How can we reach small businesses if they’re not online?

How can we reach small businesses when they are not online?

Local business closing down

It’s a tricky dilemma. We’re convinced there are a huge number of businesses who haven’t properly established their online presence. Every day potential new customers are looking for information on the goods and services they provide, and every day they buy elsewhere. These are not bad businesses but we’re sure they will slowly fade away and fail if new customers don’t find them. My mother still looks in the yellow pages; my daughter hardly knows what yellow pages are.

Many small businesses are owned by people who don’t spend much time online. They aren’t the facebook generation, they haven’t a clue what Google Plus is and they are so busy with the real world, they haven’t had time to notice that online is where the action is. After all, we tend to judge the world by our own standards; if someone doesn’t use the internet, why would they appreciate that the majority of buyers nowadays do all their research online and a great many purchase there too.

The Internet chicken and egg

We would like to make it our mission to take the message to them. But how? Does anyone read direct mail any more? Do any of them take cold calls? If someone doesn’t spend time browsing the Internet, we see it as quite a challenge to convince them of the benefit. It’s quite a complex beast to get your head around without spending a good deal of time actually using it.

For a business that believe in inbound marketing, devising an outbound strategy to sell inbound is quite a conundrum. Somehow a dry paper report doesn’t seem to have the sizzle to sell the sausage, but maybe that is the language the pre-Internet generation understand… an array of facts and figures… but can that express the rich media world that sell goods and services nowadays? It’s a serious challenge – if I try to describe browsing to my mother she understands intellectually, but as she’s never been online I can see she doesn’t visualise it.

Are old-school small businesses just there to service a dwindling number of old-world customers until there are none left? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

If you own or manage a business and are struggling to make your presence felt online, for goodness sake contact us now and Marketing Coop will analyse your approach and show you how to fix it – before it’s too late!

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