I like print. There is nothing quite like the feeling of heavy paper in your hands when you’re on an airplane or on the beach. I enjoy turning each page of a magazine and I get lost in glossy images — I admit it. But if you are a small to medium sized business, you need an online presence in addition to your print advertising. You need a website that is tied in with your own blog and social media pages. Here’s why:
- Building a presence. A potential client is searching for the good or service you provide. But they may not be searching your businesses’ name in particular. Hopefully, you are already standing out with a good location, good signage, advertising, and a good presence in the community. But a strong blog and social media presence enable you to expand your reach to broader demographics.
- Providing information. Once your lead is aware of you, a greater online footprint enables them to quickly find the information they are seeking, even on their mobile device. Your portfolio, catalog, business hours, and address are easily found. The client who is not ready to commit to calling you can still learn about your credentials online.
- Inbound marketing. Your potential clients are searching specific terms online when they are researching a good or service. These specific terms are called long-tail searches. If you just received a shipment of light tan leather chairs and you have a blog post about it, the person Googling “light tan leather chairs” is highly likely to see your blog in search results. They are likely to click on your post because you are not spamming them or cold-calling them — you are providing them with the information they sought.
- Sales tool. A recent study by Harvard University says social media helps sales reps by enabling them to develop relationships and keep their leads updated. A blog can also hold much of the information that a sales rep has in binders and cases.
- Search engine optimization. A blog plants the seeds of your brand throughout the internet. The more your content is shared, the more traffic your blog gains, the more credibility search engines give your website. This means your business shows up in search results when prospects search key words associated with your brand. A blog provides accurate, relevant, fresh content that sales leads — and search engines — appreciate. Content marketing reinforces the business owner’s status as an authority in their field.
So I like print. I believe in it. I like people and things I can interact with. I’m sure that I’ve met half the people reading this post at industry events and cocktail parties. I’m not one of those people who plays video games for fun. But the internet is an amazing tool for sales and marketing. And a blog that’s tied in with social media is the best place to start.