So you own a small boutique in a small town. Or you’re a doctor. Or you run a produce shop. You think marketing online is for people who have customers nationwide. You couldn’t be further from the truth.
Early on, the promise of the Internet as the great equalizer went largely unfulfilled for the numerous small businesses with local customers. In 2007, with localization and geocoding, those same small businesses can maintain a very effective, yet targeted web presence; enhancing their local presence and not wasting money on attempting to extend themselves into a position they cannot support.
More people are throwing out their hefty phone books in favor of using the internet to find local businesses. I, for one, won’t even consider a local business if they don’t have some kind of web presence. Why? I want to:
a) See what they offer before driving to the business (try before you buy). I’m a big menu reader online!
b) Determine whether they deem it worthwhile to develop a decent professional presence on the web. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but having a website goes a long way toward making me feel the business understands the value.
If I, for instance, need to find a car collision repair shop in Orlando near where my car was rear-ended last week (true story), I type “car repair Orlando” in a Google search. I find one where I want it, and call. It may not be true, but if the business has a website, I feel they’re less likely to be a “fly-by-night” operation. It’s all image.