Latest estimates, based on a December 2009 survey by Pew Research, shows that 74% of people surveyed use the Internet .
U.S. Demographics of Computer Usage in the U.S.:
- 93 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 29 years old said they use the Web, followed by 81 percent in the 30-to-49 age range.
- 76 percent of caucasian respondents said they use the Internet, while 59 percent of African-American respondents did, and 55 percent of Hispanics did.
- 94 percent of people with a household income of $75,000 or more use the Internet.
- And Internet users are somewhat geographically balanced, with 77 percent of suburbanites using the Web, 74 percent of people living in urban areas using it, and 70 percent of rural residents reporting they are online.
If so many sectors of this country's population is online, but your business still is not, you are missing sales opportunities. A website should be about product marketing, image branding and most importantly: making it easy for customers to do business with you !
Just as importantly - if after the last 2-3 years your web design has gone 'stale', or isn't generating business leads, 2010 may be the year to step-up to your competition.
2 Words: COST SAVINGS
Advertise in print and it's priced by the square inch. Colorsextra! Yet how much can you tell prospective clients about your business within a couple inches of space? While a full-page ad in a metro paper or phone book costs thousands-of-dollars, once out of circulation you are forced to re-purchase that exposure over & over again.
Consumers continue to migrate to the web, and the reasons are simple: it's easily accessible from just about anywhere nowadays, plus it's searchable. As Charlene Li, principal analyst for Forrester Research noted: "Online you get pictures, walkthroughs, you can search by price, location, proximity to schools. In the paper you get a few lines of text. You tell me which is better?" she asked.
As far as the geographic reach of Yellow Page adsa national business listing under just a single category was $187 annually, and that was years ago. No logo, no pictures, only your name and number. Can you call this a bargain ???
For less than the price of a single day's half-page advertisement in a metro newspaper, you can be online with your web siteopen and available seven-days-a-week, 365 days-a-year, even when your doors aren't.
3 Words: SELF-SERVICE = $avings
Just how dramatic are the cost savings of handling requests via web self-service vs. other mechanisms? Industry figures prove that a good web design is the most cost-effective customer service channel.
For example, according to VAULT Solutions Inc., banks continue to channel transactions to the web, as the average cost per transaction is less than one cent - compared to $1 (CAN) for a phone call and even higher when dealing with a teller at the branches. This is the reason some banks now charge customers higher fees to bank in-person.
Your mileage may vary...
The point is that corporate heavyweights have tested the waters, studied the results and concluded the Internet is a channel that absolutely requires investment. Just because you run a smaller business, doesn't mean you can't scale those same benefits to grow your market.
Please note: we have only focused here on business-to-consumer (B2C) benefits. There exists another entire segment, referred to as business-to-business (B2B), that is generating operational cost savings when transacting with distributors and suppliers online.