Small businesses that want to survive are going to have to adapt their marketing strategy as consumers increasingly shift from print to digital in their search for local products and services.
Nielsen Online conducted research in 2007 and 2008 for Web Visible, which indicated that consumers are increasingly utilizing online services to find local products. Six “traditional” (radio, television, local newspaper, yellow pages, white pages, and direct mail) and four online (search engine, email offer, internet yellow pages, enewsletters) advertising mediums were evaluated.
The six traditional showed declines over two years from 7 – 18%, while the four online methods increased from 28 – 71%, with search engine use the largest gainer.
Troubling for small business is that only 44% have a web site and about half of those that do don’t believe it is capable of converting consumers into customers.
Researching small businesses in my own area, 124 out of 396 had a web site.
Of those that had a site, they were very much web 1.0 sites. The developers did not build the site with the small business’ marketing in mind, they put the expected brochure pages in place. Most did not leverage basic Search Engine Optimization, and often did things detrimental to building page rank. One even contained recognition of the site developer in the meta description.
While those on the leading edge are talking about web 3.0 and the arrival of web 2.5, consumers are at web 2.0. Unfortunately, small business is lagging behind at web 1.0, if they are online at all.
For small business, especially independent, local shops, to survive moving forward they are going to have to get online and understand and implement interactive marketing to supplement their traditional advertising.