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Internet marketing vs traditional marketing for small businesses

Advertising is the backbone of traditional marketing for most small businesses. Without it, any small business will likely fail. But let's stop and ask a question:

Why do small businesses advertise?

We want to get our message in front of our target audience, correct? Duh.

Traditional Advertising:

Traditional advertising comes in many flavors and forms:

Television
Radio
Magazines
Direct Mail
Directories
Trade Shows

This is the short list of course. There are many more tools we can use. These are all very expensive. So why do all of this?

To identify buyers. And to get in front of those buyers, of course. Again, duh.

In advertising, we send a message out to the GENERAL PUBLIC in the hopes that our target audience (who usually comprise a small slice of that 'general public' pie) will see our message and respond.

So, with advertising, we have to wade through everybody to reach the few that are important. And we have to pay huge sums of money to do that. Of course this is one of the major goals of any advertising campaign - to identify our target buyers.

Wouldn't it be nice if EVERY person we managed to reach was a target buyer?

Internet marketing:

This is what search engine marketing brings to the table for small businesses.

In traditional marketing the process begins with the SELLER sending a message to a potential BUYER.

In Internet marketing, the process starts with them. The BUYER demonstrates interest and the SELLER is identified in the search engine.

In other words, we don't try to find buyers. We instead make it easier for them to find us. Thus, nearly every person who finds us is a potential buyer.

With Internet marketing, we don't have to chase buyers, as they have already identified themselves via the very search terms they use. We don't have to ferret them out. They are right there, signifying their interest by the searches they perform.

This seems simple on the surface. But many small business owners don't understand the value that search engine marketing brings to the table. Many insist upon setting up a website and then use advertising to attempt to drive traffic to the site. That is a backwards, outbound, traditional approach to an inbound marketing strategy.

Think about a directory listing. If you are a local small business owner you likely spend a lot of money on local directory list advertising of some kind or form. You know that anyone who picks up a copy of such a directory has already made a buying decision. Now they are going to find a place to buy what they need. They demonstrate their interest by first picking up that directory and then by flipping that directory open to the proper category and looking through the listings under that heading.

In a very simple sense, that is what Internet marketing is. But, unlike a local directory listing, this listing might appear to a worldwide audience via the search engines.

Content optimization:

Unlike real world directory listings, you cannot buy your way to the top of ORGANIC search engine results - you must EARN the right to be there.

Content optimization is providing enough of the right kind of information, properly formatted, to demonstrate to the search engines that you have the information that searcher seeks and, if done properly, can result in greater visibility with your target audience via organic search engine results.

Learn how to give your potential buyers the information they seek and you'll never have to chase buyers again.