5 Internet Marketing Strategies That Can Help Grow Your Local Business

With the overall economy resting in a “bearish” state many local businesses continue to struggle to keep their doors open. Unfortunately many businesses have already closed down and many more are doing so every day. These times of change are forcing many business owners to rethink how they promote their business and attract customers.

While the internet is no longer a new concept to business owners most have yet to fully harness the potential business building opportunities that are available to them by applying proven internet marketing strategies to their business. Of course while the internet alone may not revolutionize every business in America it is proven that by implementing a few targeted internet marketing strategies a local business can significantly improve and separate itself from the competition.

The main reason that internet marketing for local businesses is so effective today is because most businesses have not taken the time to position their business online properly and in most industries the competition online for local businesses is relatively low. Here are 5 proven internet marketing strategies that can help grow your business.

1. Claim Your Google Place Page- Google built most businesses what is called a “Place Page” and they use this web page to display your business in the local search results when someone is looking for your product or service, but Google requires that you claim it.

2. Optimize Your Google Place Page- Once you have claimed your Place Page you want to optimize it so that it will be seen at the top of the search results above your competition. The way you do this is by adding reviews and citations about your business. These reviews and citations will give your business strength in the eyes of Google and help you rank higher in your local search results.

3. Optimize Your Business Website- You must apply “SEO” or Search Engine Optimization to your website so that it will also gain strength in the eyes of Google. This will help your Place Page rank higher and will also help your website display higher in the “organic” search results. One of the most important factors for SEO is building back links to your website.

4. Structure Your Website For Conversions- When you get a visitor to your local business’s website you have one opportunity to either convert that visitor into a sale or get their name and email address so you can follow-up with them later. Structure your important pages so you speak directly to their needs and wants and give them an opportunity to either contact you immediately or give you their contact name and email address.

5. Track & Analyze- It is very important that you install Google Analytics code onto your website so you can track data about who visits your website, where they are coming from and how many of them are doing business with you. This information will allow you to make the necessary changes to your website to increase your business sales.

While the offline economy may be down right now the internet is a resource that if used properly can significantly help your local business get an edge on the competition and increase sales. There is currently a lot of opportunity online for your local business and by simply applying a few internet marketing strategies you will be able to experience the difference.

Small Business Administration Background

The Small Business Administration(SBA) was established in 1953. Since that time the agency has dispensed huge amounts of money in loans and loan guarantees, contracts, consulting assistance and other programs for business across the United States.

The seeds of the formation of the SBA were sown within the challenges of the Great Depression and World War I and grew due to numerous predecessor organizations.

Earlier Small Business Administration Agencies

In 1932 Herbert Hoover instituted the Reconstruction Finance Corporation. The agency sought to ameliorate the consequences of the Great Depression.It sought to achieve this through the establishment of a loan program to support businesses adversely effected by the Great Depression. It had been adopted as the personal project of Hoover’s successor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The need to assist small business intensified with the onset of World War II, when they were placed at a competitive disadvantage vis-a-vis larger concerns. The Smaller War Plants Corporation was formed in 1942 to help with minor businesses, enhance their financial strength and enable them to more fully take part in the war effort. The Smaller War Plants Corporation accomplished this through providing loans directly to private entrepreneurs, providing incentives to large financial institutions to increase lending to small enterprises and acting as an advocate for small business in the federal procurement process.

After the war the SWPC was absorbed into the Reconstruction Finance Corporation. In addition to the services offered by the RFC the Commerce Department also had an Office of Small Business. The charter of the Office of Small Business was primarily educational, predicated on the stance that the lack of success of many business was insufficient access to information of operating a business and business skills. The Office focused its offerings on pamphlets and management consulting to individual entrepreneurs.

Through the Korean War the Congress created yet one more agency focusing on small business, the Small Defense Plants Administration. It carried a portfolio just like its predecessor Smaller War Plants Corporation with the exception that small business lending authority remained with the Reconstruction Finance Corporation. The Small Defense Plants Administration performed initial screening and provided counseling services to small businesses and provided certification that they were qualified to receive government contracts. The businesses then entered the loan process of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation.

The Founding of SBA

To streamline government support for minor business President Eisenhower proposed the organization of the Small Business Administration and it was developed by Congress in July 1953.” The charter also stipulated that SBA would ensure minor businesses a “fair proportion” of government contracts and sales of surplus property.

Initially the SBA concentrated on providing direct loans to small businesses, guaranteeing bank loans and making loans to victims of natural disasters. The Administration also provided help to small businesses to obtain government contracts and provided management consulting and technical assistance.

The Investment Company Act of 1958 established the Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) Program, under which SBA licensed, regulated and helped provide funds for privately operated and operated venture capital investment firms. They specialized in providing long-term debt and equity investments to high-risk minor businesses. Its creation emerged as the result of a Federal Reserve study that discovered, in the basic form, that these businesses cannot get the credit they needed to keep pace with technological advancement.

In 1964 the SBA expanded its portfolio to join the War on Poverty, with the Equal Opportunity Loan Program (EOL). The Equal Opportunity Loan Program presented citizens living below the poverty level with the chance to receive credit with reduced collateral and application requirements. This enabled businesses with sound employment opportunities to obtain the financing that they needed to pursue them.

SBA Today

The breadth and scope of programs offered by the SBA has never been more extensive than it is today. The SBA helps and is an advocate for all U.S. businesses in every enterprise category and every State and Territory. Whether its providing procurement assistance for federal contracts, management consulting, or outreach to women, minorities and veterans, the SBA is an able partner. SBA also provides loans to victims of disasters and specialized advice and assistance in international trade.