be shown shoes.” All of this and more is possible. Data has shown retargeting to have a higher return on ad spent that other forms of paid advertising.

Ranking higher on search engines


SEO is another thing that businesses could do. This is about ranking high on google or other search engines when users type a term. But this takes time and is a lot more involving. You could hire professional SEO’s for the job. It requires thorough research and planning. The thing about SEO is to properly research the keywords that you plan to rank for. Will people searching with these words be interested in your product or service? Are there enough people searching with this term on the Internet or will people be searching with this term in the future? Based on this one can estimate whether ranking for the term will help. Local business listings also come up high on searches. Local results show higher on google if the search is for local services like “good Chinese restaurant” or “dentist near me”.

Social Media marketing is a must these days. Almost everyone having a service is doing it today. If they are not, they should. What can be done here is a huge set of topics by itself. However, it needs to be used in combination with some of the above mentioned techniques. There are heaps of things one can do here. In general, good graphics, topics, knowledge of the platform and persistence are required for this to work.

I have mentioned some of the key things one can do to promote a business online. Things like SEO require an upfront cost which bears results after a while. Ad campaigns have a recurring cost. But results can be visible a lot sooner. Mixing and matching the right strategy requires some study on how effective it is for you. For starters, a good website is a must. If you are selling online then the right e-commerce tools must be there on your website. This needs to be followed with a Social Media promotion using good graphics and great videos. After this, based on how much you want to grow, you can setup paid advertisements and promotions. If SEO is going to benefit you, then you should do it. It takes at least a few months to show result. Lead Management Software should be looked at once you start building an audience. Retargeting is for people who have started getting substantial hits.

In conclusion, Internet marketing must be used for most businesses. I recommend you try it incrementally to see how it works for you.

The author is a web development and Internet marketing consultant.