In this post we are going to look at 3 Internet trends that are already having a substantial impact on your bottom line…and you may not even realize it.
These trends specifically target North America, but if you want to look elsewhere, you will see that these trends are (largely) only moving at a faster rate in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and South America.
TREND ONE: Market Saturation
If you take nothing else away from this post, you need to grab hold of this next point, because, no matter what you do for a living, this will impact your cash flow. Internet research is fast becoming the first qualifying step in the buying (and buy-in) process.
You read that right, 7 out of 10 people check the Internet first before making a buying decision…or deciding who to trust. And, yes, that number has doubled since 2004…and, yes, this stat is more than 3 years old.
According to the link above, the statistic is now nearly 8 out of 10 people, but two other sources I found said it’s closer to 73%, so I went with 7.
I’ll hazard a guess and say that, if you are reading this, you are one of the seven. Would you like to do business with you? What about the other six out of ten who use the Internet as their own personal high-speed concierge? Would you like them to know about—and appreciate—what you offer? If so, then you need to re-evaluate how you are leveraging the Internet in your business.
The days in which you could just slap up a brochure site and add a URL to your business card are long gone. To be relevant in today’s “on the phone, on the fly” digital world, you must have a consistently active Internet presence with current, quality content on both the traditional web and within social media.
TREND TWO: The shrinking “no” class
Nearly 100% of all Internet users research a product, person or service online before making a buying decision. We get 70% because there is still a segment of the population that owns neither a computer nor a smart phone.
Guess which segment of the population is buying tablets like Tums on Super Bowl Sunday? Yep…dots connected. What is driving this trend? Mobile devices and social media, both of which are easy to use and neither of which is going anywhere any time soon.
I’m the editor of the News of Kings Point, a monthly print news publication that is distributed in one of the largest retirement communities in Central Florida. Over the last 3 years we have seen a rapid uptick in the percentage of submissions we not only get via email but, more pointedly, through the submission form on the website. I am also seeing more stuff coming in from iOS systems.
Computer classes in that community are packed. Why? Well, because people want to communicate with their grandkids. But it is also because the retiree community is getting younger. Not statistically, but people are staying active and healthy longer.
1,000 people reach retirement age every day, and most of them are bringing with them at least two decades of computer experience. Plus, many of them are buying mobile devices because they are relatively inexpensive, easy to use and lightweight enough to carry anywhere.
The point? The generation who is not computer savvy is disappearing, replaced by a much more computer – and Internet – savvy consumer base. In fact, if you think about it, you probably know someone who can “barely use a computer” but has a smart phone or social media account. That person may even be “you.”
TREND THREE: Who’s actually reading blogs?
The population of those reading, following and commenting on blogs is not getting younger…it is getting older. You may want to sit down for this.
Blog readership among teens and young adults has plateaued, as these groups continue to opt more often for social media “microblogs” like Twitter and Instagram. But, among adults in their 30’s to 50’s, blog readership continues to grow.
Blogs are social, but also topical, which attracts those who use the Internet more for specific content and less for instant interaction. They are looking for context, not just communication.
Over the next few years, the folks with the most money will begin to overlap the group most likely to “Google” you before they willingly give you some of that money.
What happens then?
That’s mostly up to you … but it’s also up to the growing legion of commenters, reviewers and web denizens that will take control of your online reputation if you don’t beat them to it with good, solid, consistent content.