In the early ‘90s few people knew what the “dot” in “dot-com” was – a simple period, not the word “dot”. Our language has changed with the times, and what was new and unusual has become commonplace. We adapted http, html, and www to our language, and then the underground hacker’s “leet speak”, or more accurately “l33t sp34k”, moved into more and more vocabularies, evolving eventually to common knowledge through initialisms, often losing the numbers that once hid hackers from searches and bots, on on-line forums, chat rooms, and texting in such forms as LOL and OMG… now people are @myname or @mycompany, or @myhobby on twitter.
While I don’t believe that eBooks will ever take the place of the printed word, the internet is definitely the place to be for socialization, networking, business transactions, etc.-and it just keeps growing.
This short DBJ report on social networking (found in my twitter feed of course – thanks to @buzz4help) shows a 300% growth vs. last year.
So, how “on-line” is your business?
Are you blogging, tweeting, advertising on the internet, being found in search engines for the right keywords?
There’s no one “magic button” for internet exposure, but effective internet marketing can help you find the right place to be, and the right places to invest your time and dollars.
If you’re looking to increase your on-line exposure, find a company that knows the current environment and has a proven track record for helping other businesses. Look for
- Someone who will look at the big picture and understand your budget, goals, and incorporate how much time your business has to invest in internet activities.
- Experience – there are new companies opening their virtual doors every day. Take the time to check references. Ask for proof (case studies, reports from past projects, etc.) to validate their expertise.
- On-line and off-line integration – remember, the eBook will not replace the printed word. Make sure you work with a company that understands cross integration of your print and on-line efforts.
- Honesty – if they tell you your site will get a specific percent of new traffic, or a specific placement as soon as you sign up, be wary. The internet is a virtual organism and no one can make any such promises without using paid ad spots (which can be very effective, but are not the right solution for every site).
With great potential comes risk, choose wisely who you will work with to avoid unnecessary expenses and to focus on investments for your business’s on-line marketing. When we’re working with our clients to develop an on-line strategy, we base every decision on the goals, budget, and potential ROI of each recommendation; and we review our results every month, which allows us to validate and/or alter our course of action for future investments.