If you want to survive and thrive as a company in the modern business landscape, you must incorporate yourself into the online world. Everything from marketing to sales conversions is happening online. The generation of people who have grown up on computer technology are becoming employed and having expendable income.
If you have yet to truly merge your business with the Internet, here are some of the most important ways in which you must do so.
65% of all new business is done through the major search engines Google, Yahoo, and Bing. (The other 35% is coming through Social Media)If you do not have a presence on these platforms, then you are missing out on a huge proportion of your potential market that you do not even know that you are missing.
It is actually much easier than ever to get started on the major search engines, social media, direct marketing, and in other online marketing forms. As a matter fact, there is a good chance that Google already has your business details in its most basic form. In many cases, all that business owners have to do is claim their listing. Take a look at Google Places in order to find out if your name and address have already been registered with the search engine.
The mobile environment is also doing more business than ever before. You must have a responsive (or better still and adaptive) website that gives Apple and Android users the ability to find you easily. The new Millennial generation that everyone is aiming their marketing at does not sit and watch TV. They find new companies over their mobile phones.
If you have service customers in your area, odds are that you probably already have a review of your business up on a website like Trip Adviser, Yelp or Foursquare. Even if you do not plan to engage with these websites regularly, this is still a great way to find out exactly what people think of your business. Review sites are the new word-of-mouth. People are actually becoming quite well-known for dropping reviews of businesses in real time as they patronize them.
Social media is also a great way to get the word out about your business. If you have any social media profile such as Facebook or Twitter, then you can start a conversation with your customers that can give you inside information about how you are perceived. In the past, this kind of service had to be outsourced to a focus group company and could cost thousands of pounds. Today, the information is given freely by people online. It is simply good business to go and find this information in order to use it for the benefit of your business.
If your business has experienced a drop in foot traffic lately, you may be receiving competition from companies that you did not even know were in existence. Many businesses today have online only existences that create a much more convenient solution for customers. However, you will not know this unless you look online to see where your customers are and what they are looking for.
You can easily find local competition using a localised search on any of the major search engines. Google is the most often used service. It is also generally the most expansive, regularly pinging countless databases in order to find out who is creating a new business.
Maximizing Your Online Footprint
You may not be the best at navigating the online world at first — it can be quite technically in-depth. You have customers that you need to tend to today — learning a new skill may not be in your time frame. However, there are plenty of solutions and people out there that can help you to create an online presence without spending a great deal of time or money on it. Workflow software can help you to organise your online marketing, PR and logistical efforts without having to waste large portions of the working day on it.
Website design companies who offer marketing services can help drive your foot traffic to your website, can monitor the Internet for new comments on your business so that you can address them quickly and directly and offer advice on how to progress your business. There is no reason to shun the Internet just because it is a new opportunity; rather, you must learn how to use it to enhance your current efforts.
See my article on choosing the best hosting provider HERE. My overall choices for the best hosting providers are –
Best Budget UK Based Shared Hosting Provider
Best Overall Hosting Support & Platform Shared & VPS Hosting
Best Cloud, VPS & Dedicated Server Hosting Provider
*A relatively new type of hosting, ‘Cloud Hosting’ has emerged in recent years. I will write another article on this subject and or amend this article when I have firmed up my thoughts on this development.