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Does my small business need the Internet?

googleguygoogleguy subscriber Posts: 47 Bronze Level Member
I rememeber 1999 like it was yesterday. Y2K, the world coming to an end , the whole thing. As an eager young Internet enthusiast I recall all the time I spent telling everyone who would listen about the virtues of the Internet. Mostly about how it would transform the way business would get done. My enthusiasm and eagerness to share usually lead people to respond with "Yeah...whatever".
Now its 2008, and what I wouldnt give to be able to run into some of those people and say something like "Yeah...whatever".
As a full time Internet marketing person I still cannot believe how many small business owners STILL don`t believe in the Internet. I mean really, No website? No email? What?
Ok Mr. Small Business Owner....why not? Here are the most common responses:
1. No one uses the Internet to find my type of business.
2. I only deal locally.
3. I dont sell things online.
4. The Yellow pages work for me.
5. I dont have time to build and maintain a website.
Now some of you reading this would maybe agree with some of this. So here are just some of the reasons why Internet marketing makes sense for almost any business. Did you say "almost any"? Yes I did. read on....
Last month I got a call from a guy who sold tractor parts. He was located in Kansas somehwere. He wanted to know if I could help him with some "Internet stuff", he was referred by his grandson who is an insurance broker client of mine in Kansas City. I asked him to tell me about his business...."Well see, I sell tractor parts, mainly used stuff I pull off other rigs, Ive been in business for 45 years" he went on, "I dont know why I need the Internet, but my grandson thought it would be a good idea". Ok great, so I asked him to tell me about his clients and how he generates business...."People who have tractors that are broke call me". Classic. He went on to tell me that he could service an area of about 100 miles because he was too old to go any further. He also told me that there are about 40 ranches located within that 100 mile radius. Here is an example of someone who just simply does not need the Internet. (unless you know someone who will ship tractor parts nationwide for under the cost of the part itself). The interesting thing is if you go to Google and search tractor parts there are companies doing this very successfully, its a whole different business model. This person is the exception to the rule, but if he had a 10,000 sqft warehouse full of tractor parts, it would be game on!
Here is why your small business needs the Internet:
1. People search online all the time for all sorts of services. Here is why I believe this (besides the statistics), Most people spend most of their conscious day at a job. Now, I used to work at an office with over 100 people in it. If I had a need to find a service like, I don`t know, a chiropractor for my aching back. Would I run around my office looking for the book that is yellow? Wait to get home and rummage through my junkmail or pennysaver? Hope I get a telemarketer to call me offering back pain relief? NO. I know that there is a big beautiful computer with access to Google on it...I would try that.
2. Local people want local companies. The number one goal of most search engines is to provide good quality local results. If I search for a chiropractor in my home town (San Diego) and all I get is chiropractors-r-us results for big national chiro companies, I`ve wasted my time. By focusing locally you can reach many people who had no idea you existed and the wonderful service or products you offer.
3. You dont sell things online? Do you sell things through osmosis ? Does the flyer you just handed out accept credit cards? Lets face it, you are always selling whatever it is you offer. I have many successful brick and mortar type clients that benefit from their online activity. I believe that if you had a website that only had your name, phone number and directions to your shop, you could be succesful. Many small business owners are afraid that they need a website that is flashy and has a ton of content and blah..blah...blah. The truth is, most consumers just need to know that you are reputable and offer exactly what they are looking for.
4. The big fat yellow book works for me. About six months ago I went to my local grocery store and saw a huge pile of "FREE" yellow books stacked outside the store. Yesterday I noticed that the big stack of books had magically turned into two big stacks of books. Now let me just say, as a marketing person I believe in any type of effective marketing. If the book that is yellow works for you great! But the fact is it probably doesnt work as good as it did before. One word...... yellowpages.com.
5. I hate to say this but anyone can build a website these days. If you can compose an email and ad an image to it..you are a webmaster and dont even know it. I know of more than one big firm that will give you a free website with the registration of a domain name...cough..godaddy....yahoo..cough. With their website builder programs that are free..yes free..you can literally have a site up and running in an hour. And they are easy enough for my 9 year old son to work with. (He is available for freelance work).
The bottom line is just do it. Once you get your feet wet you will see that its not so hard and hopefully, maybe someday you will get big enough to need services like mine or my able colleagues who post on this site. Go get it!


  • sipmarketinggroupsipmarketinggroup subscriber Posts: 1 Member
    This is a great post. Facts tell, stories sell!
  • googleguygoogleguy subscriber Posts: 47 Bronze Level Member
    Hi ScribbleNet,
    I was really trying to speak to those "old school" business people who just don`t believe in the Internet at all. While I agree with you 200% that a well designed and functional website is important, you need to start somewhere. My goal as an Internet marketing person is to have these type of non-believing business people try something, anything, as small as it may be to show them the power of the web.
    In my experience once I show them what can be gained or just a little success, they are more willing to spend the money to hire a tru PRO like yourself!!!!
    Thanks for responding
  • posylaneposylane subscriber Posts: 1
    We get more business from locals finding us on the net and then stopping by than we do off the website itself.  If you have a "findable" website, i.e. your a business someone might try to find on the web, you need a web presence even if you don`t sell on the web.
  • WebTigressWebTigress subscriber Posts: 0
    Hi Im new here! I love this post. It has a lot of great points I totally agree with. I almost never look at the yellow pages. I usually end up recycling them when its time and only keep them just in case my internet crashes out on me. Now that we have the Iphone...we really are never without internet and can easily find things through the phone. Including local restaurants, services, etc.
    Although I agree with CraigL that it still takes skill to design a site, especially when you have more complicated functions that include programming. Downloadable software can be limited in certain ways without a programmer to help customize it. Sure you can do it yourself, but Ive seen that way too many times where people end up getting a designer eventually any way out of frustration. Today`s web builders are still not up there with matching a designer`s skills and templates can be confusing when you get them although they are cheap and attractive. (We had some insane fun helping some one with their downloaded flash template before that she wanted customized...NONE of the layers were even named and there were at least 40 layers worth to go through. Yikes!)
    Although if you are a do it yourself kind of person, it doesnt hurt to learn some design to save money. There are a lot of books out there to help teach you the basics to get things done. Ive seen that is very common with bands in particular where one member does the band`s website.http://www.lions-mark.com/
  • googleguygoogleguy subscriber Posts: 47 Bronze Level Member
    Thanks Web Tigress,
    Looking at your site, I can tell you are a very talented designer. That is an impressive list of clients!
     I believe that people who have no web pressence at all should at least start with something. The ones who find that they need something more professional, should find someone like yourself or one of the many other talented designers on this forum to design their website.
    Thanks for responding!

  • WOWbizWOWbiz subscriber Posts: 1

    Web-Presence is perhaps the most overlooked vehicle of advertising for local, owner-operated businesses. Yes, every retailer needs it. Every dentist, lawyer, accountant and minister needs it. Every café, restaurant, coffee shop and nightclub needs it. Every wholesale supply company needs it.
    I’m not suggesting that all these businesses need to actually transact business online. I’m only saying that everyone listed in yesterday’s Yellow Pages needs to also be available on the internet today–it’s where your customers expect to find you.
    If you’re thinking you might not be able to afford putting up a website, think again. Create a simple Business Profile in local business Directories with a minimum budget of as small as 65$ with out any Monthly maintainance charges . local directories provides you these features
    Your web profile includes a Unique URL,of your choice .You can use web profiles as Marketing piece and direct your customers for online marketing
    By having Web-profile you can increase your exposure to ‘link swaps’ with other businesses with in local business directories . The More link swap activity you perform the more exposure you will get the more exposure you get the more businesses you will acquire
    Promote business by creating business profiles get web presence increase your customerbase.http://www.wowzzy.com</a>

    WOWbiz2/16/2009 11:18 PM
  • TdogTdog subscriber Posts: 0
    Yeah dude it does.
    I`ve made thousands of dollars using the internet using craigslist, email and google.
    I don`t have a gold plated Ferrari yet, but am working on it.
  • Ziyapathan0143Ziyapathan0143 subscriber Posts: 150 Silver Level Member
    You dont offer things on the web? Do you offer things through osmosis ? Does the flyer you simply gave out acknowledge Visas? Let's be honest, you are continually offering whatever it is you offer. I have numerous fruitful physical sort customers that advantage from their online movement. I trust that in the event that you had a site that lone had your name, telephone number and bearings to your shop, you could be succesful. Numerous private venture proprietors are anxious about the possibility that that they require a site that is gaudy and has a huge amount of substance and blah..blah...blah. Truly, most shoppers simply need to realize that you are legitimate and offer precisely what they are searching for.

    Neighborhood individuals need nearby organizations. The main objective of most web indexes is to give great quality nearby results. In the event that I look for a chiropractor in the place where I grew up (San Diego) and all I get is chiropractors-r-us comes about for huge national chiro organizations, I`ve squandered my time. By concentrating locally you can contact many individuals who had no clue you existed and the awesome administration or items you offer.

    I trust that individuals who have no web pressence at all ought to at any rate begin with something. The ones who find that they require something more expert, ought to discover somebody like yourself or one of the numerous other skilled fashioners on this discussion to outline their site.
  • anushkachhakrabartianushkachhakrabarti subscriber Posts: 219 Silver Level Member
    Internet is necessary now a days for all type of business.And also it depends on your business.
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