As small and medium businesses begin to demand greater visibility for their advertising/marketing spend the demand for online marketing increases. Not only because online marketing offers performance-based services where SMEs only pay for results, but also because of the increasing opportunities in “free” marketing products which use the SME’s business content such as: Google Maps, Yellow, Finda, Zenbu, Hotfrog, ZoomIn and even You Tube.

“But Online has Been Around for Years”

I hear some of you cynics out there utter these words. I also know that most of you who may be saying this work, like myself, within the realms of digital media in some way shape or form. It’s very easy to get caught up in the “next big thing” without actually taking a step back to see that the last big thing (which, generally speaking, SMEs are just getting used to) is actually coming to fruition and delivering tangible results for SMEs.

I’m not suggesting SMEs don’t try and innovate through the latest “free” marketing products, I’m just saying understand what products will generate the greatest return based on the time you put in. Would I suggest a business create a Twitter account first? No, they should concentrate on getting their various business listings’ information across all the sites accurate and optimised. Then look at Twitter, Facebook, You Tube or ‘the next big thing’.

Online has been around for years, this is true, but what has not been around for years is the accessibility, depth and ability to market your small to medium business across a wide range of sites. Especially when you can do this at minimal cost, with ever increasing visibility (Google Local Business Centre, coming soon to NZ) and to an audience that continues to evolve its media consumption. With 2.1 million (and growing) New Zealanders actively online, there needs to be a fundamental shift in the way SMEs can be found.

“Print is Dead”

A statement that I’m not going to simply jump on the bandwagon for the sake of this blog post. Traditional media such as print can still be an effective part of an SME’s marketing strategy and can provide some performance tracking via unique urls and phone numbers.

Use Soup Digital as an example, some of our target market are people that potentially don’t have any idea about how to use the web effectively let alone understand the basics around Google. So how do I reach these people? Well, traditional media such as print and radio (Radio is having a resurgence thanks in some part to online streaming and social media) are essential for Soup as a business to reach this market.

However, due to print’s historical, and what I believe over valued ROI, the reliance on it has definitely begun to shift to it’s more nimble media sibling. This has occurred more dramatically in the more mature markets of the US and UK but the signs for New Zealand have been there for a while, just check out the figures in this NBR article.

“So Why Be Online and How Do I Get There?”

This question, even in New Zealand’s market, is in itself somewhat outdated as many companies are online but don’t know it. I’m always coming across clients that did not realise they had their business listed across Zenbu, Hotfrog, Finda and Google Maps. Not because they forgot they had listed their business but because these companies are constantly acquiring new business content (not always legally I might add) to place on their sites and build new products, usage and revenue around.

But even if this is the case, don’t just stop and think to yourself ‘my business is already listed, job done’. There are other businesses (your competition) really making the most of the plethora of online marketing products out there, some with the help of Soup Digital and some doing it for themselves as business owners become increasingly online savvy. Just check out Groove Kitchen’s twitter page, a great little cafe in Napier who are making their first steps into real-time Social media….I just hope they do it right – but that’s another blog.

All in Moderation

After all that’s been said, the one piece of advice I would say with regard to online, is to allocate you time accordingly. Don’t spend all your day tweeting, checking analytic results, etc. as your time should be focused on converting business leads and bringing in the money. Becoming obsessive compulsive about how your business is tracking online right down to the very minute is a sure fire way to lose all the hard work your online marketing has done. Remember this is one of the reasons why Soup Digital and companies like it exist, to manage your setup and your profile so you have time for your business.

So I guess the question SMEs should be asking is; “My business is online now but how do I make the most of it?”

Brought to you by: Soup Digital
Growing small to medium businesses online.

Why Being Online is Important for All Small to Medium Businesses, 5.0 out of 5 based on 1 rating

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  1. Several suggestions for businesses to make Social Media workable
    1. Do Social Media at a set of the day every day
    2. Create a schedule of activities
    3. Allocate a specific timeframe

    So if you want to achieve even more, you can outsource your Social Media activities to those who specialise in Social Media. Tweet Twins is an NZ company who can help you (no matter where you are located globally) via outsourced services plus training, from getting started to getting strategic. It would be our pleasure to help you.

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    Rating: 3.0/5 (1 vote cast)

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