The rise of the internet has mirrored the rise of the telephone 100 years ago. This technological breakthrough has completely changed the world of communication and how we do business. Having no website today would be like having no telephone 50 years ago. Here’s why.
Almost everyone is using the internet
Using the internet to look for goods, services, entertainment and travel is now the first choice for over 80% of us. 86% of Irish people have regular access to a computer, 90% use a smartphone and 76% regularly use social media. The growth in social media use is across all age groups and has risen by 700% in 7 years. It is no surprise that even the once universally used Golden Pages has stopped publishing its print version and decided to focus on its online business.
Local searches are the norm
While we are often hearing how purchases from online shops such as Amazon are rising, the use of the internet for local shopping is just as important. 46% of all Google searches are still for local businesses and services. Of the 82% of us who regularly search online before shopping, 72% will then visit a local store or business within 5 miles and 28% of those visits will result in a purchase.
If you are not online, you are missing out.
Open 24/7, 365
Your business may be open just 5 or 6 days a week, but your website, social media or Google Map entries are working to promote you 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. So while Facebook users (nearly 80% of people) are often busiest after 8.00pm in the evening or over the weekend, you can be there to meet them.
Businesses who are online are doing better
85% of consumers are looking for your business online, but according to European research only 25% of Irish businesses have any significant online presence – and 25% can’t be found online at all. So no surprise that nearly all of that business is going to the 25% who have a strong online presence – or it’s going overseas.
Relatively low cost and targeted advertising
A website is a one-off investment that will then be permanently working for you day in day out for years to come. So over time it is one of the most cost effective investments that you can make. Added to that Facebook and Google Ads allows for the most finely targeted marketing ever, with a clear record of exactly who your ads are reaching and what the results are.
Puts you on the virtual map – Google Maps linked back to business
Once you are online you can take advantage of the phenomenal rise in our reliance on Google Maps. Over 75% of smartphone users will use it to find directions and businesses, and if your services are listed you will come up in map and organic searches with a link back to your business, its website details and phone number. Google Map and other independent reviews are also trusted by over 74% when researching a local business.
Versatility – the tools available online
Once you have an established website and internet presence, the tools available to interact with new and existing customers are very helpful. We don’t just find information and make enquiries online, we also now buy goods, make appointments, find tickets, make reservations, book accommodation and even carry out consultations via Skype, for instance. With email marketing you can also generate repeat custom from casual visitors, and build a database of contacts which will put you in touch again with anyone who has shown an interest in your business.