You’re a “small business owner,” so SEO and web marketing is something that only those big boys, the corporate-type organizations need to worry about, right? WRONG!
Think about it. When was the last time that you looked in the Yellow Pages for a restaurant on Friday night? How did you find that local drycleaner? If you need advice on a good autoshop, are you more likely to email your friend or watch that TV ad that was TIVO’d with this week’s episode of Lost?
More than likely, the web is making or breaking your business, and unless you’re paying attention it’s happening right now without you knowing it!
Sure, we’ve all heard that “content is king.” But with the rise of Web 2.0, you’re being left in the dust if you don’t understand that “conversation” and “context” is everything.
Online Conversation = Your Reputation
With the advent of social media sites like Yelp, Facebook, twitter, the rise of influentials has arrived. It’s easier than ever for customers to express their opinion about your business / product / service.
Recently, I wrote another article on how a drycleaning business was shooting itself in the foot with at best so-so customer service. While the old model was that one dissatisfied customer can affect 9 others, that unhappy Yelp post is likely to be read by 99+ of your customers!
Sure, one posting on a forum will have limited impact but 2 or 3? You can’t really control what’s being said about you in one sense, nor should you. People value raw, honest opinions. That’s why a good review on Chowhound is more likely to influence whether I head over to your place than all the newspaper and radio ads.
What You Say vs. How You Say It
Of course, consider the source. This is where the Pareto principle applies. We all turn to certain people in our spheres of influence for their opinions on certain things. Similarly, some sites even rate posters based on how others value their opinions.
If you haven’t checked out the link above to the preview of The Influentials on my Google library, be sure to go to Figure I-1 on page 5. This table highlights how much the opinions of others influence our decisions on certain things such as restaurants, medicine, or hotels. As marketers and business people, we need to pay attention to this.
More than once, I’ve noticed that when I do a Google map search for a particular store, it is practically invisible! Try this as an experiment, and see how easy or hard it is for a customer to find you. Be honest, and rate yourself.
4 Star – No problem, and there are even back links to other sites such as Yahoo
3 Star – Your business shows up, but not much else
2 Star – Wrong address or other info
1 Star – Where are you??
Ok, now that I’ve got your attention. What can we do about this? That’s the topic of my upcoming articles.