I'm going to start this out by dating myself a little (chronologically, not socially). I am one of many in a generation that doesn't remember NOT having a home computer. Sure, some of those computers utilized 5 1/2" floppy disks to play games like "Win, Lose, or Draw" or "Number Munchers," but they were present in my childhood. I distinctly remember how excited I was when our family computer (not just the one in the home office) was connected to the World Wide Web - I could talk to my friends! I could search for all kinds of interesting information! I could connect with people all over the world!

That being said, as a teenager, I mostly used it for homework, AOL Instant Messenger (does anyone still use AIM?), and MySpace or other social platforms. Years later, I still find that my primary use of the Internet is research, chatting with friends near and far, and connecting socially online. However, that process has become increasingly sophisticated as the Internet has grown by leaps and bounds. Where before I would find two or three Web sites about "How to clean soda out of carpet before my parents get home," now I can find dozens of links to hilarious-yet-helpful videos detailing how to remove red wine from carpet after our dinner guests have been assured that "No really, it's fine. We're just glad you guys were able to come over." (It was fine - thanks, YouTubers.)

So in a world where people are using the Internet to solve their problems, chat online with people they often already know offline, and occasionally do a little shopping, how can anyone expect to get noticed in an ever-growing, overwhelming sea of options? How do you get noticed by the people who are just logging on to check their Facebook for 20 minutes before watching the latest episode of Orphan Black on-demand via Amazon Prime? How do you let the person down the street know that yes, you are open until 9 p.m. tonight, and you DO carry both dish soap and white vinegar?*

That's where Digital Marketing comes into play, and much like the Internet itself, it is becoming more and more sophisticated as the Internet grows. There's Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which makes sure your Web site is using the right keywords to be found by Google, Bing, and the rest. There's Search Engine Marketing (SEM), which combines advertising dollars and potential keywords to increase the odds that someone searching for "late night convenience store north peoria il" will see you in their results. There's Google+ Pages, which allow you to share all your store hours and details with Google Maps (yes, we are "near you."). And of course, there's the now-traditional barrage of social media - Facebook Pages, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn Business Pages, etc. and all of their respective advertising options. Oh, and then make sure it's all optimized for viewing on a mobile device, because in the past decade, mobile access points have gone from a virtual last resort to the avenue through which we spend more than 50% of the time we access digital content. We won't even mention the variety of ad-blocking software trying to keep you from letting people know you are having a sale this week on dish soap and white vinegar.

It boggles the mind, doesn't it? Where does one even begin? Well, since you're reading this on our Web site, my suspicion is that you have come to the same conclusion we have - you'll get by with a little help from your friends. At KCo, we can help you navigate SEO, SEM, Google, mobile optimization, and social media. We'll explain it to you in language you can understand and demonstrate how we can ensure you're being found, whether you're selling dish soap and white vinegar, a new carpet, or interior remodeling (you know, if there was a LOT of red wine involved in our story).

Stay tuned to the blog for more on each of these digital topics over the coming weeks and months!

Cheers! KCo Staff

TL;DR**: Digital Marketing takes a lot of focus, but it's worth the effort to reach potential customers where they live.

* These things are useful for removing red wine from carpet.

** TL;DR - "Too Long; Didn't Read" - Internet-speak for "I know this was a long post"

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