Online advertising can be a mystery for small Main Street type of businesses with more of a local focus, but trust me. You need it. Even if you are a single bricks and mortar retail location or a local service business, online advertising can still reach customers in your community and surrounding areas.

A useful book to guide you is Local Online Advertising for Dummies (though I’m not a huge fan of the Dummies series, this one is a good handbook to get you started if you have no experience).

In this blog series, we’ll cover some key areas EVERY business (with an e-commerce site or not) should consider for their marketing plan:

  • Your website. You have one, right? What every website needs, how to not frustrate your customers and prospects, how much you should pay for hosting and how to build (or have built) a site that you, or someone on your team, can easily update
  • Whether it is still worthwhile to use traditional advertising like the Yellow Pages (hint: no), billboards, print mailings, newspapers and more.
  • Search engines and paid versus organic searches. Do you need to do both and what the heck is SEM and SEO and how do they differ?
  • Social media like Facebook. How much time should you invest and should you pay for advertising?
  • Geo/Local is a big fat deal. How can you take advantage of the technological improvements that help customers find you right from where they are? (Here’s a tidbit: geo/local is so big that Google recently pulled their lead search development leader, Marissa Mayer, off of traditional search and onto geo/local development)
  • Cutting edge technology like mobile advertising, online chat, video, coupons
  • How to measure all of this activity to make sure your time and money is well spent

Interesting statistics to inspire you to spend time learning about online advertising:

  • There are 266 million Internet users in North America, 55% of Americans are online every day and Americans spend 60 hours per month online!
  • In a single month, an Internet user visits an average of more than 2600 sites per month
  • This year, 4% of Internet users will use geo/local services, a statistic that is expected to grow significantly in the next 12 months
  • There are 500 million Facebook users, HALF of whom (250 million) check in on Facebook every day

The summary? It’s time to spend some time getting savvy about online advertising.


by Steven Schlagel