I happened upon a blog post today (link below) that covered a discussion at the Search Engine Strategies conference in San Jose in August. It resonated with me and matches with some of the trends that we are seeing in our customer base of small businesses.
Essentially, the point of the article is that discovery on the web is shifting towards social and real-time vs. traditional Google searches.
Some key take aways:
As more people use Google less, it will be up to savvy online marketers to identify where their audience is consuming information and to become a member (note - I said member not marketer) of that same destination.
Being a "member" implies 2-way participation rather than just broadcasting. You need to be present where your customers are and also engage in conversations there.
These things scare the heck out of many small businesses that we work with. How do they address all of these challenges (being found in search and local directories and social discovery, being interactive and engaging across all of those)?
Addressing all of the above requires either a big team (which small businesses don't have) or access to services and tools that make it simple and time efficient for small businesses to embrace the opportunities around the web.