The Internet and Its Impact on Business, Sales and Marketing

Since its introduction to the general market, the Internet has made quite an impact to a lot of people. What was already a small world that was connected by telephone has gone even smaller, thanks to technologies such as email and internet chatting. Revolutions in the way people communicate and establish relationships got underway, thanks to the “miracle” called the Internet.

The Internet’s huge influence on mankind has also reached the area of economics. Entrepreneurs, recognizing its capability to bridge physical barriers, turned the Internet into a medium that can help them boost profit, enhance marketing and encourage business expansion. Since then, being online has become some sort of a normal phenomenon for businesses throughout the country.

The Internet offers great opportunities that businesses can exploit. Its flexibility gives businessmen the venue for aggressive advertisement of their products and services by putting up a website, or by taking advantage of social networking and video sharing sites. The Internet is also one way for businesses to reach markets in other parts of the United States and other countries.

Tapping local business Internet marketing consultants can significantly help entrepreneurs, especially start-up ones, to come up with ways on how to employ the Internet as a way to boost their ventures. Some of these consultants even offer information technology (IT) by themselves or through tie-ups with computing experts, enabling businesses to find the right Internet-based solutions for them.

Putting up a website is the first thing that local business Internet marketing consultants advise businesses to do. Aside from that, they also help entrepreneurs come up with the best online marketing strategies that will help them effectively advertise and sell their products or services to consumers. Other Internet solutions that consultants could offer to businesses include search engine optimization (SEO) services and the crafting online gimmicks such as promos and minigames.

It can clearly be said that the Internet has drastically changed the way people do business. Local business Internet marketing consultants agree, saying that while traditional sales and marketing methods still work to this day, a lot of entrepreneurs now add the Internet in their list of options after seeing how the technology helped a lot of businesses grow. Technologies such as the Internet truly make life a lot easier than it was before.

How to Implement Local Business Internet Marketing

About one-third of people deliberately search for information about local businesses through the internet rather than through the phone book or other traditional media. Ignoring this fact can be detrimental, but those that take advantage of local business internet marketing will see the advantages that are available. There are three basic steps that a local business can utilize in order to market itself online. They are not necessarily followed in any particular order, but they include managing online business profile information, optimizing web pages for local internet searches, and increasing the local popularity of the site by dominating the search results.

There are various sites that provide business profiles, and the most important ones are those run by the primary search engines. In order to ensure that the search engines have an accurate profile of a business, it is necessary to improve and correct profile data through various online channels. These include data providers such as Amacai, infoUSA, and Acxiom. The search engines themselves have business profiles as well. These include Google Maps, Bing Local, Yahoo Local, Local.com, Ask.com Local, and TrueLocal. The search engines obtain information from the national data providers, but allow businesses to submit their information as well. Internet yellow pages such as Switchboard, YellowPages.com, SuperPages.com, and Citysearch should also contain up-to-date information.

The next step is to optimize the primary website. This means performing keyword research, providing relevant local information, organizing the site both for users and search engines to understand, and obtaining links from high quality sites related to the subject of the business. In addition to these tasks, which are relevant to all online businesses, a local business marketing strategy will target keyword phrases that reflect local needs, and information on the site will seem targeted to local traffic rather than a generic audience. Furthermore, a local phone number and address should be listed on all prominent pages of the site, or even on every page. Display a local phone number even if a toll-free number is also available, as this is helpful for the search engines and people to determine the location of the business. Driving directions can also be helpful.

The final step is to dominate the search results for keywords related to the business. The first two steps contribute to this. There are three locations that a search engine can display a website: the general search results, the local listings, and the advertisements. The first step focuses on a high location in the local results and the second step focuses on a high rank in the general results. By taking advantage of pay-per-click opportunities, a business can advertise next to the search results as well.

Local Business Internet Marketing Is Easy to Understand

Even local businesses who conduct very little business online can take advantage of the internet. The fact of the matter is, today more people find out about a new business through the internet than they do from the local newspaper, phone book or flyer. Setting up a web presence is a powerful way to develop a business. By utilizing the power of local business internet marketing, a company can spread awareness about its products and services in a way that was not possible before.

Skilled local marketers take advantage of the fact that a great deal of people discover local businesses through services such as Google Maps, Bing Maps, and MapQuest. Whether or not a potential customer uses these services directly, the results of these mapping programs are often prominently displayed in the results of search engines. This is especially true when a person searches for a product and specifies the location. Google, Yahoo, and Bing will all display a list of five or ten local businesses in the search results when a location is specified in the keyword phrase searched for. A business is much more likely to get noticed if it ranks in the top five local search results.

There are two primary methods of promoting a local business through internet marketing. They are referred to as search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM). SEO is the process of optimizing a site so that a search engine understands the relevance of the site in relation to specific keywords so that the site will be displayed prominently whenever those keywords are searched for. There are many factors relevant to SEO, but the most important elements are the quality and quantity of links from other sites, the prevalence of keywords on the site and on the sites linking to it, and the internal organization of the site. When these factors are used in combination with local techniques, such as posting the phone number and address of the business on every page of the site, and claiming profiles with Google Local Business Center, Yahoo Local, and Merchant Center, a business can claim a larger percentage of the local internet traffic.

SEM is an alternative form of local internet marketing that allows a business to pay search engines a fee to display advertisements. The advertisements will be posted above or near the search engine results, as well as on websites talking about related subjects, and payments are only made to the search engine when the ads are clicked on. This technique is referred to as pay-per-click.