The Local Business Owner and Web-based Marketing. What Are They Waiting For?
Way back in 1990's, (your remember) during spectacular growth and hype of Internet, one group in particular learned to doubt they needed Internet as a new marketing tool - local business owner.
While many simply ignored it as a game for larger businesses, there were those who bravely set out to explore possibilities. Unfortunately, many of these local business web-marketing pioneers ended up wishing they had ignored it too.
What happened? Why do many who tried web-based marketing for their local businesses feel burned, or at best, skeptical?
For starters, somebody forgot to tell them it required marketing. The "build it and they will come" theory prevailed. Instead of being a marketing driven, these early attempts were frequently, and solely, put into hands of web designers.
Now don't get me wrong. The designers did their job. Many sites were built. Basic functions performed smoothly. Even site email worked… and a few local business owners could be heard bragging - "I got a web site."
Then… nothing. Neither current nor potential customers were visiting, let alone taking any kind of buying action at these web sites.
The business owner, likely applying same thinking they used about Yellow Pages (put it out there, and they'll find me), grew frustrated, then angry. Problem was, consumers had long ago become accustomed to using phone book as a source of information about local businesses. Using a web site was a different story.
"Web site? " they might ask, "How do I find it?" Such comments often conveyed gap between having a site that could fulfill its promise and having a site that did nothing but add an expense.
While much of this happened just a few years ago, a lot has already changed. Many more consumers have grown comfortable using Internet as a source for local information, and these numbers will grow. Unfortunately, residual 'bad taste' lingers among many who operate in local business arena today.