I just sold a business last month and the buyer saw the business advertised on Craigslist and on one of the large “Businesses For Sale” websites. I am a business broker that works with business owners with the process of buying and selling businesses. My profession of being a business broker is my own business. I have also owned another business of 20 years. I am a business broker that has been trying to figure out this “Internet thing” for quite some time. I think I am figuring out that I will never figure it out. It seems that there are a lot of Internet marketing experts and this industry appears to still be somewhat at the early stages of a rapidly growing industry. As a business broker and business owner, I recognize that utilizing the internet is integral in business success going forward. Maybe I know more about trying to maximize the Internet than some, but the question of asking a business owner (that is not in the Internet marketing business) if they understand Internet marketing is akin to asking someone if they are a golfer. The average golfer may have a handicap of 20-25, Some golfers shoot at professional levels- 0 handicap, some people have never golfed, some have golfed once or a few times, some golf a lot but are still a 30 handicap (the higher the handicap the worse the score). In golf, I am about a 12 handicap. For Internet marketing maybe I am about a 12-20 handicap , I dont know. I may know more than some, but know there are a lot more that know a lot more than me. My job involves many discussions with business owners regarding the state of their business as it relates to a potential sale of their business or a possibly buying another business. The questions I have about utilizing the internet as a business broker are also questions shared by the plumbing contractor, the print shop owner, the restaurant owner, the card shop owner and the small business owners scattered throughout the world.
10 Interent marketing observations from a Business Owner / Business Broker:
- The Internet today is so different than it was 10 years ago. Ten years ago, so many businesses didn’t have websites. Those that did had these fancy Home pages with lots of “neat stuff”. And the site just sat there. Now-a-days it is known that a lot of that neat stuff gets in the way of search engines. A few years ago it seemed if you didn’t show up on Google – you didn’t show up, and then came, Myspace (and went), Facebook, Craigslist, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, etc. . I am convinced the Internet 10 years from now will greatly different than it is now. Trying to figure out where it is going is the challenge.
- To me , I see the value in Social Media marketing is that it decreases my reliance on Google. With Social Media customer have another way to find you. You don’t need to show up on page one of google to be found. I may be wrong with this line of thinking but this is my perspective.
- It feels like everything I learned yesterday, is almost outdated tomorrow
- I see the question asked so often online- Is anybody making any money on Twitter. Twitter is growing at 1,000,000 new users per minute doesn’t it just make business sense that some are making profit on Twitter- I am not yet, are you? Does Twitter work for your product or service? Does it help to sell/buy a business?
- Is Internet marketing another strong way to reach customers, market and advertise, or is it so much more? As a business owner we know we need to advertise and market. In the past and present we use the Yellow pages, direct mail, radio, maybe TV, trade shows, telemarket, direct sales, networking and other methods. Is it proper to view internet marketing as a very strong means of marketing and advertising or view it as so much more. I tend to think to view it as so much more.
- Is it true that if you can drive “mad traffic” to your website that is so effective that you could sell ice cubes to an Eskimo?.
- Is blogging better than tweeting, is Facebook better than Twitter. Do I need to post videos to Youtube? How important is SEO, incoming links, adding more friends, social media buttons/widgets?
- Is email marketing dieing, improving, necessary, changing, or being somewhat replaced by social media?
- How do I do all that I should be doing on the Internet, without having to bear the cost of “sub contracting” that task out and still run my business.
- How will we be accessing the Internet down the road and how does that affect my approach today? It seems a few short years ago accessing the Internet with ones cell phone was a novelty at best.
I am just a business owner who’s profession as a business broker requires significant marketing efforts. How do you find a business owner that is looking to sell a business. This is a very confidential event. How do you find a business buyer that is looking to buy a Jacksonville Towing company or a Florida HVAC Contractor, Tampa Retail Business, or Computer Repair shop? My approach is to try different things. I Tweet the businesses I have for sale- I get some follow up questions, I blog about my business experiences- it has driven”some traffic” to my site, I am on Facebook- but pretty weak, I am on Linked-In and a few other social/business sites. I personally feel value in writing a blog as it allows me control to provide SEO optimized current content to my site. I do email marketing. I certainly am not in a position to provide well grounded advise on this subject but my major point is- Are you a business owner confused about what you should be doing on the internet? – You are not alone.