Like it or loathe it, if we are to thrive rather than just survive, we need to embrace online. Online is too important to ignore and it's too useful to manage without. The truth is that many businesses have been quite slow to adapt because they felt that being online was either too complicated or too costly or simply because there was no real commitment behind it.
However, things have changed and 'new Internet applications and digital techniques have made being online a lot less painful than you might imagine.
Add to this the backup and ongoing support of companies such as ourselves and you start to feel the possibilities for evolving a whole new species of exciting new revenue streams.
Still not convinced? Here are three key reasons for going online:
1. Because that's what your customers want to do.
Customers are rapidly adopting new habits and the emerging force in business today is the ‘Google Generation’. Forget TV, regular meetings and piles of paper. These guys live and breathe online. So in order to gain business, that's where you have to be to engage with them. Companies are under growing pressure to get their brands out there with relevant, instant and direct delivered messages whilst reducing costs and lowering their carbon footprint. Even smaller companies like to shop, order and do business online, especially with its 24/7 convenience. It's not just a case of all these people preferring online, they virtually insist on it.
2. Because it makes marketing more effective.
Companies need marketing in order to grow. But marketing without online benefits is incredibly wasteful. Over 83% of marketing received is thrown away without being read. Less than 1% generates a response. That's a 99% failure rate. Not to mention in the UK alone, the million trees a year it costs and the 500 million tons of CO it pours into our threatened eco system. This waste has got to stop and online is the perfect place to start. Online marketing messages can be created, relevant to individual recipients. Even printed marketing nowadays, can be to exact numbers from one upwards. Marketing materials can be created, amended and ordered through print online at a fraction of traditional cost. Effectiveness can be monitored and measured. And the planet can be saved. It's a no brainer.
3. Because you're either networking or not working.
Good business relationships are based on good connections. As a successful organisation you should be in charge of that channel, enabling people to connect with each other through the processes that you can provide. And to connect with anyone you have to be online. Of course, business isn't all virtual. People will always prefer to deal with people. So all those human aspects of networking such as customer service, understanding their business and building relationships are as important today as they have ever been. In fact it could be argued, more so.
But whilst technology will never replace people - it's equally true that people who use technology will replace people who don't.