Internet marketing for your business: It’s a necessity, not a luxury!
The business world has changed significantly in the last ten years. The economy has certainly had its impact on not only on who has stayed in business, but also how they have survived. Many analysts have studied the effects of the economy on business, and one of the many common factors for those that are successful in a down economy is that they remain attentive to the changing desires and needs of consumers. For them, doing the same old thing because it always worked before isn’t part of their strategic plan. Instead, they watch, listen and then adapt. It’s an ongoing process.
So, what changes have occurred since the turn of the century that successful businesses have come to embrace and capitalize on? There are certainly many, but one of the most important is web marketing.
Consumers rely on the web to not only buy the goods and services they want, but they also rely on it to gather information before they buy. For example, before buying a new video camera, a person may look online to find reviews on several popular models. She may look at the large retail websites for customer reviews and ask for recommendations from friends on her social media pages. Next, she will do a Google search to find professional reviews, compare prices and check availability in local, brick-and-mortar stores. In short, she’s relying on companies that connect with her and other customers through web marketing.
Consumers are growing accustomed to getting their information on demand, so they will usually rely on those that accommodate this. For businesses, that means:
- Being easy to find on the Internet, preferably on the first page of search results
- Having a website that is easy to navigate. Most people don’t really care about all of the fancy graphics your web designer can make, and they are especially turned off by music that jumps out at them every time they go to your site. They want something that is easy to look at and makes it easy to find what they want.
- Having a website that’s easy to read. You may know every technical aspect about your product or service, but putting all of that on your website will not often turn a prospect into a customer. People want their information in terms they can understand.
- Providing valuable information, such as product usage tips, instructional videos, the latest trends related to your products and services, updates, etc.
- Providing customers with the opportunity to communicate with the business, and this communication must go in both directions. Social media is the ideal place for this.
- And one of the most important factors of all is the use of video.
Why is video so important to effective web marketing today? The numbers speak for themselves. According to comScore, a company that specializes in digital business analytics and research, an average of 179 million Americans watched online videos each month in 2010, and 88.6 million Americans were watching them on any given day. In December 2010 alone, the number of people watching online videos was up 32% over December 2009.* You can bet that a large percentage of these people were watching videos about the Christmas presents they were considering to buy!
The bottom line is this: we live in a digital age where the Internet has become an integral part of most consumers’ lives. As technology continues to become more sophisticated and readily available to the masses, the greater the number of tech-savvy consumers we’ll have and the more important web marketing will become. In their outlook for 2011, comScore asserted, “As an advertising medium, the online channel also continues to be an important driver of offline buying, so marketers in all industries must not only have an online presence, but understand how it drives both online and in-store purchase behavior.” Take a look at your own Internet marketing strategy for your business. Is it targeted to meet your customers and prospects where they are, or are you just throwing stuff out there hoping something sticks? Does it communicate in ways that make sense to customers? Are you using video, the most effective and sought after means of communication? If you answered no to any of these questions, you need to consult with a trusted authority in Internet marketing.
If, however, you don’t have a Internet marketing strategy at all, what are you waiting for?