How the net is changing small business marketing

Frank Banfield is typical of many Brisbane small businesses. Three years ago when he started his shade sail business he put an ad in the Yellow Pages, ran some local ads and listened to the sound of silence as his telephone didn’t ring. After a few months later he scraped together some money and with the help of Diggy, a Brisbane web development company put together his first website. He originally didn’t think having a website would make any difference to his local business – he was very wrong! In the past 5 years the world has changed and many small businesses are only just now starting to catch on. Customers these days automatically start their search with Google, rather than the Yellow Pages. Even when they are looking for local products and services such as Shade Sails in Logan, they turn to the internet first to help them find what they need. “I get architects from Melbourne ring me up looking for Brisbane Shade Sails just from my website” says Frank. “Small businesses need their head read if they don’t have a website these days”. “There’s no comparison” said Frank. “I spent originally about $2000 on my first website. From my best month this year I got $60,000 in sales just from my website alone. I know competitors who spend $30,000 in advertising with the Yellow Pages and I can guarantee that my $2000 investment gives me more customers than their $30,000 does. I even tried radio and only got 20 calls from a 6 week campaign which cost a heck of a lot more than my website did.” “I am now trying to pull my money out of things like Yellow Pages online and put it back into working with Diggy to boost my rankings on the search engines even further. I still will stay in the local papers and will continue to compare other things, but nothing so far can beat my website for return on investment and number of customers. The world has really changed!” Dan Petrovic from Diggy explains the changes this way. “People shop differently than they did 5 years ago and small business needs to understand that if they are to remain competitive. Luckily Google has made the world fair for small business. Even the smallest business can now compete with the big end of town by having a great website that gets found in the search engines.” “The web is very similar to real estate – location location location. The top spots in the search engine are the best locations to have – you get the most visitors. Drop down the search engine rankings and you get less traffic. Having a great looking site is only a part of what you need to do – small businesses need to constantly work at it to draw in traffic to their site. Luckily they can hire people like us to help them.” Dan said “Brisbane Shade Sails started with 0 visitors to their website. In 2006 they had nearly 2000 visitors to their site and in 2007 they attracted over 8200 visitors. Even in the quiet winter months they still got hundreds of visitors and customers to their site.” The last word has to go to Frank. “The internet brings business to your doorstep. I thought I knew all there was to know about small business marketing. I was wrong. The internet is by far the best marketing tool for small business. You have got to be in it!”

About the Author

Frank Banfield is the CEO of Brisbane Shade Sails; a shade sail business in Holland Park servicing the Southside and Logan areas of Brisbane . Dan Petrovic is Regional Manager of Diggy Australia a Brisbane based web development company specialising in internet marketing and website design.