Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Internet Trends 2014 Report - What It Means For Local Business

Some interesting selections from the 2014 Internet Trends study. While the study is geared to large company issues, the selected data also applies very much to local business, as they consider the new marketplace in which they are doing business. Thanks to digital master Paul Wallbank for pointing this study out.

Tablets continue rapid growth as the screen of choice for many internet users. What that means for local business - is that it is critical to ensure your online presence is presented in a way that renders intelligently on the screens of visitors. 

Houzz is a website and online community and a fantastic example of how architects, building contractors and products for the home can be promoted and shared and open the door to being noticed by those with the interest and intention to learn and share about what they like in home design elements and building.

Yet many building trades are nowhere to be found online and are missing out on the benefits of good visual content to improve their reach online. This is a fantastic medium for those in the business of creating built environment still largely untapped by local business. A look at the average home renovation company website reveals a lack of understanding of the importance of good professional photographs, well lit, and well staged. If your images would not look good on Houzz, they probably are not the photographs to use on your website and online content.

Many owners of local business seem to have not yet got the message that computing is getting cheaper all the time. That should free up the budget to be doing more with that saving to enhance their presence online and capacity to streamline business operations through automation and other high output functions, that saves manpower and time. Using technology to streamline and improve quoting on new business, communicating with customers and internal departments as well as suppliers should mean faster throughput and less unexplained and unnecessary delay.

Let's be clear here. No matter what the rep from Yellow Pages tells you, that's not where people go now to find a service provider.  Online reviews, and recommendation from friends is driving sales. You need to be there where the people are too, for your business.

If you're advertising on traditional TV or even radio then you can improve your results by also having good coverage online for the background story on what you do. Nobody is sitting there watching your advertisement during the ad breaks. Those days are long gone. They are looking for information on the next thing they will buy, or share or learn about. So again, your business needs to satisfy those needs of the consumer when it comes to what you do best. 

There is a lingering doubt for those who are not using Twitter to doubt its value to business. For that reason this data set seems to put paid to the idea that it serves no purpose for business. Twitter has many benefits for business, but you need to understand how to use it effectively. That isn't by following 20 people with your business account. And it isn't by buying 20,000 fake followers. Learn what you need to learn to make this work for your business.

This looked like a powerful reminder and sometimes it can seem like businesses lose touch with this basic premise.  Whether you are looking to invest in tech stocks, or looking to make the most of your business, understanding these points is a practical and useful philosophy to keep in mind.  And technology and the internet including social media can assist in helping your business to earn more money.

See full report as .pdf online

Tuesday, May 27, 2014