Digital Insights

Why Internet Marketing is Vital to Local Businesses


Published: May 1, 2014

Just as the rise of the automobile spelled the decline of the horse-driven carriage, the Internet has changed the face of advertising and marketing forever. Consumers are turning their backs on traditional advertising channels such as newspapers and telephone books in favor of local Google business searches and online reviews.

The Decline of Traditional Media Channels

  • Only 29 percent of Americans regularly read a newspaper, compared to 56 percent in 1991.
  • An estimated 70 percent of adults ‘rarely or never’ use a printed telephone directory.
  • Overall television viewing declined 12.5 percent over the past 4 years, compared to a 43 percent increase in online video viewing in just one year.
  • Radio audiences overall declined by 13 percent from 2010 to 2013.

Traditional Advertising May be Doomed

Perhaps more alarming than the disappearing audience for traditional media is the growing change in attitude about advertising and marketing in general. Today’s consumer is being overwhelmed with commercial messages being pushed down his or her throat.

The Internet itself is a big part of the problem. We have all been spoiled by being able to access the content we want whenever and wherever we want it, and if advertising is going to survive it simply needs to be less intrusive and more responsive.

It’s not that consumers no longer need information to be able to make a wise buying decision, they just don’t believe that traditional advertising is the best way to get it.

Effective Internet Marketing for Local Businesses

It has been estimated that at any given time only 2 percent of prospects are ready to buy. This means that what you do with the remaining 98 percent will make or break your business. In short, you need to stay in front of them with informative content that they can use, building trust and rapport for the time when they are ready to buy.

As more and more consumers turn to digital media for news and entertainment, it’s a safe bet that the majority of your marketing efforts should be delivering your message where and when they want it – and this means Internet marketing.

  • Create profiles of the most likely prospects for your business, and target every element of your marketing around those profiles. This should include your choice of keywords, website content, the social media channels you engage in and the type of posts your write – the more targeted, the better.
  • Your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) efforts should focus on optimizing your website with keywords in all page titles, meta tags, headlines, content, and URLs; linking your webpages to each other using your targeted keywords; building links pointing to your site from trusted authority sites related to your industry or field.
  • Claim and optimize your Google+ Local Business Profile.
  • Get involved with social media, starting with Facebook. Social media not only helps you develop a relationship with prospective customers, it provides ‘social signals’ that will help you get better ranking in the search engine results.