So I put together a little case study for small business owners out there, to get a sense of the approach of many main street and small business owners towards the Internet and Internet marketing.
I was recently at networking event in my home town and as I walked in, was pulled aside by a women I know. “Kenneth”, she said, “I have someone here who you need to speak to. His name is Joe and will introduce you to him now. Do you have a few minutes?”
Well Joe was/is a Plumber. True story and I am not making this up. This is not a presidential bid at all. Anyway, Joe is a hardworking and pretty successful plumber and the fact he has been in business longer than I have been alive means I have a lot of respect for men and women like him.
Now why I wanted to use him as a short case study is not to point out all that is wrong etc with the approach of many small businesses, but to highlight the challenges that many like Joe face. 2 things: Even though he has been in business for a few decades, he was still out there at a net working event, even after a hard days work. Not many people do that. Many expect even after years of success, new customers and opportunities to come find them. Secondly, Joe had heard on the Radio something about Social Media marketing and the benefits to business. Spot on. Nice work again Joe.
Joe also mentioned to me his younger relatives were always buried in their smart phones and texting and knew this was the new generation and where they “play”. Brilliant again. He was spot on and dead right. I am certain that there are not many business owners, in fact I KNOW, that see that opportunity or are doing anything about it right now.
Here’s the challenge though. Although Joe is right and relied on word of mouth (and advertises in Yellow Pages – with no results – does anybody read those anymore?), he could see the shift. The problem? He didn’t have any web presence at all. Didn’t even have a one pager with contact details and keyword rich content. He isn’t even on Google maps. The truth is not many in his industry are.
So every one who is online searching for a Plumber in ……town is not seeing him at all.
He had a legitimate concern of cost and not sure if he would get results. So I gave him some free tips to get started and get going. It is not difficult at all with free blogs and internet marketing tools like Places, Bing and Yahoo too, especially in markets like his. When he gets some traction, then I will help him out further.
What I also did was save him a large amount of dollars too. Too often I hear of Internet Marketing gurus boasting of charging people $1,000 to set up a Facebook page. Good for you, if you can sleep at night doing that. But let’s think about this for a second? Does a one plumber business need a Twitter account and Facebook page? Perhaps they would be helpful for visibility, down the road or when he has time. But there was no need to invest thousands of dollars that I could have charged him to do that, but what for?
Social media is a little over hyped and is HARD work. If you do not have time, a plan and anunderstanding of different channels available you WILL fail and probably be out of a few thousand dollars too. Question for you? Do you think a Social media strategy is the same for a Plumber, as it is for a marketing company or a booze company?
So why do people (marketers and small businesses) think they will get the same results by trying to use similar strategies? Learn from Joe, he is on the ball, identified the opportunities, but was lucky enough to get some advice before diving head first and blowing his hard earned revenue.
Gaia Media Group is based in Ridgefield CT, Fairfield County and specialize in assisting Small Businesses develop and implement successful Internet Marketing, Social Media Marketing strategies as well as assisting in SEO.