A reader, Ikey Benney, has some very strong opinions on how Internet marketing has failed small businesses. He goes so far as to say that his small company is halting all Internet marketing. Is he right?
Hey, I work for a really big company, IBM, so maybe I am no one to talk, but the small businesses I talk to tell me the exact opposite story. Ikey’s comments, made yesterday on this blog, reveal a common misconception on how Internet marketing ought to work.
Ikey claims that small businesses “cannot get top 10 positions in order to get traffic and and sales” and backs up the claim, saying, “Just type the major keywords like: business, advertising, camera, online shopping, computer and tell me who you see in top 10 positions? Are they small businesses, individual website owners or big corporations?”
The answer to Ikey’s question, in general, is that large companies do tend to snare those high-profile terms more than small companies do. But isn’t that because they match them better? What small business is a better match for computer than Apple Computer? Looking at the most popular keywords misses the point entirely.
Small businesses don’t typically match broad search terms because they don’t have the breadth of product offerings to do so—they aren’t the right matches. But what if we search for terms that really do match small businesses?
I wrote a blog a few months ago on how someone took a free Squidoo lens and got a number #1 ranking in Google in just a few weeks for “bergen county psychiatrist.” Not “psychiatrist.” But she didn’t want the top ranking for psychiatrist because she lives in Bergen County, New Jersey and that is where she wants to get patients from.
Ikey also says that small businesses can’t afford the huge per-click costs of paid search, but geotargeting, which allows any business to identify the geographic area for the paid search query makes it possible for any small business to buy search ads just for the small local area they serve.
Ikey thinks I am in denial about how big companies have taken over Internet marketing, but I think I have my eyes open. Small companies can compete in Internet marketing much more easily than in offline marketing that requires deep pockets. Did anyone see Blendtec’s viral marketing campaign? I had never heard of them before and they now are found on the first page of Google results for “blender”—ahead of all other commercial listings.
In offline advertising, they could never afford to run more advertising than larger blender competitors, but on the Internet they can compete on an even footing for a far smaller budget.
I understand that money always helps—it helps on the Internet too. But in offline marketing, money is a far more potent force than it is online. Free online techniques such as search marketing and social media marketing level the playing field to a far greater extent than in the offline world.
While you’re thinking about your Internet marketing, there’s one more day to win a free copy of my new book. Enter the content by tomorrow with your Do It Wrong Quickly success story and get your chance to win.
About Mike Moran
Mike Moran has a unique blend of marketing and technology skills that he applies to raise return on investment for large marketing programs. Mike is a former IBM Distinguished Engineer and the Senior Strategist at Converseon, a leading social consultancy. Mike is the author of two books on digital marketing, an instructor at several leading universities, as well as a Senior Fellow at the Society of New Communications Research.