Local businesses such as restaurants, retail stores and service repair shops are losing new sales each month by ignoring the power of the Internet.
Many local enterprises are shutting their doors because they haven’t figured out how to use the Internet to drive customers to their physical address, argues one online expert.
“As a local-business Web site owner, you may need to inspire people to do more than just click. You may need to get people to pick up the phone and call your business. You may need to get people to get up and go to your store, restaurant or office,” Raynay Valles, writes in her new book “The F.A.S.T. Track Internet Marketing Method for Local Businesses."
The good news, Valles adds, is that if an entrepreneur has an established local business, people are already searching online for businesses similar to theirs. People are not looking in the phone book or newspapers anymore; they are surfing the Internet.
Valles spells out a practical strategy to shift online marketing into high gear. She says two ways are to quickly get listed on search engines and use social media to get more potential customers and clients to like, follow and patronize a business.
Potential customers "know that the Internet gives more information than any ad could. People are looking for information about businesses around the world and just down the block,” she writes. “The local businesses that educate themselves with success strategies will have the advantage over others who ignore the Internet.”
The Internet can be a scary thing to those unfamiliar with it, Valles says, especially to small-business owners who don’t have the expertise. In the 128-page paperback book, the author makes it clear to owners that whatever they can’t or don’t want to do can be outsourced.
As the business owner, the important thing to be aware of is what works online, key capabilities needed to be a successful Web-site owner, how to communicate what works to the business's tech people, and the leverage points required to help the owner get the most from his or her efforts, she says.
“A Web site is like a ‘salesperson in cyberspace.’ At first it’s wide-eyed and new, unpolished and probably failing, just like a new, inexperienced salesperson,” Valles writes. “If you want it to be successful, you’ll have to train it. Then let it run successfully on autopilot.”
Raynay Valles is an Internet-marketing strategist who works with clients at her marketing firm. For more information, visit her Web site at www.jawdrop.com.