We are an Internet-based small business serving customers all over the country, which means that we don't have a strong local footprint or storefront, and we rely on Google and the Internet for our sales traffic. Google has been shifting its focus to larger companies, limiting visibility online for companies like ours. How can we stand out and get traffic to our website when we're not one of the Fortune 500 powerhouses?

John Kinskey President, AccessDirect


Follow a UPS truck and it seldom makes a left turn. Why? Safety and stoplights. Bringing customers to your business — bricks, clicks or both — the question is what can you do to make your customers more efficient and more profitable?

Talk real estate with a brick-and-mortar retailer and what do you hear: location, location, location. Relying on Google is saying you will take any location no matter how difficult and time-consuming it is for your customers to get to. UPS does not make left turns; why are you asking your customers to spend their time and entrust their business to you when you are not putting them "first," asking them to make a left turn.

For an online business, building "a strong local footprint or storefront"requires putting information your customers need where your customers are. Your customers do not want telephone service, they need it; but it is not their priority. Too many business websites tell all of the services offered; but the customer has to make too many left turns to get there. If your customers are real estate agents, provide original valuable content to real estate agents and put that information where real estate agents look to build their business — then bring them to the specific part of your website that will work for them.

Who are your customers, what do they need, how does your business make them more successful and where are they looking for answers? Large business or small, answer these questions and provide truly relevant and original information your customers want to grow their business will grow your business.

About the author

Jon Seltzer is clinical faculty in the marketing department at the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business.