The Declaration of Online Independence
When the founding fathers started this country back in 1776, their idea of sending a quick communiqué involved dispatching a printed message on horseback. Even Ben Franklin, the colonial father of electricity, a talented inventor and printer in his own right, could not have foreseen the invention and proliferation of the Internet. In fact, had the Internet been available in the latter half of the eighteenth century, just think of the possibilities:
Would the “Midnight Ride of Paul Revere” have morphed into the “Midnight Tweet of Paul Revere?” Would George Washington have consulted weather.com before attempting to cross the Delaware River on December 25, 1776? Imagine the galvanizing effect that the Boston Tea Party would have had if it had been rebroadcast on YouTube or shown live on Google Hangouts On Air. What do you suppose would have been the British response if the Declaration of Independence had made its debut to Facebook’s 900 million members?
The possibilities are endless and the outcome of the American Revolution could have been very different had the World Wide Web been in vogue back then. But one thing is certain. All those long dead patriots would have embraced the technological advantages represented by anunfettered worldwide communications system with both hands. Which is what makes it so difficult to understand why so many modern business owners still seem reluctant to exploit the obvious advantages of the Internet.
Even though the web has been around for more than 15 years, an Ad-ology survey reported that 46 percent of small business owners did not have a Web site in 2010. Even more startling is the fact that 95% of small businesses who do have a site have little or no presence on page one of the major search engines. Granted, with Google controlling up to 80% of the search market and 260 million websites currently online, it is getting harder to generate a page one result. Still, the single reason that most small businesses have such a poor showing online has more to do with poor habits than poor performance.
In my last two posts, How to Make Google-Ade and The Shortcut to Online Success, I pointed out the fact that not only was there more than one way to skin a search engine, but that there were a number of techniques that could propel most anyone to page one prominence without altering your website at all. Most of these “shortcuts” rely on Web 2.0 technology, such as blogging, social networks and video. Therein lies the rub. While most business people are involved in blogging and social networking to some extent, most do not understand how to properly employ these technologies to enhance their online marketing.
Revolutionary Marketing Technology at Your Fingertips
Take blogging, for instance. While many business owners have a blog, most do not blog on a weekly basis. They either can’t find the time to blog, or they can’t come up with anything to write about week in and week out.
What they don’t seem to understand is that blogging is one of the best ways to reach out and engage both prospects and customers alike. They also don’t realize that the average business owner literally trips over ideas, human interest stories and pearls of wisdom that would be of interest to the public on almost a daily basis.
The problem is that when they come upon these concepts they fail to make note of them by either writing or photographing these gems as soon as they occur, even when they have the perfect device to perform both these chores right on their hip.
That’s right, a smartphone is the easiest way to capture any moment for posterity that has ever been invented. Not only can you photograph an event, most smartphones are video capable. This means you can provide a running commentary that can be used as an electronic notebook which can later be reviewed in order to write your blog.
Better yet, you can cut out the middle man altogether and create a video blog that can then be distributed on your social networks, embedded on your website and blogs and even attached to any printed literature via QR code.
Keep in mind that Google actively searches for mixed media such as video and you can kill two birds with one stone by creating and optimizing videos that can then migrate to page one of the world’s most popular search engine.
While there are a number of other revolutionary online technologies that can provide any business with a competitive edge, the only way that the web will work for you is if you work the web.
The bottom line is that if the Internet is important to the continued success of your business, then you need to start making it a priority to engage and interact with your audience on at least a weekly basis. Whether you perform this task yourself, or you outsource it to a professional online marketer is entirely at your discretion. But, if you want to stop languishing in the backwaters when it comes to communicating with the public, you only have two choices:
1. Embrace online marketing.
2. Buy a horse.