The internet refers to the worldwide connection of computer networks between billions of people, institutions, organizations, and governments. In the past 15 years, it has completely revolutionized our daily and work lives by improving our ability to communicate, network, share information, and do just about everything. And it’s not slowing down anytime soon.
Let’s take a look at a few numbers which represent the growing popularity of the internet:
1969 – The earliest form of computer networking – the Advanced Research Projects Agency – goes online for government research purposes
1982 – The term “internet” is coined
1991 – Internet commercial use ban starts to phase out, allowing marketers to advertise on the internet
1995 – CompuServe, Prodigy, and America Online start to provide dial-up internet access to households, internet user count hits 16 million
1995 – Companies begin to use the internet for marketing purposes
1998 – Google is launched
2001 – Wikipedia is launched
2005 – YouTube is launched
2007 – 1.3 billion internet users worldwide
2013 – 2.7 billion internet users – 38% of the earth’s population – doubled in only six years!
We can all agree that it’s amazing how quickly technology has evolved, and continues to evolve. It’s hard to keep up – especially if you’re focused on your craft.
From a marketing standpoint, the entire business landscape has changed as a result of the internet. Companies are spending over $200 billion collectively for their internet marketing efforts. Think of the most popular marketing techniques 15 – 20 years ago: billboards, TV and radio advertisements, newspaper listings, etc. These techniques are still used today, and they can be useful, but they are very expensive and aren’t specific enough to pinpoint your particular target market. If you’re not careful, you could easily be wasting your money on what seems like smart marketing efforts.
On the internet, everything is traceable, interconnected, and engaging.
You can run an advertisement on a website and determine how many people click on it, how long they stay on your site, and what they do once they are there. If your ad isn’t generating enough business, you can re-evaluate and run a different ad, or start running an ad on a different site. If you run an ad on the radio, it might be very difficult to gather information to determine the success of your ad, unless you have a tracking number or website attached to the ad.
The internet allows your marketing efforts to be tailored to the exact people you want to reach. Because of the vast amount of information available, it’s quite easy to market to your audience once you have identified them. Sometimes it might not be smart to pay for a billboard if you run, say, a vegan restaurant and you live in a “meat and potatoes” world. But what about targeting people who are specifically searching for “vegan restaurants” in your area, and displaying advertisements to them? That sounds like a much better idea – they will be more likely to pay attention to the ad since it’s relevant to them, and it’s cheaper too.
Social media offers a great way to connect with your audience in an intimate way – straight to their pockets. These platforms include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and many more. You can observe what people are saying about your company, and find ways to encourage them to share information. There are also plenty of advertising opportunities on social media.
Every Merchant makes sure that our clients are utilizing all of the amazing opportunities that exist thanks to the internet. From website building and mobile app development, to search engine marketing and online advertising, we are always in the loop with all of these changes and how to tailor our clients’ marketing plan to ensure that they are keeping up with the digital age.