Okay, you don’t have a huge marketing budget. However, if you want to stay in business, you are going to have to figure out how to find and keep a strong customer base. Face it, if people don’t know you exist, or don’t fully understand what you are selling (and why they need it) you will not be in business for long.

The Internet is the Thing

The simple fact is that most people begin their search for a product or service on the Internet. Even as long ago as 2012, 85% of people researched products and services online before a purchase. By 2015, 64% of all in-store sales were being influenced by Internet searches and 46% of consumers relied on Social Media to aid purchasing decisions. Those numbers are still rising.

Almost all marketing professionals agree that you need at least a Website and a Facebook Page if you want to build a business.

Small Budget, Think DIY

There are a lot of that companies offer to build a free website or Facebook Page. While many end up charging hefty hosting or other hidden fees, anyone who has absolutely no technical ability can have a website and Facebook Page up and running in no time.

If you already have a Facebook Page or a modicum of technical ability, you might consider building your own Facebook Page. Services like BlueHost and WordPress offer an easy way to build a beautiful website. (WordPress has hundreds of templates, many with “drag and drop” capabilities.)

But that is just the beginning…

“If You Build It, They Will Come” is a Myth

There are over 4.71 billion indexed Web Pages and over 1.5 billion Facebook users. Competition for space on search engine results pages is fierce. And getting a post seen by a target audience has become an enormous challenge.

Even people who spend thousands on websites have only made the first step in the marketing journey.

It’s All About Content

Google admits that one of the best ways to improve rank on search engines is to provide content – and lots of it. Google also has the ability to read and evaluate content. They give preferential treatment to what they consider the best. In other words, they can spot bad grammar, poor punctuation, and even keyword stuffed content. A website that does not provide good content will go to the bottom of the list. Google also admits that the more content a website provides (in the form of things like a blog) the more likely it is to be found in a search.

Facebook is also looking for good content. Sites that constantly post overt ads or spammy content may be blacklisted. Facebook also relies on “likes” and “shares” in order to give companies posting valuable content a higher priority in the News Feed.

Why Spend Your Money on a Writer?

Hiring a content writer with SEO and Social Media knowledge may be the best way to spend a limited marketing budget.

In order to have the best chance of being found on the Internet, as well as giving customers that information they need to make the decision to purchase, there must be a constant flow of information. The best ways to do that today seem to be with blogs and Social Media. Both need to be carefully written and constructed.

Writing digital content is both an art and a science. Each piece of content – whether on the website, a blog or Social Media post – must be written to get the most visibility possible. It should use the right key words. It must attract the right audience. It should be written in a way that invites the reader to share it with others, thus enlarging the potential audience and client base. It should contain a subtle call to action.

Content writers understand SEO. They know what Google looks for when returning search engine results. They understand how Facebook and other social sites work and how audiences on these platforms interact with content in order to get shares and backlinks, They understand how to research the competition in order to differentiate their clients. Since most content includes images, they understand how to use images to attract Google results without compromising copyrights.

A professional writer can protect your reputation by making sure that each piece of content is carefully crafted and factually correct.

Finally, content from a blog can be repurposed for an email campaign and Social Media Posts. With a good image, it can be posted to sites like Pinterest. A well-written blog post can also be submitted to an online magazine within the company’s industry.

All in all, content is what drives the Internet and the Internet is crucial to the success of your company.

It’s time to get on board and budget for success in 2017!

The small business optimism index hit a 12-year high in December, according to the National Federation of Independent Businesses. CNNMoney