SMB Marketing, Search vs Social

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Image courtsey Mike L. via Flickr CreativeCommons

For many SMB’s, every day is a game of survival. And it’s a game that’s not getting any easier.

Over the last 15 years, I’ve worked with hundreds of SMB owners, and there’s one thing they all have in common; they never have enough time to do everything on their plate.

So they scrape and prioritize and do their best, hiring help where it’s needed if they can afford it, and sometimes cutting corners when all else fails.

When it comes to digital, the marketing landscape becomes ever more obtuse for business owners as they’re constantly pounded by messages of “SEO” and “Social Media” and how important it is that they don’t miss out on the shiny new thing.

So when they don’t have the time or the expertise, how do SMB’s know where to begin?

While we don’t want to make the classic marketing mistake of assuming we are the customer, but the easiest place for a business owner to start is by looking at their own behavior.

When you search for a restaurant, bookstore or coffee shop, where do you turn? Most of the time we turn to search.

When was the last time you fired up twitter and hunted for a nearby coffee shop?

Make no mistake, social is useful, especially for staying connected to customers, improving loyalty and fostering advocacy. But at the top of the funnel, when driving new business, search is still the biggest game in town.

In a perfect world, SMB’s would tackle both as search and social compliment each other quite well. But if you only have time for one, start by building a strong foundation in search.

But Still There’s A Problem

Let’s assume the SMB has decided to sustain their social presence but really put their focus on search. While search is a good place to start digital marketing, the unfortunate reality is that many SMB’s suffer from outdated or inaccurate information that hurts their search results.

Search, like social, is not fire and forget marketing, it requires regular attention. Hours change, inventory changes, specials and promotions change, and so on. To make matters more difficult, SMB owners must keep all of those things up-to-date across multiple channels including Google, Foursquare, Yelp and so on. Failing to keep those things up-to-date across channels is failing to address the most fundamental strategic differentiator a business has, customer service.

From o2o’s standpoint, these are exactly the problems we’re solving.

Helping our clients’ customers save time, keep information current across channels, and get better results from search & discovery is key and it’s something we take seriously.

We’re not ignoring social, in fact, far from it. But we’re working to set the right foundation first so the myriad of marketing options are more manageable and less fragmented.

By building on the right platform will provide much more value than disconnected marketing strategies and products.

Contact us to learn more bout how we’re solving problems for SMB’s.

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