Why Using the Internet is Important for Business
Statistics On The Amount Of Internet Users Worldwide
Why The Internet Presence Is Important For Businesses
As many of you know, over the past 20 years, the internet has become sort of a big deal. With sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube becoming prominent over the past decade, they have changed the way that businesses have had to advertise themselves because of the amount of people that use them. For example, Facebook has 1.15 Billion active users worldwide, and Twitter has 500 million users internationally, just under half of which are active (login to their account at least once a month)
Purely on that basis, as well as the statistics that show that just under 2 and a half Billion people use the internet (correct as of 2012), it just shows how important having an effective internet presence is to ensure that you are able to reach as many potential customers as possible.
Also, in 2011 the average internet user in America spends around 30 hours a week online, with users aged between 18 and 29 spend 40 hours a week online. To ensure that your business is able to stand out from the crowd, your business will need to have an effective and good looking website.
3 Rules of Internet Marketing
My opinion on internet marketing
In my personal opinion, I have found internet marketing to be incredibly useful as a consumer.
One example of this is from using Twitter. Because of the amount of celebrities that are on Twitter promoting their products, it is easy to find out what your favourite celebrity is promoting. For example, if you're a fan of say Alan Carr, you could find out from his personal Twitter feed when he is next on tour and when tickets will go on sale. It can also be good as a way of finding products in sales.
Internet marketing can be used to help you find different products that you may not have necessarily found otherwise and be able to share them with friends. For example, large businesses use email marketing to promote products and/or services they offer based on your previous purchases, which can be beneficial for both the customer and the business.
Also, because I'm colourblind, business can use the internet to find out what colours work well so the don't marginalize some customers because they are unable to see some of the colours of the products they're purchasing and for when they are using the website, they want it to be aesthetically pleasing for them, otherwise they will go shopping somewhere else.
Cons of internet marketing
One major con for internet marketing is the time it takes to start your campaign, time which could be used for other important tasks, like ensuring you have enough stock and ensuring your current customers are happy, but if you are a new business starting out then this isn't much of an issue at the time being.
Another downside can be the cost of running an online marketing campaign if you have no experience or if you find the idea too daunting because that may mean you need to hire someone else to do that for you. The most elaborate online marketing strategies can cost thousands of pounds to do if done by a professional company. Also, if you don't do the research of the demographics of the people you are advertising to, then it will cost you even more money to change the adverts, which can be potentially awful for a new business.
Pros of using the internet as a marketing tool
One major advantage of using the internet as a marketing tool is the amount of people you will be able to connect with, whether that is through social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, or through using advertising agencies that specify in using online marketing techniques.
Another pro of using online advertising is that you can be as creative as you like. This can be great when building your own website because then you can use your creativity to make your website look really appealing, which could attract more potential customers.
If you make a YouTube video and that video becomes viral, then it could be a huge bonus for your business, even if it's only temporary because then it'll create a lot of buzz around your products/services and you could capatalise on it.
How To Use The Internet Efficiently For Marketing
Although having a good website is essential, it is not the only way of using the internet to your advantage. You can also use different websites like Facebook and Twitter to help promote your business, as well as using YouTube to help promote your business by doing videos of your business and how it will help your potential customers.
Even though those things can cost a small business a lot in terms of time, and money if you look at using YouTube because you'll need to ensure you have a good camera and ensure that you have good video editing software as well, but if done well, then it could help your business no end.
Another way to use the internet efficiently is to look at having special offers that are only available through your website. You can also use a blog to help promote offers that are available in store, as well as on the website.
Other Ways Of Using Media To Promote A Business
As well as using the internet, other sorts of media that can be used to help promote businesses include TV, radio and magazines. These forms of media can be really profitable for helping promote a business but can be rather expensive. For small businesses that are just starting out, it would be more beneficial to use under-the-line marketing techniques like using flyers and posters.
If you use both over- and under-the-line marketing techniques, then you could intertwine them to ensure maximum revenue. You could use the under-the-line marketing techniques to promote your website, as well possibly promoting your store if you're offering a product.
The best way of promoting your business is still word of mouth, because people are communicative creatures, they naturally share information with each other, so if they have a good experience dealing with your company, then they will tell their friends about it, which will attract more potential customers.
It is important to ensure that you can use both over-the-line and under-the-line marketing techniques in cohesion with each other to ensure that they are both heading in the right direction, which will help your business grow as a whole.
Other way of using the internet for your business
As well as using the internet to advertise your business, you could use it for market research, using Facebook, Twitter etc. you could use those websites to help you communicate with potential customers, both nationally and internationally. It can also be a good way of helping you do research on any competitors you may have in the local area to see how this may affect your pricing strategy, which could potentially take a dint into your profits. If you need research done on a larger scale, then using the internet is a great way of doing it for next to nothing, assuming you already have a computer and internet access at home. It will be beneficial if you do have the internet at home because if you offer a service, depending on the service you're offering, you could start by offering it at home and save money by not renting out office space.
You could also look at using services like Skype to help you with your business if you are going to be doing a lot of travelling, or if you are unable to travel to your clients. Using Skype can also be a good way of communicating with several clients at the same time and be able to send and receive documents immediately and you can be positive that the clients have received them.
After weighing up the pros and cons of internet marketing, I think that overall, it is more beneficial to a business and its customers.
The benefits of using the internet for marketing purposes vastly outweigh the cons and they can help improve a business's image exponentially, if done in the right way. Also, the cons of using internet marketing can generally be overcome if you have set aside a small amount of funds to ensure that they can be done effectively and creatively, as well as the power of positive thinking.