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Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2005 at 4:55 pm

Small Business Beware of The Internet

By Jeffrey Eisenberg
August 10th, 2005

Many small/ local business owners, knowing I’m a marketer who focuses on Internet, have told me that their businesses "don’t sell on the web". As long as they believe that they’ll be right. Nevertheless, their customers are  comparing them to Internet competitors, using the web to find them or simply trying to engage with them in a meaningful way online. In those cases a poor website is worse than no website.

The tragedy is not that small business owners are making their own beds to sleep in. The true tragedy is that if and when they do wake up and realize they have a problem they’ll call someone with technical expertise, or their nephew who "knows some html". Those people will have little in the way of marketing expertise and their traditional marketers will know less. I know some of my Wizard of Ads Partners, like Dave Young, are making some headway but they can’t possibly help every small business and our clients tend to be larger. It’s a real shame.

The evidence that this is true has become overwhelming for those that know how to read the handwriting on the wall. These are two more omens I became aware of this week:

  • Small-business services provider Interland polled 1,032 leaders of small businesses nationwide for their Interland’s Spring 2005 Business Barometer report (available as a PDF download). Nearly a quarter (24%) said that 26% to 100% of their revenue was attributable to having a website.
  • Forbes reports that: "Mobile search is poised to become the next big offshoot of the profitable pool of Internet search. The numbers are there: The U.S. has 180 million cell phone users compared to 125 million PCs." Will local businesses get found, would they know how to make sure that they do, would they know what to display?

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Jeffrey Eisenberg, founder of FutureNow, is a professional marketing speaker and the co-author of New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling books Call to Action and Waiting For Your Cat to Bark. You can friend him on Facebook.

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