And for the small local business owner, the issue is what is important enough to spend time learning.
I ran across a valuable piece of research to help answer that question while I was preparing my workshop with the North Coast CA SBDC last month. The research is a study done by About.com on the types of searches people do online called 3 Mindsets of Search.
Small local businesses are in the problem-solving business
The internet is forcing small local business owners to focus on the fact that they are not selling products and services, they are selling solutions to customers needs and problems.
In the past, when marketing was about spraying information in as many places as you could afford, and praying that potential customers would trip over it at exactly the time they needed it, we focused on products and services – the 4 P’s of marketing.
Now, content is king, the 5th P – People is paramount, and people don’t trip over anything, they search for it online.
And small business owners who have invested their lives in their products and services are having a very hard time shifting their thinking from those wonderful, unique, interesting, fabulous, thrilling, adventurous products and services and to the needs and problems of their customers.
It’s hard to see a website or Facebook Business Page as something more than an advertisement. It’s difficult to trust that this whole “attraction” thing associated with internet or inbound marketing will actually result in more customers!
That is where 3 Mindsets of Search becomes a valuable tool. I couldn’t find a link to the full study at about.com, but discovered it at searchenginewatch.com. The overview linked to at the beginning of this article is valuable. The link at searchenginewatch is thorough.
The study gives valuable, well documented information about how people use the internet to get information. Those searches easily fall into three categories. To educate, to inspire and to answer.
The study details what people are looking for when they approach information gathering with each of these objectives, who they trust and which industries cluster within each category.
How can this information make small local business owners better internet marketers?
- They can immediately see where they fit into this attraction scheme called internet or inbound marketing.
- They can better understand how to package content or information better, based on their industry.
- They will learn about building trust and authority, and how to use that authority to increase their customer base.
The internet and internet marketing is a pea soup of opportunity. This study can help trainers and small business owners slog through all that green to discover the ham hock and chunks of carrot – their own customer.
I must be hungry – time to stop and have lunch.
Here is another interesting post to add to your thinking about how our customers are accessing information. Television is not out, according to Brian Solis, but multitasking while watching is in. I’m guilty. While watching the inaugural, I found myself googling “Seneca Falls.” The question is, what is your customer searching for while watching???
pea soup photo on Flickr by JeffreyW (wish I was having lunch with him!)