By Rich Lazzara (richlazzara.com)
Most of the marketing channels that small business have used in the past are dying right before our eyes.
It’s got me thinking about why so many small businesses aren’t utilizing more Internet marketing tools today. It can’t be cost, since most of these things cost very little in the way of monetary investment. Perhaps it’s a perceived lack of time. However if you knew your success depended on it I know you would make time. I guess it could be a lack of knowledge on how to use these tools or how to get started. Quite frankly there is a ton of great stuff on the Internet that answers a lot of questions you may have.
So, I’m left with two reasons that small businesses choose not to utilize these tools a) their current lead generation and cultivation system works just fine b) they don’t believe Internet marketing will work.
Current System For Attracting Leads
Let’s look at the first one. How do you attract customers today? Here’s a list that I came up with, perhaps there are more.
- Word of Mouth (Referrals)
- Print Advertising (Newspapers, Yellow Pages, etc)
- AM/FM Radio
- Trade shows
- Direct Mail
- Outdoor Advertising
I’m sure there are other ways that you attract customers to your small business, however this probably covers most. Now, based on trends what do you think each of these channels will look like 5 years from now in terms of consumption and engagement.
Trends For The Next Five Years. What’s Up? What’s Down?
Based on the past and current trends I see the following from above trending UP.
- Word of Mouth (Up) – I’m not sure how to measure “Word of Mouth” but I would say it is going up in terms of consumer consumption. There is no doubt in terms of effectiveness in the consumers mind. This is one of the reasons Social Networks are so important.
- Outdoor Advertising (Up) – With the increase in cars, travel and people the consumption is bound to be up. Now there are more strict laws continually coming forward limiting this area, however I would say overall it’s fair to say that it is up.
Now for the channels that we see trending Down in consumption and engagement.
- Print Advertising (Down) – Nearly every channel, magazines, newspapers, yellow pages, etc are all down.
- AM/FM Radio (Down) – This is an interesting one. While AM/FM radio listeners are down, digital radio, Internet radio continue to climb. I put down since we are talking about AM/FM Radio specifically.
- Trade Shows (Down) – Both attendance and participation of nearly every industries trade shows have been steadily declining.
- Direct Mail (Down) – This has been on a downward trend for some time, more in the sense of effectiveness than consumption. We certainly haven’t seen a dip in the amount, but more in the success rates.
- Phone (Down) – Every since caller ID this channel has been on decline.
So we have an overall general look at how the consumption and engagement trends are shaping up and I think its fair to say that over the next 5 years these trends will continue. If anything the “Down” channels may move downward with increasing speed.
The question is if a majority of these channels are down, then what are you going to do to replace them? The answer should be Internet marketing.
Tomorrow Rich will look at what Internet Marketing can do for your small business. By the way if one of the reason you aren’t more engaged in Internet marketing is because you just don’t know how, follow my his free newsletter where he covers this topic more in depth.