Finding Your Way In The Digital Economy
By Mark H. Bloom
The digital economy is big, and it’s growing. Worldwide, almost 3.5 billion people used the internet in 2016. That’s 40 percent of the population, ranging from Albuquerque to Zimbabwe. And the number grows every year. In the U.S., nearly 90 percent of the population shops, communicates or reads the news online. Of the percentage of Americans who don’t go online:
– 57 percent are over the age of 50.
– 33 percent didn’t graduate from high school.
– 25 percent don’t earn more than $30,000 per year.
Unless this small demographic makes up a majority of your audience, your business needs to be online. You need an active website, a social media presence, and local reviews. You may need to advertise online to your chosen market. You need to do everything you can to reach people via the internet — because that’s where people go to find what they’re looking for.
Remember the Yellow Pages? No one does. The digital economy expands every year, and if you want to grow your business, you need to be where everyone is looking for you (whether they know it or not). By the year 2020, it’s predicted that the number of internet users will nearly double to cover the planet. There are already more cell phones than toothbrushes. Think about that.
Digital Economy > Begin with Your Website
Ten years ago, not every business understood the importance of having a web presence. Now, every business has a website. The bar has been raised if you want to stand out. It’s not enough to have an online storefront; you need to have an active, inviting website. It starts with an updated design, but it doesn’t end there. Your website needs welcoming content and engaging copy. It needs to answer visitors’ questions and invite responses.
With the use of mobile devices on the rise, people are asking their cell phones and tablets questions and looking online for the answers. If you can be the website they choose and you answer their questions, you’ll make an impression. You may become the go-to website for your industry. Visitors will remember you when they’re ready to buy.
And that’s important to remember: not every visitor to your website is ready to buy your products or services the first time they find you. You have get them to trust you, establish that you’re an authority in your field and communicate your unique value proposition. Your website isn’t about your company; it’s about what your customers can get from you. It’s about their benefits, not your features.
Digital Economy > It’s Not Just SEO
Sure, search engine optimization helps attract visitors to your website. It’s a technique that works, tying your website to keywords that people are actively searching for. But once they reach your site, you still have to persuade them to stay and look around. Your website’s job — some would argue its only job — is to turn visitors into customers.
To find your way in the digital economy, you have to take the bull by the horns and make it happen. Even if you’ve invented the best mousetrap, no one will beat a path to your door in the digital economy. You have to advertise. You have to find your customers and bring them to your website. You have to persuade them to try your mousetrap. Commerce in the 21st century is e-commerce.
The digital economy is waiting for you if you’re willing wade in. Blog to attract your audience. Use your website to gain a loyal following. Post on social media to build brand awareness. Employ an attitude to help people find what they’re looking for. Provide free information about your business and your industry. It’s the best way to find your way in the digital economy.
Guest author: Mark H. Bloom, Director of Digital Content at Ray Access
Ray Access is a content marketing firm that believes in the power of words to empower your business. Content marketing may be the least expensive, yet most effective way to market your business online.