The consumer world is moving away from television and print media, and toward FaceBook and Twitter run on mobile devices. But American small businesses have largely missed these trends.
Studies show that while more than 80 percent of adults actively use the internet to research local businesses, 63 percent of small companies in America do not even have a website. These trends are alarming and suggest that a majority of the marketplace has yet to capitalize on the benefits of establishing a greater online presence. Luckily, many of the latest social media tools are free and relatively easy to set up. Here, we look at 5 reasons your company will fall behind the pack if you fail to capitalize on the benefits of online media.
Establishing authority and building your reputation.
The reality is that small businesses are forced to generate credibility without any outside help. There are many small businesses that offer excellent products or services, but have no way of convincing the broader consumer audience that these offerings are right for them. Companies that lack significant presence in the most popular online outlets will be viewed as outdated, incapable, and difficult to access. As the media world changes, “word of mouth” in the online realm is going to determine the success or failure of many businesses – and it makes no sense to lose these advantages because they are relatively easy to implement.
Increase customer interaction.
Communicating through Facebook, Twitter, and email is free and can be done 24 hours a day. This makes it easier for customers to get in contact with you and offer feedback for potential product changes and new orders. But the biggest advantage here is that these conversations can be initiated on your customers’ own time. This helps to ensure that orders will not be missed simply because your business did not have a customer service rep available to answer the call. Online media tools will continue to help companies build stronger relationships with their clients, as they can be accessed at any time of the day or week.
Establish your target demographic.
Online media offers access to direct markets and consumer bases that are more likely to use your services. Targeted email lists and social network groups allow you to set your audience and communicate with that audience in ways that are more efficient, and tailored to specific needs and developing trends. Old media required large budgets and significant man-hours to reach a targeted demographic. Without a plan to build a stronger online presence for your business, you can expect to see a lot of wasted resources in demographic areas that are unlikely to have an in your products in the first place.
All of these factors offer ways to strengthen your brand and are critical for the success of your business. The new market environment that has become increasingly dominated by online PR practices, and the companies that fail to use these resources are only going to fall further behind ones that don’t. If you think these trends don’t apply to you, remember that most small businesses fall into the category that fails to address the growing need to have an ongoing PR program. If you miss out on the advantages of online PR programs, you miss out on conversions -- and you give your customer base to companies that are better established in the areas that characterize the modern promotional market.
By Richard Cox
Richard Cox is a university teacher in international trade and finance. Lessons in macroeconomics and price behavior in equity markets. He writes for MarketBulls.net, BinaryOptionShark.com, TheStreet,Seeking Alpha, and the Motley Fool.Investing strategies in these articles are based on technical and fundamental analysis of all the major asset classes (stock indices, currencies, and commodities). Trade ideas are generally suggestive of time horizons of one to six months.