The Internet Levels The Playing Field

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The Internet Levels The Playing Field

One of the most intoxicating aspects of the Internet is the power and reach it extends to even the smallest businesses.

For this article I was inspired by Yaro’s post Using The Internet To Grow Your Business. He makes a very good point when he says…

“There is no good excuse for not initiating some form of online marketing. Even simply having a website listing your contact details is a start and should be leveraged using other marketing methods, such as including your web address on business cards, letter heads and brochures.”

Just ensuring that you have a professional presence on the web in the form of a website, automatically puts you in contact with thousands of potential clients.

Whether or not those site visitors become buying customers is another issue. As smart small business owners you want to execute a marketing plan that attracts visitors who are interested in the products or services you offer and you want to do it affordably.

In this post I’ll point out two traditional big biz marketing tactics that through the power of the Internet are now almost standard practice for even the smallest businesses.

Traditional Method #1: Surveys

The concept of giving your customers what they want is a sure way to build loyalty and sales! We all know that, but not all companies take the time to survey clients on a regular or thorough basis. Some even think that the exercise is something that is beyond their expertise or budget. That’s a very pre-Internet way of thinking.

Only a few years ago the cost of conducting thorough and professional market research would have been out of reach for many small firms. Online survey tools and data analysis have now put that kind of quality market research within the grasp of even the smallest business budgets. There are many survey sites out there that are a low monthly fee.


Traditional Method #2: Customer Relationship Management

Another great traditional marketing tactic is Customer Relationship Management or CRM. CRM use to be pretty well associated with the sophisticated activities of big businesses that could afford it. CRM involved splashy colored brochures, call center contact and other labor intensive initiatives.

Those initiatives are still used by many firms, but so is the relatively easy to execute email marketing campaign. In its earliest days email marketing was considered a god send and a necessary evil that turned off many potential clients.

Now that there have been regulations put in place and clients have the choice of choosing to receive your emails (opting in), email marketing is a far more respected and cost effective format of communicating with customers.

Regular communications through emails to your customers helps to show your appreciation of their loyalty—especially when your messages are not just about sales.

Savvy small business marketers offer free quality items to members on their email list as an expression of appreciation for customer loyalty. Things like information packages, discounts on future purchases, advance notice of sales promotions and other services help your list to feel appreciated for their loyalty and that translates into future sales.

Not only is email marketing effective – it is very affordable.

For a relatively low subscription fee you can keep in contact with hundreds or thousands of your potential clients using an automated system that would have required additional staff in those pre-Internet days.

Whether you do your business primarily online or offline, the Internet is a resource to be embraced as an integral part of your business.

A small business owner can now affordably and easily:

– Access valuable market research data;
– Implement a sophisticated customer relationship management program
– Promote across the world—all through the convenience of the Internet.

Take the time each day to review the most respected and proven tips, resources and practices available to marketers today. Read over the posts and archives on our site—Small Business Branding features the insights and tips from some of the internet marketing industry’s most respected thought leaders.

Marketing costs shouldn’t be an inhabiting factor to growth anymore—not when access is so affordable and the pay off so great!

Vera Raposo

Vera Raposo has been an entrepreneur since age 22, owning 5 retail store locations.
In 2007, she closed and sold all locations to pursue her online business.Now she's living out an entrepreneurs dream having successfully turned business into a venture that's completely online.

You can reach her at veraATclickcreateshare.com.

Comments

  1. There is so much that can be done – and relatively easily too. We know this. The fact is that most small business owners do not spend time reading about small business and marketing online. Print mags are expensive and often do not feature online and new media very prominently.

    Many businesses collate email addresses, but few use them well. At the same time, that is not such a bad thing. Newsletters etc coming into your inbox is fine for a certain number of products, but imagine if every product we used, wanted to send us a newsletter? Our inbox would be permanantly filled.

  2. Hi Tom, you’re absolutely right. I believe small business owners (I’m thinking of traditional brick and mortar stores) spend some time looking at the odd magazine. But do not focus on building their marketing efforts and the odd few do collect email addresses.

    I think they need to utilize email marketing better and run special sales, even on an autoresponder to get people coming back into their store. I think it could be done very well without overloading people with every single mention of every product they have.

    But think about it, if you mention to a traditional business owner the word autoresponder, they will look at you with a big question mark on their face.

    It’s a shift in thinking, I believe it is happening but it will take some time.

  3. You know there WAS a magazine that I felt covered the web quite nicely but has since gone under. it was called Business 2.0. I used to read it cover to cover. It was owned by the people at Fortune. Wired is very topical with regard to the web, don’t you think?