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Sometimes the biggest challenge in online marketing is persuading your boss that it’s worth doing it. I’ve talked to literally thousands of business owners about online marketing in the last 10 years. These are the four best ways I found to make a case for having a strong online presence.

It’s Not Where You Are; It’s Where Your Customers Are
I remember talking to a guy who owns a home painting company. He said that being ranked at the top of Google wasn’t important because “when I want to find something, I use the Yellow Pages.” That might be true, but who cares where you look? What matters is where your customers look.

Do some keyword research to see if people are using Google to find you. Ask your customers how they found you. Ask other business owners in the same industry how they get business (and share how you get business, too).

The more you learn about your customers, the more successful you’re going to be.

Things Change (And They Change Fast)
Many businesses were extremely successful before the Internet. Their owners think, “if it’s not broken, why fix it?” Well, maybe it is broken. There are two mental traps human brains tend to fall into:

  1. We tend to think that if doing A, B and C worked for us in the past, they’ll work for us now. But things change: the economy is not the same now as it was 10 years ago, and the Internet changed the way people shop. You either adapt or slowly die.
  2. We tend to do a horrible job understanding correlation and causality. It’s very common to find people who claim they’re successful because of something they did, when the reality is that they’re successful in spite of something they did. So if your business has been successful without a strong online presence, it doesn’t mean that not having an online presence is the reason of your success; it means that you’ve been successful in spite of not having an online presence, and you can be a lot more successful expanding your business online.

Timing Is Crucial
I remember when I started running my first AdWords campaign back in 2002: I could get clicks for $0.02 each. It was awesome! I also remember how easy it was to rank a website organically at the top of Google back in the day. As more savvy marketers and cool companies enter the marketplace, it becomes more and more competitive. This means that timing is key; the sooner you start establishing a strong online presence, the easier (and more affordable) it will be.

Some Cool Stats
If your boss is a numbers guy or gal, they’ll want to see numbers and stats. Hopefully these will help:

Search Engine Optimization Infographic

Social Media Infographic

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Kim, I bought PPC ads for a penny a click on Goto in the 90's before Yahoo bought them.  I miss paying a penny a click

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