Maybe you've heard that any publicity is good publicity. Honestly, that's probably not exactly true, unless that publicity comes from your own website. But publicity comes from content, and content is the reigning king in advertising. Over the decades in America, one could make an argument for cotton, cash, or credit being king. Today, however, the king for most small businesses is content. Maybe SEO can help others see your content. Maybe being listed on every social media and free marketing site directs people to your content, but it's the content that matters. Even billion-dollar companies hire plenty of folks to create appropriate content, and those companies probably don't need the boost.
You do, though. You need all the help you can get. The thing is, that competitor down the block charges $5 less for the same job or gets no-bid contracts because of who he knows. Yes, money matters to people, but content is king. If you create a website with some articles that prove you know more than your competitors, the customers will find you and respect you. Sure, some learn from you and then buy the product online, and you could even put a link on your site to get a piece of that action, but a lot of people will want to work with the local person who knows about the product or service being sold.
I know, you want to be like one of my high school students and say you have nothing to write about. Neither does that competitor, honestly. To most of us, your business is probably pretty boring, most of the time. For example, I think asphalt shingles are the worst. I'd rather have a different material, I don't really care about how they're made, and I wish I never had to deal with purchasing them. And then they curl up. Eventually, they're going to leak. I know this, so I search shingles. I search DIY roofing, roofers, solar shingles, and many other search terms. One I've used a lot is "alternative to asphalt shingles."
There's your chance, small business roofer, shingle-maker, or alternative energy proponent. If you have content, I will be looking. And it does not have to be #1 on Google or have all the right SEO options. If you've written a good article about something I don't like or want to deal with, then there's a good chance I'll read it if you understand where I'm coming from. As a writer, it's about considering the audience, and it's not really as simple as it might seem. You see, you like roofing and shingles. I don't. Write me something I can understand and care about. You will be wealthy.
And then you need to find the next niche, like people who want to add beehives to their roofs. Even if you don't actually build rooftop beehives, anyone who wants to find the best new roof to use when hosting beehives will have to consider your article.
Another way to do this is to make yourself part of an elite list. A total scam internet host company did this successfully, getting me to partake in the marketing content. Here's how it worked: The owner of Hostt (website hosting) wrote a number of articles about OTHER hosting companies. He rated them, talked about why certain features were desirable, and generally wrote about what he knew. He then added his own company to the top ten list, saying it was a unique, cheaper alternative. I was desperate to find a new internet host for cheap to house a few of my sites, so when I saw I could get the same hosting for a fraction of the cost of the others on the list, I jumped at it. In this case, it was a scam and I made a mistake, but that technique works with real, good companies. If I make a list of top 10 Milwaukee web design companies, I will be on the list. If you make a list of top Milwaukee restaurants, bars, repair shops, construction companies, or whatever, put yourself somewhere on the list. First, last, anywhere, especially if all the other companies on the list already dwarf your company. That means most people already know those competitors, so you are adding your own to the conversation.
In fact, this week, my goal is to write top ten articles about all the different types of business ventures I have, rating my competitors alongside myself. It should be your goal, too. If you want to defer to me, use the contact info on this site. As long as you are a legitimate company trying to get noticed (and not trying to scam people), I will write a wonderful comparison article showing you as a clear alternative, but right now, I need to write my own.