Chapter 1Internet Business: The Opportunity of Our LifetimeCommunicating with customers and other businesses has changed dramatically over the past century. It started with print, then radio, television, phone, and fax, and now all of us are operating in the fastest medium yet—the Internet. The future is bright for businesses that utilize the Net as a primary medium of communication and sales.The number of Internet users and the amount of business done online around the world is growing at a staggering rate. The world’s population currently holds well over 1 billion Internet users, and the majority of these Web-savvy humans have online access at home. They research, study, email, chat, download podcasts, participate in social networks, and shop online.Why question the amazing rate at which the average business is moving onto the Net? It makes too much sense to deny the obvious answer. Having a business online is the opportunity of our lifetime. Besides the greatly expanded market reach afforded by the Net, there is also the reduced cost of doing business online. Look at all the time, money, trees, and travel costs that are spared from the average business’s operating budget due to this new medium. The collective business world realizes the bounty of opportunity to be seized in cyberspace.All businesses that have a Web presence are seeing the advantages of selling online. They are committing more and more of their marketing dollars to online activities, where they are seeing a greater return on investment.Expansion of the Internet into all business and personal communications is inevitable. What was once considered a trend is becoming the norm. Overall familiarity and trust in online transactions and consumer relationships improve each month as new security-based technologies are developed. New media support groups hasten the learning curve of the average Internet user, a factor that earlier had hindered the speed at which consumers feel confident enough in their own understanding of the Web to make money-related decisions based on their own online research. The time is now for everyone to get online. In our lifetime, “newbies” will cease to exist.The future is really bright, so put on your shades and a thinking cap! Hot items are software, music, books, electronics, and travel. Broadening the gamut of goods sold online will happen quickly.The opportunity is there for you to create a dynamite business online if you do it right. It’s not a matter of throwing a Web site or blog together, putting it online, and having the world beat a path to your door. You have to choose the right business, develop the right Web site for your target market, and build substantial traffic to your Web presence. The online customer is extremely demanding, with expectations that exceed those of the offline buyer in many ways. Online buyers want what they want, how they want it, when they want it, at the right price. The product and service must be exactly what they ordered, delivered immediately to the correct place and for the lowest price they can find. Competition is fierce, so you have to create a professional and secure online presence for your business, target the demographic of Internet users with an affinity for your product or service, and work diligently to attract traffic. Serious marketing research is required to successfully access and captivate these eyeballs.
Susan Sweeney (Author)
Susan Sweeney, CA, CSP, HoF, is an internet marketing expert, a consultant, and the author of eight internet marketing books, including 3G Marketing on the Internet and The e-Business Formula for Success. She lives in Waverley, Nova Scotia, and Fort Myers, Florida.