Archive for

Local Business Online Marketing: Could My Small Business Benefit From Web Marketing?

Everyday, people perform searches for local products and services. Whether it’s finding out what’s the closest brick oven pizza shop, or whether there is a car insurance company with good rates in your area, local searches make up a large volume of the total daily searches performed by people.

If you are a small business owner, you definitely want to tap into the hundreds and possibly thousands of local searches that are done in your area daily for products and services that you may offer.

The traditional forms of business marketing include listing your company in the Yellow pages, placing ads in the newspaper, on TV, and on the radio. But today, in 2011, there is another place where people find their information for local services 70% of the time. Yes, you guessed it: the internet!

Is your local business listed online? Have your organization pursued any forms of online advertising?

Local business online marketing is one of the easiest and most cost-effective forms of advertising today. As I mentioned, 70% of searches for local products and services happen on the internet. That is according to recent statistical research done in the U.S. in 2011 and that number increases every year.

If your local business is not already benefiting from an online marketing campaign, today’s a great day to start pulling in those extra profits. The easiest way to get started is to get listed electronically. You can publish your local business name, address, phone number, website, business description and business hours on search engine sites such as Google, Yahoo, and MSN. Then, when people type in keywords related to your business in the search engine, as well as your location, you will appear in the top results. This is a great way of instantly drawing additional customers to your local business.

However, listing your local business electronically is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to online marketing.

How about starting a website? Or a Facebook group? Or posting on Twitter? The options for e marketing today are pretty much endless. It all comes down to how big you want your business to be, and how many new customers you want to attract.

The first thing to know is that starting a local business online marketing campaign is not difficult. Many small business owners may feel uncomfortable about the idea of advertising on the internet, if all they’ve ever done is post an occasional ad besides the comics page in the newspaper. But don’t worry! You can do it. All you need to get started is to determine approximately what geographic region you are attempting to reach, and who exactly within that local area is your target market.

Once you know your specific region and who your target customer base is, you’re all set to starting a local business online marketing campaign. Consider starting a website. Think of it as your new online home. This will be your basis of operations on the internet and the place you put most of the content related to your local business.

There are many great resources and tools available today online for starting up an e marketing advertising campaign. Just remember, you don’t have to do it all by yourself. There are many willing people who can help you launch yourself on the global platform called the internet. Think big, and decide today, whether your local business could benefit from online marketing. I’m here to tell you that if you go for it, it will be one of the best small business decisions you ever made.

Business Payment Services Allow You to Accept Online Payments and Grow Your Business

Financial experts agree that offering multiple ways to accept payments creates a better shopping experience for your customers and helps build brand loyalty. Business payment services, particularly merchant service providers (MSPs), can help streamline your company’s payment process. Unlike third-party providers like PayPal and Amazon that require customers to leave your site and finish their online payment on the third-party’s site, MSPs integrate their online payment solutions seamlessly with your website. This means that you can easily accept online payments without customer’s ever leaving your environment. Most MSPs give businesses the option to include their logo on invoices, receipts, and offer more to leverage branding.

While it might seem like you are relegated to just credit card payments with MSPs, most business payment services will allow you to accept credit cards, debit cards, e-checks, and even gift cards using their online payment solutions. To authorize these payments, MSPs integrate their online payment software with your website. These allow you to easily, and often automatically, create and distribute invoices, authorize online payments, and quickly review customer accounts. These benefits will give you more of an appreciation for user-friendly dashboards that come with most business payment software.

Using business payment services to accept online payments offers customers the ease of paying their bills online without having to make time consuming trips to the post office or bank. In addition, customers can easily set-up automatic payments for recurring monthly bills or other expenses.

In addition to creating a more satisfying shopping experience for your customers, accepting online payments also helps lower your billing costs. Traditional billing methods involve creating and printing physical invoices, stuffing those invoices into envelopes, paying postage to have the invoices sent to customers, and processing payments once they are received. This method requires significant manpower, paper, and purchasing expensive (occasionally toxic) ink. Business payment services, on the other hand, can handle the vast majority of your billing needs with a computer. For example, if a customer calls with a question regarding his or her account, rather than fumbling through papers or checking various unconnected computer programs, you can easily glance at the account history in one place using integrated payment processing software.

Business payment services have more to offer than just online payment solutions. For example, if your business has a brick-and-mortar store, many MSPs offer a wide array of credit card/debit machines. Whether you are looking for a machine that simply accepts credit cards and debit cards or one that can accept even more payment methods like gift cards, there is a machine to fit your needs.

For on-the-go merchants, many business payment services offer wireless solutions. Similar to traditional credit/debit card machines, these wireless card readers allow you to accept online transactions virtually anywhere, such as festivals, off-site events, or even at a client’s location.

Business payment services, or MSPs, offer business owners a variety of solutions to accept online transactions. Whether you are looking for a way to accept payments on your website without sending customers to a third-party environment or if you need a reliable credit/debit card machine for your brick-and-mortar store, business payment services have a product or service to help you provide your customers with a better shopping experience and even reduce your billing spend.