As the New Year gets underway everyone’s talking about New Year’s resolutions. The most popular resolutions in our office are the old favourites: eat better, exercise more and try to leave the office on time (except on days where deadlines or events dictate otherwise!).  Biscuits and tins of chocolates have been well and truly banished as we dedicate ourselves to being a lean, mean, marketing machine!

In the run up to Christmas we encouraged shoppers to buy Irish, and now we’ve moved on to encouraging people to go digital as we feel strongly that an on-line presence is crucial to the marketing mix.

The first task of the day in any communications agency is to go through the papers, keeping up to date with the goings on of the world and noting coverage that we have generated for our clients. Noticed some interesting statistics in an article by Geoff Percival for the Irish Examiner, reporting an increase of 12.9% in registrations for Irish web domains during 2011. While at first glance this looks like a promising upward trend, a recent survey on behalf of the IE Domain Registry shows that just two thirds of Irish companies have an online presence and only 21% have e-commerce capability.

So, why do one third of Irish companies think that the digital age is not applicable to them? Perhaps it is simply lack of access, skill or understanding, or for some perhaps it is just a preference. If you think about how most of us go about looking for a product or service nowadays often the first port of call is to look it up online. We read descriptions, reviews and discussions and compare prices before making a purchase, or we might seek out services by email or phone. At the very least we look for contact details on a website or online directory. In the absence of that information we might post a facebook status or tweet, reaching out to our social circle to provide insight.

In a time when 57% of consumers look for information about products and services online you would have to wonder about the missed opportunities by not having an online presence. There were 3,042,600 internet users in Ireland (representing 65.1% of the population) in June 2011, (Internet World Stats, August 2011). And so, we ask when a prospective customer ‘googles’ you, are you there?

So how will going digital help my business in 2012?

We are currently in what technology commentators refer to as “a period of accelerated change” as technology evolves rapidly to meet ever changing user needs and desires. Search engines make knowledge instantly accessible and devices such as tablets and smart phones have made the internet both pocket size and portable.

Here are some reasons which demonstrate the business advantages in having an online presence:

  • Company image.  A well designed and user-friendly site suggests a solid, trustworthy and capable organisation.
  • New potential.   The site will engage with clients not only on a local or national level but internationally. With a properly optimised website the opportunities are endless.
  • Communicate with current costumer base, enhance customer relationship management and gain real time feedback.
  • Generate new leads, attract new customers, be a support to your sales team.  We have found that Google or Facebook advertising is a great way to tap into target markets and attract new customers.
  • Sell! The internet is a great platform for selling, whether its on ebay, etsy, via Paypal or through your own e-commerce website
  • Marketing yourself. The internet is a low cost way to promote your company, many of the leading brands execute entire campaigns solely online.
  • Low costs. The internet is much cheaper than a store or office, no one has to turn the lights off at the end of the day, in fact there is no end of the day. When you log off your online presence is still working on your behalf!
  • Good for the environment. Putting documents such as invoices and statements online saves on paper!
  • Competition. Gain advantage over competitors or level the playing field.

So…… what’s your New Year’s Resolution?  I’m all ears!