There's never been a better time for business owners to start marketing their business's products and services via the Internet.
But the more I talk to business owners, the more I realize that there are still quite a few that just don't "get it".
So why would you want to consider marketing your business online when there are so many other marketing methods available? Here are just a few reasons.
By Lowering Your Marketing Costs - The biggest reason for marketing online is that, for the most part, it's extremely low cost.
You don't need a huge ad budget to market your business on the Internet.
By Automating Marketing Tasks - There's a good chance that some of the marketing tasks in your business could be easily automated with a good online system instead.
Things like collecting information on prospects, providing people with answers to frequently asked questions, self-service online support, and so on.
Of course, there's the risk of things becoming too impersonal.
But at the same time, many business owners are fighting tooth and nail to get more done in less time.
So anything that frees up some of that time is something to consider.
By Reaching a Wider Audience - It's sort of a no-brainer that the Internet allows you to reach a wider audience.
This can be especially important for businesses in tough economic times when the local market might not be responsive enough to what you offer.
Coming up with ideas for products/services to offer a wider audience might also lead to new areas of business you might not have considered.
For example, a handyman might work in the local area doing odd jobs, but could also create how-to DVDs showing home owners how to do simple repairs, then sell them worldwide.
By Reaching Your Audience When They're Actively Looking for What You Offer - This is one of the biggest differentiators between the Internet and most other forms of marketing.
If someone finds you online, you most likely showed up in a search result or on a website at a time when they were actively looking for they types of things your business offers.
That's a much better prospect that's probably more receptive to your offer than if you had used more traditional marketing, though traditional marketing is still effective too.
By Building a Relationship With Your Prospects and Customers - By creating online marketing campaigns and content (article, audio, video, etc) that have some sort of personality, you're able to build a stronger relationship with your prospects and customers.
We all know that people tend to do business with those that they know, like and trust.
Being able to market in a way that builds that sort of relationship helps people get to know you...
and hopefully like and trust you.
This can be great for converting prospects to customers, keeping existing customers or generating referrals.
By Making Marketing Easily Trackable - The other great thing about marketing online is that most of your efforts are easily trackable.
You know the old saying, "I know half of my marketing isn't working, I just don't know which half", right? Well online, you can track which campaigns, website, articles, or other efforts are working versus those that aren't.
With that type of info, you'll know which tasks to focus on and can either improve or drop the losers.
By Creating Long-Term Marketing Results - Most of the time, when you advertise offline, your ad lasts as long as the publication in which you advertise.
How many people are going to re-read that June 2004 issue of the newspaper or magazine you placed an ad in? But on the Internet, people are always looking for information and once pages are added to the search engines, people can find those pages for years to come.
If some of those pages are articles or other content you've developed related to your business (and that lead people to your website), you could see results from that content for years to come.