Are You Marketing Your Small Business Online?

According to an article on WebProNews.com, a study by Greg Sterling at Opus Research shows that 59% of small businesses don’t do online marketing.

The study shows that business owners rank the web about as important as newspaper advertising, but for some reason this doesn’t translate into spending for online ads.

The article reports Sterling as having written, “As a practical matter, Web sites without some other marketing element (e.g., SEM/SEO) arenít particularly effective in reaching audiences.”

What I find particularly interesting (and a bit puzzling) is the reluctance to spend time, energy or money for online marketing. I mean, it’s easier to measure the return on investment for online campaigns than for almost any other form of advertising or marketing.

You can pump hundreds (even thousands) of dollars on newspaper advertising without ever knowing for sure that it’s generated even one additional sale for you. On the other hand, with the free Google Analytics, you can track directly from an pay-per-click ad to a website sale.

Search engine optimization, properly done, can pay dividends for years in terms of company visibility, branding and direct sales. Optimize your site well and it can continue to show in the search results for a long time to come. On the other hand, as soon as you stop paying for traditional “old media” ads, it can be a case of “out of sight, out of mind” for your customers.

I dunno. It just doesn’t make sense to me to put all that money and effort into creating a great website in the first place, and to then do nothing to promote or market it.

So, what do you do to put your website in front of your potential customers? How much have you budgeted for online advertising and/or search engine optimization? How does that compare to how much you spend on other forms of advertising?

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Copyright © Diane M. Aull, an online consultant for small and mid-sized businesses. For more information about her services, visit NineYards.com or BootstrapSEO. For resources and tools for home based workers, visit Torka's Home for Wayward Girls.

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