Promoting Your Business Online – The Digital Landscape

This blog post is a transcript of the Complete Small Business Show Episode 1 / Series 2 // How To Advertise A Small Business Online – The Digital Landscape.

You can find the podcast on the Apple Podcast app, Spotify, the Google Podcast app, Stitcher. Let us know if you want us to add it to any others for your convenience.

If you like the episodes, please share them with one of your colleagues and leave us a rating if you can. This will help other people find the show.

A simple Google image search will give a quick visual representation of how digital and devices have taken over our lives.

At the funeral for Pope John Paul II in 2005, you can see that very few people appear to have a device in the air taking a picture.

promoting your business online

If you do another Google search for Pope Francis’ inaugural appearance in 2013, you’ll see a crowd with nearly everyone holding a device up.

When people take out their smart device it’s usually to do something. It’s to read something, to post something, to share something. We’re extremely active on digital media.

4.3 million videos viewed on YouTube every minute in 2018. That’s up 13% from 2017. There were about 480,000 tweets sent, over 187 million emails being sent, 38 million WhatsApp messages being sent. There were about a million people were logging into Facebook every single minute in 2018.

If you see someone with a device in their hand, they’re actively engaging in some way on the Internet.

Who’s capturing this digital activity by people with their smart devices or laptops?

Google has eight different products that have over 1 billion users each. Google search, Google Play, Google Chrome, Android OS, YouTube, Google Maps, Gmail and their Cloud service. All of these products have over 1 billion users.

Similarly, Facebook with WhatsApp, Messenger, the Facebook platform itself, Facebook groups and now Instagram all have over 1 billion users each.

From a business perspective, if you can be visible on Google and Facebook you have the potential to reach a lot of people.  We’ll discuss that a little bit later on.

We know people are more active online but what about traditional media? It’s quite often that people place traditional media in direct competition with digital media. In reality, there’s a place for both from a marketing perspective. We just have to acknowledge the size of each of the media and the role they play.

For example, if you go back to 2000 or even 2005, digital media was hardly consumed by anyone. There just wasn’t that much of it. The Internet was only starting to take off in the early 2000s.

If you roll that forward to 2017, now about half the media that’s consumed by people daily is on a digital platform.

Looking at an e-marketer survey from 2017 people consumed about 12 hours of media every day. It’s estimated that about six of these were through digital platforms. About four hours spent on TV, about an hour and a half on radio and then print magazines, newspapers, et cetera, was the remainder.

Of the six hours, people were spending in digital media about half of that was on mobile and the other half then on desktop. Mobile has just as much power as a desktop these days.

If we look at the amount of advertising being spent on digital media, if you go back to 2000 or 2005, digital advertising barely existed.

how to advertise small business online

In fact, it was just Google ads and display ads. If you roll that forward to 2017, 2018, now about a third of all advertising spent is on digital channels. The TV is still the king holding at 40% but newspapers, magazines and radio have all shrunk in the last 10 years.

They’ve basically given that over to digital platforms like Google, like social media and the other digital options. If we think about why the advertising spans has shifted people’s attention has shifted online. If we’re trying to catch people’s attention, we need to be where their attention is.

As I mentioned, about half their media consumption every day is through digital channels. It makes sense that a good portion of your advertising spend should be on digital channels. Google estimates that about 70% to 80% of people’s purchasing journey now takes place on the Internet.

In the old days, people used to walk into a shop with little or no knowledge of the product.  Today, by the time they go to purchase the product they have nearly complete knowledge. Sometimes, even more than the person selling the product in the shop. They’ve done all their research online, they’ve read reviews from technical experts, they’ve also read reviews from customers who have purchased and used the products.

Today consumers are armed with more information than ever. This is ultimately why companies need to have a digital presence so that when people go looking for information on your product or service, you have the information there to meet them.

If we take it from an Irish perspective. Ireland has got a pretty digital-savvy population.  There 3.9 million people of the 4.8 million in Ireland who are connected to the Internet. That’s a penetration level of about 82%.

promoting your business internet

Three and a half million or 75% of the population are mobile phone users. As a result, 65% of us are active on social media and 2.7 million of those are active social media users on mobile.

In summary, if you want to connect with the Irish consumer you need to be online and you need to make sure that you’re visible on mobile.

The long-held axiom was that people would research on mobile and purchase on a desktop if they were going to purchase online. What we’re seeing increasingly is people are more willing to purchase on mobile devices.

The report by HootSuite and We Are Social found that 47% of Irish people use mobile banking. In fact, about 54% of Irish people make purchases or pay bills online. We are becoming increasingly comfortable doing financial transactions online, and not just online, but on our mobile phone.

There are lots of different options for companies to promote themselves online.  Our best advice would be is don’t try to be everywhere, just try to be where your prospective customers are.

Your potential customers will have many online touchpoints on the way to purchasing your product. Naturally, this will include your website, social media channels, your YouTube channel and your email marketing. It can also include product review sites and any other online resource relevant to your business.

Therefore, instead of trying to be everywhere just try and be on the platforms most relevant to you and your product or service.

The second series of The Complete Small Business Show will look at four aspects of digital marketing.

  1. Why Content Marketing is Important for Small Business
  2. SEO – How to advertise a small business for free
  3. How to grow a small business with Social Media
  4. eCommerce – Why digital marketing is important for small business

Some episodes might be more relevant than others but all of them will provide a good starting point for businesses looking to promote themselves online.

All our podcast episodes are available on the Virgin Media business content hub.

If your company needs a business connectivity bundle… check out our VOOM Starter bundle over on Virgin Media Business, you can get 200Mb VOOM Fibre broadband, VOOM Mobile Unlimited Sim and 4 Business Phone Lines from just €85 a month. Sound good? Follow the links.