Dear Small Business,

Times are tough. Forgive my understatement.

Surely, you have had to cut corners, tighten the proverbial belt, and make some sacrifices over the past few years. You didn’t want to, of course, but the market dictated otherwise.

Marketing may have been the first thing on your chopping block. It’s understandable. You weren’t seeing results. Money was being pumped into outlets that you could not measure the effectiveness of. That is money better spent elsewhere, you figured.

But let’s take a moment. Marketing isn’t just about throwing money at something and hoping customers start barreling through your doors in droves. Marketing is nothing if it isn’t done wisely.

Consider this: 85% of consumers are searching for local businesses online. About 60% of small businesses don’t have a website, and roughly a quarter of local businesses don’t even show up in search results.

Approximately 170 million Americans are on Facebook, 140 million on Twitter, and well over 100 million own smartphones. The numbers don’t lie: we live in an era of unprecedented connectivity. 

These people are trying to find your business. Not having an online presence is a disservice to your business. For those who have become disenfranchised with marketing, I implore you to give it a second thought.

Online ad growth is staggering. No matter what your business is – retail, restaurant, legal, medical, etc. – you can benefit from a strong online presence.

So you may consider hiring a consulting group to give you a hand, which is great. You have made the choice to invest in technology. However, beware of companies that can boost your search engine ranking with no explanation.

Your business is a part of your community, and online marketing is a part of your internal community. Good online marketing is an extension of your own company personality. Increased search engine rankings are a product of creating good content, engaged social networks, an aesthetically-pleasing and functional website, and a consistent branding effort.

Full disclosure – I am an online marketer. This isn’t a play for your money or a sales pitch.

I live in a small community where I have emotional stake in the businesses I grew up with. Seeing foreclosure signs on the front door is painful. Care about your business, because your community and loyal clientele do.

Small businesses are the lifeblood of the American economy. With a group effort, we can get the engine humming again.

Sincerely,

A friend.

To learn more about inbound marketing for small businesses, sign up for next Thursday’s free webinar.