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Online Advertising Is Essential

Get Online Or Risk Missing Out Fresh Business Thinking 18/02/10

By Patrick Elliott, chief executive, Business Link in London

A recent survey of how London's small and medium sized businesses use the internet has revealed some surprising findings. Just over 62% of businesses polled said they did not need a website, while 40% admit they do not currently have one.

With consumers relying so heavily on the internet, small businesses need to establish an presence if they are to be successful in the market. Developing an online company identity does not have to be expensive or time consuming. Websites can be quick to set up and inexpensive to maintain.

Nonetheless, they are incredibly important. The internet has, in many cases, replaced the Yellow Pages and local business directories. Rather than looking up a company, consumers and other businesses will simply search online to find the service they need.

If you don't have a website, many people will not be aware of your company and you run the risk of losing out on potential customers, simply because you're ignoring the internet.

In this way, a website can be invaluable in helping your business connect with potential customers and maintain existing relationships.

Having a strong online presence can also open up your business to an entirely new customer base. Research from Google shows that online sales account for 17p of every pound spent in the UK. Offering products and services online can provide a valuable source of additional revenue for many small businesses.

In this sense, the internet is very much an opportunity and a threat. While small businesses that are savvy about the potential of the internet will benefit from expansion into new markets, those that are slower to adapt may find they are losing businesses to online competitors.

In a recent poll, 54% of London's small businesses stated they planned to increase marketing while 50% planned to enter new markets. Building your business' presence online can facilitate both these goals.

But what does this mean in practice?

Websites should not be a victory of style over substance.

It is important to be clear about the services and products your business offers and be mindful of what information your customers will need to know. Tailor your website to meet the needs of your customers. Listing your business' contact details and enabling your customers to communicate with you easily is also vital for every website.

Developing a presence online is not necessarily the right thing for every business, but many businesses that would benefit from engaging in the online world are clearly failing to do so. If you believe your business should have a presence on the internet, think carefully about the sort of information you will need to include on your website and what you are trying to achieve. Build your website around these details.

Of course, many business owners will find it difficult to crack the online world alone. Go out and get advice from organisations like Business Link, whether you're starting from scratch or you're looking to make your current online presence more effective.'

Note from Suffolk Guides - by advertising on the Suffolk Guides your business can have an immediate, cheap and easy to maintain presence online, and consumers will be able to find you when they search the internet even if you don't have a website. So this is a cheap way to test the waters before you dive in to the web! Contact us now on 0845 362 7855 or email [email protected]

Online Advertising Is Essential 17/09/2008

By Nick James

According to The European Interactive Advertising Association research released yesterday, the internet is continuing to prove the medium of choice for advertisers as they seek to maximise ad spend budgets. 81% of advertisers claim that their allocated online ad spend has grown in 2008 and predict that it will continue to do so over the next couple of years (+16% in 2009 and +17% in 2010).

82% of advertisers who have seen an increase in their online spend admitted it is coming directly from the likes of print media (40%*), TV (39%*) and increasingly DM (32%*) budgets. This is backed by the fact that three quarters (73%) state that they are increasing their use of online as an advertising medium whilst 31% of advertisers claim their use of TV is decreasing and 40% cite a decrease in the use of newspapers.

The EIAA Marketers’ Internet Ad Barometer, was commissioned by the EIAA to provide valuable insight into the role online advertising plays in the marketing mix and attitudes towards the internet amongst key advertisers across Europe. The results reveal that online is playing an increasingly important role in overall advertising strategies with 38% of advertisers now regarding online as essential (vs. 17% in 2006).

“This research shows that while other forms of media are suffering from slowing spend, online continues to take a growing proportion of advertising budgets as brands increasingly recognise its impact, value and potential ROI“ said Alison Fennah, Executive Director of the EIAA. “Advertisers in Europe are also starting to realise the economic and operational benefits that are offered through the adoption of pan-regional online strategies.”