Many small businesses have been reluctant to embrace on-line marketing for a variety of reasons. Some owners do not feel comfortable with constantly evolving computer technology. Others are not confident that they will see a significant return on their investment, and choose to go with traditional advertising campaigns instead. Even internet based marketing agencies appear weary of opening themselves up to mobile users, but with the huge increase in the number of Smartphones customers, this facet of the industry is quickly becoming a mainstay.
Since Smartphones are essentially computers, they are quite capable of displaying lots of different types of ads, including banner ads. However, small businesses owners should take note that a substantial portion of Smartphone search queries are performed in order to find a local business, not a remote franchise. A recent study conducted by Chitika’s research division discovered that roughly 45% of mobile users seek out information about their own geographic area. That means Smartphone users are searching for businesses like yours nearly half of the time and in larger numbers than their PC counterparts. Conversely, if you are still not working with a competent on-line ad network that produces quality traffic, you are missing a highly lucrative, untapped market of mobile users.
Chitika’s study substantiates Google’s findings as well. The leading search engine notes that about 20% of its queries are related to geolocation, which emphasizes the importance of geotargeting in on-line advertising. Think of it this way: your customers are already trying to find you, through their PCs and cell phones, but you need to create a digital pathway for them or else you will get lost in the shuffle. We strongly suggest you consider the advantages of conducting an extensive on-line advertising campaign that incorporates geotargeting before it’s too late. Reaching out to mobile customers may seem a bit too intrusive at first, but Smartphone users have clearly become accustomed to using their devices for commercial purposes. The key to running a successful small business is getting the word out there and expanding your consumer base, and you should jump at every opportunity to do so. Besides, you know that you offer the best products and services in your area. It’s time you let the customers in on your little secret, don’t you think?
Last time we talked a little bit about Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s call for banks to loosen their purse strings for small business owners. Though nothing seems to have changed on that front over the course of the past week, small businesses are back in the spotlight, so to speak, as the Senate attempts to pass a piece of bipartisan legislation known as the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010. The House version of the bill already passed, and the Senate seems poised to follow suit, as soon as it can resolve a few contentious issues.
Analysts are heaping praise on this proposed law because it targets the hard working people on main streets across the nation; people like our clients here at LocalPAGES. While it’s too soon to know what the final bill will contain, there are key provisions in the Senate bill we are pleased to discuss. For instance, this law allows small businesses to access tax provisions that were previously reserved for large corporations. These credits free up capital, which can be funneled into job creation, expansion, and advertising campaigns. Another aspect of it pertains to eliminating taxes on certain capital gains and increasing available funds for small business loans. These and other parts of the bill are designed to provide much needed relief, especially when it comes to offsetting the cost of health care.
Dean Zerbe of Forbes.com urges voters who like the sound of these proposals to contact their respective state Senators immediately. We couldn’t agree more! Don’t put this one off as this legislation will improve the lives of nearly every small business owner in America. If you support this bill, by all means, TELL YOUR SENATORS! You may call them, write, or e-mail; the choice is yours. Be sure to let them know that you are a constituent as well as a small business owner or employee. Tell them your personal story and go into detail about how the bill will directly benefit you. You may also want to contact the sponsors: Senator Baucus (D-MT), Senator Landrieu (D-LA), Senator Grassley (R-IA), and Senator Snowe (R-ME). Hopefully the next time we post about this bill, we will be able to announce its ratification!
Small business owners know that their companies are the backbone driving the U.S. economy. Many are also aware of the federal government’s apparent preference for large corporations, something Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke is trying to reverse. According to the Associated Press article, Bernanke is pushing the banks to dispense more loans to small businesses. The success of his approach has yet to be determined, but it comes as a breath of fresh air to us here at LocalPAGES. As the article details, the burdens of the Great Recession hit small businesses especially hard and they are no longer able to benefit from relief associated with TARP funds. Consequently, small businesses have been denied credit to hire new employees, expand their benefits packages, and increase their advertising, which inhibits their overall growth potential.
Hopefully the banks will take Bernanke’s advice. In the meantime, it’s a good idea to prepare yourself ahead of time for the process of getting a loan, line of credit, or other financial service(s) from your local bank. Remember that the bank is looking at your company as an investment, so you should try to convey your confidence and thirst for innovation. Still, it’s important to set realistic goals for your company; otherwise, you will sound like a hopeless dreamer. Banks like to have collateral to reassure them that they are making a secure investment, and smart business owners will have their assets prepared ahead of time. Having good credit is vital at this point because banks are being very selective these days. Checking your credit score to see that it is satisfactory may save you some unnecessary disappointment in the long run or let you know that you’re moving in the right direction. Doing research on the various kinds of loans available at your local bank never hurts, either. For example, read about what Bank of America and Chase have to offer you to get a better feel for how this process works.
While most of the information about obtaining small business loans relates to hiring and similar ventures, you should definitely consider using the funds you receive to boost your local advertising. Almost no one uses a phone book anymore, so on-line advertising is really the best solution for broadening your customer base. But don’t take our word for it: Entrepreneur.com explains why on-line advertising is worthwhile for small businesses, especially in light of recent developments in the industry. Read their outstanding article for more information on why on-line advertising is no longer the wave of the future; it’s standard operating procedure.
Many people are aware of the fact that the health care bill will impact their small business, but they simply don’t have the time to read through the lengthy legislation to find the parts that apply to them. That is why we at LocalPAGES have decided to give you a quick rundown on the pertinent stuff that pertains to small businesses, in particular. Large portions of the bill will not go into effect in 2014, but it’s a good idea to start making preparations as soon as possible.
First off, you will need to figure out how many full time employees you have because every company that has 50 or more of these workers will be considered a large business. If you have less than 50 employees, then you don’t have to worry. Businesses who meet this criterion will be required to either offer some kind of health coverage or pay a fine for every uncovered staff member (roughly $2,000 per person). Additionally, you should make sure that you choose an affordable plan; you will also be fined if your employees have to purchase insurance via a state exchange because the plan you picked is too costly.
Once the state insurance exchanges are established, you should be able to find plans with highly competitive rates as well as tax credits that will help you comply with these rules without breaking your wallet. This may not sound possible at first, but it’s true. The state exchanges will broaden the pool of consumers buying these plans, which means lower prices for everyone involved. Plus, the aforementioned tax credits included in the legislation are supposed to be incentives to get you to cover your employees, which means they’re nothing to shake a stick at. When all is said and done, both you and your employees will probably be happier with the results of this bill.