Small-business owners can be reluctant to enter the world of online marketing because they think larger, national companies will always beat their advertising efforts, but this is a myth, according to Inc magazine. Internet lead generation through online marketing can be much easier and more affordable than small-business owners think.

Small businesses can drive competitive edge with online marketing

Local companies may think they are at a competitive disadvantage compared to the marketing efforts of big businesses because of lack of brand recognition and the belief customers are more likely to trust a better established company. In reality, small companies stand to gain a major advantage if they are using online advertising to reach consumers. Some large companies have bad reputations, and smaller brands can use easy Internet marketing to increase visibility and expand their reach.

Larger business have more to spend on marketing, but this is not a reason for local companies to ignore online advertising. Big companies sometimes take a cookie-cutter approach to marketing, which can alienate customers. Small businesses that make the switch to Internet advertising can stand out against large chains in their area. Being smaller can allow marketing efforts to move more quickly than those of large businesses. Centering efforts around niche offerings that large competitors are missing can help small businesses get new customers and improve loyalty.

Why making the switch to online marketing will improve results

Even small business with tight marketing budgets will benefit from Internet advertising, according to Browser Media. Customers do almost everything online – from researching store locations to comparing products – so ignoring this channel is a huge risk for companies that want to increase sales and attention. Consumers can decide if they want to make a purchase from a local business within a few seconds, and if the Internet marketing efforts are not adequate, the company could lose a sale.

Compared to portable outdoor signs or print advertising, online marketing offers a more cost-effective way to target a local audience. It is easy for consumers to miss print or radio ads if they are not reading the right newspaper or are turned in to the wrong station, and with the prominence of Internet research, online marketing will reach customers wherever they are looking.

It’s more important than ever for all companies to have an Internet presence. In the local market, some competitors may not, and this can give businesses that make the switch a quick advantage.