Saturday, November 29, 2014

It's Small Business Saturday: Do You Know Where Your Customers Are?

Today is Small Business Saturday, a national "shopping holiday" conceived in 2010 by American Express to promote local brick and mortar businesses. Despite the heavy-hitting financial power of its founder, the holiday stands in contrast to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, two more "shopping holidays" that promote big guns retailers like Best Buy and Amazon, respectively.

Will you be shopping local businesses today? We hope so. There are many, many reasons to go local. Shopping a local business will benefit your community. Local businesses offer unparalleled customer experience as well as unique goods and services. And there's still something to say about a face-to-face transaction--it's humanizing touch in a world otherwise dominated by screens.

Unfortunately, many people will not shop local businesses today for a very simple reason: marketing. Despite increasing awareness, many consumers do not even know about Small Business Saturday. As ABC News reports today:

"Small Business Saturday is still very much in the shadow of Black Friday, according to small-business owners.

The Saturday after Thanksgiving is meant to boost sales and customers far away from the big-box stores. But some owners say the day doesn't rake in nearly as much sales and traffic as Black Friday.

Black Friday is 'more known,' said Darrell Kingston, the owner of the footwear retailer Vamps in New York City."

We have to agree with Mr. Kingston, yet we'd also venture to say that it's not simply the event itself that pales in comparison to Black Friday. Many consumers do not know about Small Business Saturday; yet many more consumers do not even know about local businesses in their own town!

Why? Well, part of the problem is sociological. People are spending more and more time and money online--to the detriment of brick and mortar stores. But this very point clarifies precisely why local businesses fail to attract attention: most local businesses do not have a solid web presence. In the end, for brick and mortar businesses it really is about marketing--online marketing.

With the support of our sponsor, Alex Stepman, (a small business owner himself), The Organic SEO Blog is dedicated to helping small and medium-sized business owners compete on a level playing field with the big box retailers. We truly believe that a quality organic SEO campaign can elevate any business, small or large, to the top of the search page rankings.

For more on how SEO favors or disfavors certain businesses, please read: "What is Google Looking For?"

However, the experience of writing this blog has taught us exactly why it is so hard for small and medium-sized businesses to compete against the big guns. For most local business owners, for example, the work of running the day-to-day business supersedes all other activities. Day-to-day, many small business owners rarely have time to eat a proper meal!

Now, most small businesses understand the need to create some sort of online presence, yet many merely create a website without performing any marketing for the website. The experience of writing this blog has taught us that many small business owners simply do not know the first thing about on-line marketing or organic SEO. And who can blame them? As we've said before (again and again), the work of organic search engine optimization is tedious and time-consuming.

Please read: "Organic SEO is a Specialized Talent."

Even then, many small business would benefit from the simplest of SEO campaigns. It's important to remember that website optimization does not have to be a tedious affair. For a local brick and mortar, especially, just creating a reliable presence on Google might be enough to elevate sales. Many local websites, for example, do not even claim a local listing with consistent information: phone numbers, hour of operation, etc!

Beyond this, a few changes can make the difference between visibility and invisibility. An easy way to think about building a successful local website is to consider the SEO basics:

1. Website Design
2. Website Development
3. Content Creation
4. Conversion

If you're one of the small business owners who make up our small (but growing) audience on The Organic SEO Blog, we wish you success today and throughout the holiday season. And just remember, a little SEO know-how can go a long way.

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Small Business Marketing with Stepman's PC 

If you're looking for an SEO company that understands how to effectively promote websites for specific local areas we suggest contacting our sponsor, Stepman's PC: 215-900-9398 Stepmans PC combines traditional marketing methods and organic SEO--with an emphasis on natural website optimization--to design thoughtful, inspiring, and effective SEO campaigns that can attract your ideal local customer. 

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