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Small Businesses are Facing Global Extinction Thanks to Online Marketing
Around 2010, however, Packett noticed that his sales were slowly dropping off by 10-15% per year. To compensate, he simply did what he had always done; work longer hours, hand out more coupons and advertise through every local channel he could find. No matter what he seemed to try though, his bottom line continued to shrink.
“It didn’t make a lot of sense at first,” said Packett, “because my businesses were doing everything right. We were making great food, giving excellent service and charging less for pizza than we had in years. The sales just kept dropping though.”
In 2014, Packett ran into his former regional manager Keith Koons, who recently went on to open an online marketing firm named Web Synergy of the Upstate (http://www.upstatesynergy.com) in nearby Spartanburg, South Carolina. Within five minute of hearing about the pizza chain’s steady demise, Koons informed Packett that the problem wasn’t his restaurants at all. It was the Internet in general and how larger corporations market themselves online.
“In the 21 century,” said Koons, “almost everyone under the age of 55 uses their smartphones or tablets to scope out local businesses. That means if you’re not completely focused on maintaining a strong online presence, local residents will slowly forget that you even exist…even if they drive past your business on a daily basis.”
Unfortunately, Packett received that news just a bit too late- he sold his Marion, NC store earlier this year and shut down his sole remaining pizza location in Forest City shortly thereafter. His Retro Cinema Theater is still around, however, and the online marketing advice he received from Koons has slowly began to revitalize his customer-base.
“Small business owners just don’t realize that to compete with the major retailers out there, it takes a lot of time and effort through your website and social media,” added Packett. “While I still have a lot to learn, I’m lucky to have an old friend who really excels with this kind of marketing to guide me.”
Koons went on to explain that the problems Packett faced over the past few years are happening all over the United States to small businesses in virtually every industry imaginable. And as consumers become more comfortable with their digital devices, neglecting an online presence will only compound the problem for small business across America. He expects that without business owners becoming better educated about their options of being visible online, thousands of family-favorite small town restaurants and storefronts will likely disappear in the coming years as well.
“At the bare minimum, every small business in America should have a website that highlights all of their core products and services, a social media page and a few local accounts (on sites like Google+ and Yelp),” offered Koons. “It’
Since most of the world’s larger corporations have been using these tactics for years, small business has quite a lot of catching up to do in order to remain current with the times. One positive piece of advice Koons provided, however, is that small businesses have a definitive edge when it comes to engaging consumers online. He explains that since the average mom and pop store is already loved by their communities for being genuine experts within their business segment, they can establish strong, meaningful relationships a whole lot faster than national brands.
For more information about building your brand online, visit Web Synergy’s online database at http://www.upstatesynergy.com/