Why SEO Matters for Small Business
With Small Business Saturday right around the corner, we thought we’d do a post in honor of the local landmarks, mom-and-pop shops, and community leaders in cities and towns across America.
A lot of small business owners rely solely on local traffic, and many exist in small towns where it seems like everyone already knows where shops are, what they sell, and how well they’re thought of by customers. Can these businesses skip out on investing in SEO and other forms of online marketing?
The answer is a firm, resounding NO. Even the smallest businesses and businesses in the smallest towns need to market themselves online.
For one thing, every business wants to grow. If you own a small coffee shop, you might not want to become Starbucks, but I know a couple hundred extra customers every few months could help. SEO, social media marketing, and other forms of online promotions could bring those customers in like no other form of marketing.
SEO marketing helps your business grow by reminding locals of your business, strengthening your customer relations, bringing in young people, and bringing in out-of-towners.
How does SEO help remind locals about your business? It’s simple. Because of the ubiquity and ease of use of the internet, especially since the proliferation of smartphones, your customers are always online – no matter what industry you’re in. While your customers might not be walking past your shop or listening to your (expensive) radio ads every day, chances are, they check their smartphones several times a day at the least.
Having high rankings on search engine results pages and a strong social media presence means you have a better chance of making one of those customers or potential customers think about your business (and perhaps come in and spend some money) every time he or she picks up the phone.
A strong presence on Google, Facebook, and other relevant websites can also give you a better relationship with your customers. These sites provide them with a forum to give you reviews – if you get good reviews, it’ll boost your standing in the community (and your sales); if you get bad reviews, you can reach out to customers and give them special offers or show that you’ve fixed the problem. Customers on Facebook and other social media outlets can also message you directly – if they can find your page (in other words, if you have strong SEO on your side).
Broadcasting your goods and services well on the internet also brings in out-of-towners, whether they’re in town on business, for pleasure, or just because they’re passing through. This type of marketing also attracts young people – the demographic that will choose whether your business thrives or closes in the next ten to twenty years, and beyond that!
Young people and people from outside your town are more likely to use Google than anything else to find their next drink, snack, haircut, or gift. If you’re the first thing they see, it’s more than likely they’ll come to you.
SEO has some other major benefits for small businesses too. For one thing, it’s often a good deal cheaper than traditional forms of marketing like radio, newspapers, and TV (even though it’s more effective than ANY of these mediums). Also, the business with the best SEO nearly always beats the competition – which means if you aren’t number 1 in your town now, you’re losing customers every day.