I talk to a lot of people who either own a business or is thinking about starting one.

It still amazes me how some companies really feel that they do not need to have a presence online. The justification for not pushing their business online is always that they are happy with the way things are going now. That’s great, if a company is already doing well without online marketing then what is the point of trying to get them to start?

After all, word of mouth is still the most potent form of advertising you can get, so what makes online marketing so crucial for a business who may not need it?

Well, the answer is that although your business may be doing well today without online marketing, this will be nearly impossible in the future. As a business owner, you have to realize that times are changing and they are changing at a speed which is leaving most businesses in the stone age.

More and more local companies are going out of business because they refuse to change with the times.

A few months back I was speaking with one of our local produce companies which have been around since the 60′s, a great company with excellent customer service and products. However, the business is taking a dive now, and contracts are coming in slower and slower, contracts that use to his bread and butter are now moving towards different companies. I asked the owner why he thought the business was struggling so much.

His answer, of course, was that he has no idea, he hasn’t been doing anything different from when he first started the company, but for some reason, the customers are just not coming like they use to.

Next, I asked, what are you doing now to attract new business?

He said “nothing really, just a few ads on yellow pages but nothing major”. He did point out that there was a new company in town which seems to be getting all of the contracts somehow. So I did some research on the company and found that this new company has a very powerful presence on the internet, I found the site under just about every keyword related to their market.

When I told him this he said: “how does that make his products better than mine”? I said it doesn’t, but it what does do is put him right in front of the buying market and those looking to hire a production company. I told him that although word of mouth is excellent for any business, these days you have to have an online presence to stay ahead of the competition, that is just the way things work now.

Being on Twitter or Facebook Isn’t Enough

He also mentioned that a few years ago his nephew started a Facebook for the company. I immediately chuckled then apologized.

I had to break the news that the way people get in touch with your businesses is changing. No longer do customers pick up the phone and call you. People use their cell phones, smart watches, and tablets to connect to businesses through social media. Testing, updating, and responding to social media queries is a vital way to interact with customers. Today, make sure your company integrates social media into your online marketing strategy. It’s not enough to be on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites.

To really take advantage of this tool you must engage with those who choose to communicate with you through these platforms.

You Can’t Cheat The Search Engines

I tried to tell him how in the early days of the search engines, some clever tricks could get your site to the top of the search engine rankings. This is no longer the case. Forget the ever-touted practices of article spinning, content farming, guest publishing solely for SEO and other content.

As search engines get smarter and more skilled in finding the content that searchers really want to see, internet marketers must create content that is to succeed. While a shortcut strategy may bring you temporary first page rankings, updates will come, and those changes will be lost.

Sadly I couldn’t get the guy to commit, he said although things are not doing that good he’d rather keep it the way it is instead of making such a massive change. Well, what can I say to that? I’m not pushy, so I let him go but told him if he ever changed his mind to give me a call.

The point to all of this is that although you may think that you do not need online marketing now, trust me when I say that in the future you may wish you had started sooner. Unless of course, you are allergic to growth or money.

Start today and make it an excellent year for your online presence by creating quality content and knowing how best to present this content. If there is one truth in online marketing, things always change. This year will undoubtedly be the same.

My advice is that you start now, even if you really don’t need it. It is better to have a presence online then to have none at all.

Michele Thompson
Michele Thompson is the Director of Operations at Marqui Management, an author, entrepreneur and finance coach. She has over twenty years of experience in mortgage banker finance, global investor services, real estate and debt consulting. Coupled with her advanced degrees she drives to help new and existing businesses to reach their goals. Connect with Michele via social media or her website here @ Michele Thompson

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