I wrote last time about how Google and Inuit are pushing small businesses to get online and use their platforms for web hosting and advertising. This time I’d like to talk about how insane it is that there are still so many businesses that, for some reason, aren’t online in one form or another. In a world where 97% of consumers are looking for info on products online before they buy, doesn’t it make sense that the 40% of small businesses who haven’t stepped up to the plate need to get online immediately?
I realize that times are tough and that business owners aren’t as likely to spend more money when they’re worried about making ends meet already, but that’s no excuse for not at least utilizing the free platforms available to them online to get their presence out there. Google already offers free place pages, and they’ll even come to you and take a photo of your business to put online if you request it. They then display it on their maps search, along with the phone number and real customer reviews. If you have no presence online yet, that’s already 100% better than what you’re currently doing only takes minutes to sign up.
Facebook is another free platform, and they have over 750 million active users and 50% of those users log onto the site every day. Chances are some of those 750 million are near you, and you don’t need an extremely flashy page to be successful. There are several ways to engage potential customers through Facebook, take advantage of the fact that it’s a social network. Get your friends talking about your shop, and it will show up on their friend’s feeds, think six degrees of separation here. There’s no end to what you can accomplish without spending a dime on marketing. To check out a great article about small business Facebook pages click here.
There are ways to spread the word about your business without breaking the bank, so there’s really no excuse to not have your business online. Small businesses account for more than 66% of the jobs and nearly $8 trillion of revenue in the US alone. And if you need more coaxing, think about this: I can’t remember the last time I, or anyone I know, went to the yellow pages last time I needed to know where to get my oil changed, where I could get a haircut or where I could order a pizza. Its 2011, get online already!