How Small Local Businesses Take Advantage of Their Competitors’ Silence

by Joanne Steele on September 1, 2011


I was rereading a post at the Revinate Blog, 3 Things Hotels can do in 2 Minutes to Improve Engagement, that I had bookmarked months ago

child on a staircase

Anything can be accomplished with small, simple, doable steps

and the phrase that jumped off the page was, “Take advantage of a competitor’s silence.” (Please read on – this post is not just for lodging owners.)

What exactly do I mean by “competitor’s silence?”

There isn’t a business in existence that doesn’t understand that the internet has inestimable value as a free marketing tool. But most are ignoring it! They are silent on the internet!

They may have a website that hasn’t been updated for months, but they are not doing the most basic things to get a toehold on the internet. They don’t show up even close to the first page on search engines when someone searches for their industry and town.

They are ignoring review sites. They think that “social media” means Facebook which they don’t have time for.

They are silent on the internet.

In a comment on a recent blog post on Google Places, Arkansas small business expert, Herb Lawrence, noted that between 9% and 13% of business owners in his region, in the sectors he surveyed, had claimed their business on Google Places. This is about average for small local businesses in rural areas! 9% to 13%!

How you can benefit from your competitors’ silence on the internet

You know it is a good idea to market on the internet, and here is the incentive you’ve been waiting for.  You have an opportunity to get a jump on most of your competitors. Your customers are searching online and only about 9% to 13% of businesses are available with information in The Place that people are looking!

Would you consider having a business without having a way for your customers to reach you? Of course not! But that is one way to look at the current status of internet marketing in rural areas among small local businesses.

Customers with spending money are pressing their little noses against the proverbial glass window of your digital presence, and finding nothing! Nobody home!

If you are the ONE business in your sector that has a presence on the internet, guess what, you WIN! You get the attention and the business!!

How do you make time for internet marketing when there aren’t enough hours in the day!?!

In a recent post, Your Simplified Social Media Checklist…, Ryan Lee made a revolutionary suggestion that you are going to love, “Just pick ONE type of social media outlet and concentrate on it.”

He and I differ a little on our definition of “social media” but I thoroughly and heartily agree with him. Do one thing well.

I have seen small locally owned businesses succeed by concentrating only on review sites. Here is a post about that:  How To Market Online by Encouraging Customer Reviews

I have seen others succeed by doing NOTHING and I mean nothing but Facebook, and here is a post about that:  How Facebook Is Helping a Successful Rural Tourism Business

Now I don’t recommend to anyone that you give up your website – that is internet sharecropping (I love that phrase coined by the folks at Copyblogger). But  concentrating on ONE social media outlet makes perfect sense for extremely busy people like you.

One of my favorite bloggers on new media, Brian Solis, recently published an important post in the rise of the power of your customers to impact your success.

I bring it up and encourage you to read it, because for many small local businesses, choosing NOT to be active in social media of any kind means that NOBODY is influencing your brand. Not you, because you’re not involved in the places where people talk – social media. Not your customers and prospective customers because you are not there building a relationship and interacting.

Now is the time to get started. The seasons are changing, and times of seasonal transitions are always great times for all kinds of change.

I’ll be there to help

I’ve put off opening the Take Control of Your Internet Marketing membership site until early October. My partner and web genius, Kim Solga, left today for a month rafting the Grand Canyon. Internet service is a little sparse in the Canyon – we’ll be out of touch for a month!

But when we open, we’ll help you to get your internet marketing program built in small, simple, doable steps. Check out our website, and stay in touch. You’ll be the first to know when we’re open for business.

Photo on Flickr by kimdokhac


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