Monday, January 26, 2009

Winnipeg Businesses Need to Invest in their Internet Presence

I visit with many business owners across Winnipeg week in and week out. Whether it be a large national corporation or small mom and pop shop, when you mention the words "internet marketing" fear settles in immediately. This fear is understandable when you consider how integrated the internet has become to businesses across every sector, while the gap in skill sets required to manage this area widens. As a business owner, its impossible to be a guru in every area of your business. So... when you are faced with an area as dynamic as internet marketing, you need to invest in a trusted consultant to guide you through these new waters. Consumer behaviour has changed for good, which is apparent when looking at the massive growth in users on the internet in a short span of just ten years.

Recent news articles report that from 1995 to 1996 users on the internet grew from 1 million to over 10 million; and now, in 2008, that number has eclipsed 1 billion users for the first time in history, with no slow in sight.

How is any business owner expected to adapt this quickly, while juggling the challenges of their day-to-day operations? The answer is you can't. This is why Winnipeg businesses must invest in a trusted consultant to guide your business online.

I empathize with business owners as most are forced to trust this growing component of their business to a third party to manage. Many try to save money by employing family friends or their IT departments to tackle the issue of visibility on the web. The hard truth is that more often than not, your first impression to consumers is your website. Is your first impression really the area to save money? When you weigh the mass potential that exists in Canada on the web, business leaders need to begin putting their anxieties aside, and start opening their ears and wallets to this new online market.

Some recent stats from December 2008:

China led the pack with 179.7 million users, while the United States ran in a close second with 163.3 million. The top five nations were rounded out by Japan with 60 million, Germany with 37 million, and the United Kingdom with 36.7 million.
Other notable nations contributing usage to the chart included France with 34 million, India with 32.1 million, Russia with 29 million, Brazil with 27.7 million, South Korea with 27.3 million, Canada with 21.8 million and Italy with 20.8 million.

Chances are you do business in one or more of these countries. Can they find you on the net?

Ask yourself this: Is the internet going to be a larger or smaller part of my business 5 years from now? Once you've come to the unavoidable answer the next question is obvious - what am I doing now to ensure I capture my share of this growth market within my industry?

And where do most people search for goods and services?

Focusing on the global influence of specific Internet properties, search titan Google attracted some 77 percent of the worldwide audience in December, which equated to almost 776 million users.

The facts are in Winnipeggers. The internet is here to stay - and if you plan on being in business long-term - its time to invest in your "online real estate." There are a number of quality companies right here in Winnipeg that can help- one that even has a former Director of Google headquartered in the CanWest Building.

Don't leave your web presence to your brother's son's locker partner, hire professionals and reap the return on investment that comes with being a leader online.

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