In todays interconnected world every business has to fight for visibility if they want to attract customers.

The internet has been a game changer, we all know this but Covid-19 has brought forward the development of selling online by 4 to 6 years according to John Koetsier writing in Forbes magazine June 2020. Digital Shift has happened and if you are serious about being in business you need to align and realign your marketing to inform or remind customers about who you are and what you do. It’s considered by many industry professionals that if you don’t have a planned marketing strategy which covers multiple channels, your business will fail. Some go further to say a website without an SEO and Digital Marketing Plan is like a “Poster in the Desert” … No one will see it!

15 – 20 years ago, businesses rushed to build websites and ditched print marketing because the internet was cheap and efficient. No more print costs, no more postage… the money saved can be spent on a website. Well, yes and no! The basic principles of marketing never changed, just the delivery method. Many businesses believed that just by being listed on the internet, you would be found, and in the early stages this was true. But reliance on this single channel could never last long.

Here’s Why

According to (verified by NetCraft)

Total number of live websites in the world over the last 30 years

  • January 1991 – 1
  • January 2008 – 68,274,154
  • January 2020 – 1,295,973,827

This fluctuates but the fact remains that the number of live websites in the world has not been below 1 Billion since 2016. Big numbers needn’t be intimidating and in fact they have given all businesses an unexpected benefit.    

Don’t Panic it’s not too late?

For those of us who remember what it was like to advertise and market a small business before the internet, it was fairly simple. Put a sign outside, maybe an advert or 2 in the press and sit back and wait for your Yellow Pages rep to ring and place your listing or display ad if you were posh! BUT if we are honest many businesses handed over the money more in hope. The ability to interrogate your Return On Investment (ROI) was the preserve of the big brands with departments full of marketing executives pouring over spreadsheets. For small businesses, the reality was more like “did we do better than last year”?

All is not lost and if anything, the playing field has been levelled in favour of smaller businesses. Success online is the same for them as it is for the big brands because we all have access to the data. Yes, that crystal ball which helps every business make educated decisions about how they plan their marketing. Analytics in their basic form gives even a beginner an insight into how visible they are online. Sure, if you want to “deep dive” into your analytics you can, and search engines like Google will help you. For many, we are still looking at a graph going up and down, but the key is the reward, you can see the results of your efforts and adjust things if necessary. Remember the days of Yellow Pages? You had to wait a whole year to make those changes.

So, what did change?… Everything & Nothing!

Every business now has the ability to influence and analyse their marketing effort which is a direct benefit of the internet. However, the same marketing principals still apply, quality and consistency of your marketing messages creates opportunities!

A business should engage with their website in the same way as you would with any part of the operations of the company, it’s your shop window. If you haven’t got the skills inhouse, talk to your web designers or marketing company who will be more than happy to get involved with what you are trying to achieve.

Mark Lancaster – Director – Colour It In Ltd (10/2020)