January 26, 2012

Destination Marketing 101: Endless Opportunities

internet size infographic
Infographic by Theroxor
To say that the internet is big is like saying the sky is big. Not even huge, colossal or gargantuan seem to describe its size. There are 193 million domain names registered, which makes the few that I own suddenly seem like a teensy-weensy amount. As of today the Indexed Web contains at least 7.33 billion pages. 2 billion videos are watched on YouTube everyday. 36 billion photos are uploaded to Facebook each year. Yet these numbers, enormous as they are (illustrated in the Therorox diagram on the right), can still be reasonably calculated. What makes it so incalculable is the vastness of the Internet's reach at any given moment. Anyone want to take a stab at how many emails are sent each year? Each day? It is purported that on average 294 billion emails are sent each day and it's growing. With such a staggering number it seems that the sky is it's only limit!
The Internet has made our lives easier in so many ways. We're not just researching information on it, it's equally become a huge part of our social life. We've reconnected with family and friends and met strangers who've become friends. I love that I can keep in touch my now 90 something year old Great Aunt through email and get updates on how she's doing through my cousins on Facebook. I can only imagine what it must be like to have seen the changes she has seen in her lifetime. It's almost impossible to imagine our lives without computers or the Internet or a time when we weren't dependent on them.
Business computers have become a necessity. Connecting our businesses to customers in ways we could never have imagined a few years ago. The Internet helps us develop, manage and market our products and services. Yet, for many business people the Internet and Internet marketing are daunting tasks. But, if my Great Aunt can learn to use email in her 80's I think the rest of us can conquer our Internet fears.
I know what some of you are thinking, doing business as usual is hard enough work. Maybe it's time to throw out the old ways and learn the new. I'll admit learning to navigate and keep up with the internet while working may be essential, but it's not convenient. Let's see, you need to send and answer emails. You may need an online newsletter. You definitely need a Facebook page and a Twitter account and, of course, you've got built and manage a website. How about a Blog or a Podcast? Could your business benefit from that? Are you on YouTube? Do you Stumble? Do you ChimeIn? It doesn't take long to feel completely overwhelmed. However, you can't continue ignoring the elephant in the room. So listen, nobody is keeping pace with all of it, so ignore the negative voices in your head. Your success may depend on mastering part or most of the above.
But remember, if you have to eat that elephant, its best to do it one bite at a time. Start by taking a first step. Above all don't let the size intimidate you. They're just numbers. You can do this! Begin thinking about the exciting ways you can use it to your advantage. If there are billions of users on the Internet then there are billions of opportunities. If you aren't already doing so it's time to reinvent yourself and your plan. Keep this in mind: most things that you'll do on the Internet, should be simple, searchable, useful, interesting and occasionally entertaining. And always represent your business and yourself professionally and positively.

Last post we talked about tweeting. If you haven't started, then do so! If you have, great! Here are some links to help further your Twitter endeavors: Twitter101, The Twitter Glossary, Getting to Know Twitter. I encourage you to read them. If you're getting the hang of Twitter and don't have a Facebook page it's time to get one of these too. Neither should consume more than half an hour of your time each day. Here are some useful links to help you with Facebook: FB Basics, Creating a FB Business Page, Creating a FB Landing page. Create an account then add a business page that passionately represents your business. Here you can talk about your industry, your facility, your products, services and specials, put up invitations, make announcements and post picture. Social media is all about networking and all of this is to get the word out to more potential guests better than ever before. Let your friends, family and regulars know you have a Facebook and a Twitter page and ask them to please check it out. Your biggest fans on Facebook will be your loyal customers. Let them help you get more loyal customers. Don't forget to have fun with it!

Indexed Web, 1/26/12

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