Requiem For The Non-Digital Small Business

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Remember, It’s Never Too Late To Go New School With Your Marketing & Advertising

It is the essential physiological question of 21st century American business: If a business does not have a digital presence, does it still exist?

In theory, yes. In online profitability and long-term sustainability, absolutely not. For stubborn small business owners still going old school via word-of-mouth, phone book ads and a dimly lit store sign, they could be living on borrowed time. For the world is going digital.

“If you don’t have a digital presence today,” former Obama Administration U.S. Department of State staffer Tom Cochran wrote, “you don’t exist.”

We’re not trying to be overly dramatic here, folks. But to put it bluntly, business owners have to adapt or die a no-profit death. Without a digital presence, your ability to obtain new clients and business in the 21st century American business marketplace is almost zero. In other words, living a non-digital business existence is a long-term death sentence for your company, no matter what today’s revenue streams may tell you. Maybe not tomorrow or next year, but soon.

A New York City mob boss has a longer life expectancy. The scary news: A 2018 Forbes study estimated 8% of American small businesses still operate without a website.

“Having an online presence can make or break a business, especially for small business owners,” All Business columnist Jes Gonzalez stresses.

Here’s a digital primer for old-school business owners. “A ‘digital presence,’ as notes, “simply refers to how your business appears online. It’s what people find when they search for your business or company on the internet.”

These days, when potential customers try to find who you are, what’s your name, where you are and what you do, they Google you.

For example, if a customer sees a sign for Cadillac Jack’s Million Mile Tires on the highway, then Googles “Cadillac Jack” and doesn’t land a single hit, Cadillac Jack’s does not have a digital footprint and doesn’t exist in today’s digital marketing world.

And you can bet your Goodyear Tires Cadillac Jack’s competition is already digital. Blue Corona reports between 70 and 80% of people research a company online before visiting the small business or making a purchase with them.

As romantic as yesterday’s old-school marketing may be and how pretty it looks on those Hallmark Chanel Christmas movies my wife watches 24/7 no matter what time of the year it is, old school doesn’t get the job done today.

“A stroll down Main Street is not what it used to be,” Forbes columnist Andrew Gazdecki stresses. “Your windows and facades may be enticing and inviting, but they are not enough to keep you competitive in these technological times.”

The good news for new businesses just getting into the digital marketing game: It’s never too late. Going digital can open your business to an undiscovered country of new business opportunities and customers. Most importantly, going digital will greatly and immediately increase your brand recognition.

Here are the essential questions that your business’ digital presence should answer:

  1. What Does Your Business Do?
  2. What Solutions Do You Offer?
  3. Do You Provide A Service Or Product?
  4. Where Are You Located?
  5. When Are You Open?

When you go digital, you want to go all out if your budget allows: Website, social media, SEO and demographic focused advertising on the websites your customers are most likely to visit.

“You have to paint a pretty digital picture if you want your business to stand out from the competition,” Gazdecki writes. “The most important player in (today’s) new marketing game is your online presence.”

If going digital seems overwhelming, you don’t have to go all in at first. Start by listing your business with online directories like Yelp, YellowPages and Google My Business. Next, seek out the indexes and directories that are geared toward your niche audience. Consider adding video. YouTube, for example, is the world’s second-largest search engine after Google.

Applying basic SEO strategies like keywords in the title and geotagging to videos on a YouTube channel, you will make it easier for search engines to associate your brick and mortar location with potential customers’ needs.

Remember, the best and easiest part of having an online presence is it brings customers to you. It’s the best form of advertising in today’s marketplace, regardless of the size of your market.

“The stronger your digital presence is,” notes, “the more visible your business is to prospects. This means they’ll be able to find you more easily, whether they already know you or not.”

CG Web Strategy will be happy to get your business’ digital marketing up and running, up to date and up to speed on how to attract and retain new customers.

For it’s never too late for the oldest school business cowboy to catch up with the Joneses and catch on to the digital age of American small business.

In summation, let’s be blunt: Go digital, folks. It’s simply a matter of life and death for your small business.

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