One of the hot trends in the search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) field is offline consulting. Offline consulting is simply providing online marketing services to main street businesses.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses account for 99.7 percent of all employer firms, so there is no shortage of prospects for those versed in online marketing.
Unfortunately for most small businesses, finding a well-qualified online marketing expert can be difficult, especially at the local level.
The experience and expertise of offline marketers vary wildly, from the novice with high hopes that only understands one or two aspects of online marketing, to a true marketing expert that can help a business grow and prosper through an integrated marketing approach.
The cost of hiring a well-qualified online marketing expert can range from $3k to $20k for the first year, including the monthly maintenance fees. While that’s prohibitive to many small businesses, some view it as a service they can no longer do without if they want their business to evolve so it compete more effectively.
Since they can’t afford the top guns, they are forced to compromise on the quality of the expertise they are hiring. Despite the risk of investing money with the possibility of no return on their investment, more and more small business owners have determined that limited quality search engine optimization is better than no optimization at all if they want to grow their business.
Part of the problem for them is that they don’t speak the language of the industry. Their knowledge base isn’t sufficient enough for them to be able to judge if the person trying to sell them a $10k marketing package can deliver the results, or if the person pitching the service even knows what they’re talking about. What sounds good often turns out to have very little real world value in terms of quantifiable results.
Many qualified SEO experts won’t give you more than a few minutes of their time if you don’t have a budget of at least $5k, which, of course, simply rules out many small businesses. This leaves the small business owner wondering how they can effectively use the Internet to help their business evolve.
One affordable solution for the small business owner is to learn to do their own search engine optimization. Training material such as Dennis Gaskill’s Small Business SEO Training Course is a viable alternative for small businesses without multi-thousand dollar online marketing budgets.
Gaskill says, “There’s nothing terribly difficult about search engine optimization, it’s just a matter of knowing what to do. A small business owner can do it personally, can assign an employee to it, or can even enlist the help of family members to do the tasks needed. A business owner can do a better job of SEO than an expert in many cases, simply because they have a keener interest in their own success.”
As Gaskill notes, the most effective marketing strategies integrate online and offline marketing efforts. By optimizing online efforts and using online resources, small business owners can effectively drive more people through their front door. By adding anecommerce element, a “mom an pop” shop can, in effect, even become a global business.
While online-only businesses have long understood the need for search engine optimization, offline businesses often resist innovative
technology that could help improve their bottom line. The economic reality now is that enough small businesses are online, that those who aren’t, are at a distinct disadvantage and find it more difficult to compete against their more modernized counterparts.
For example, if Company A isn’t online and wants to communicate to their customer base they either have to buy expensive print or radio advertising, pay a costly telemarketing firm, or pay for an expensive mail campaign. In the meantime, Company B is online and simply sends an email to all their customers at zero cost. Company B has a clear and distinct advantage in terms of cost, reach, and timeliness.
While email marketing technically isn’t an SEO activity, Gaskill touches on ways small businesses can use technology to improve their marketing reach in his Small Business SEO Training Course.
Sooner or later small business owners realize the marketplace has changed and, in fact, is still evolving. The quicker a savvy business owner embraces changing times, the faster he or she can take advantage of the opportunities only available in the online world. To ignore the online world is to ignore the most dynamic, interactive, and largest marketing medium there has ever been.
For more information on the Small Business SEO Training Course, please visit: http://www.boogiejack.com/small-business-seo-course.html.