Name a business that does not have a website, a blog, or even its own account on Facebook or Twitter. Yes, there’s probably none. Going digital is a convenient and effective marketing strategy because of its low start-up costs, extensive reach and popularity. A recent Nielsen survey found that mobile device users spent 30% of their time on social media. It is no wonder that research firm IBISWorld identified social games as the industry with the highest potential growth. It registered over 180% of explosive growth over the past five years. Coming in at second are virtual data rooms that are increasingly becoming popular. Managers meeting in a room to talk about business proposals are a thing of the past now as more and more companies create virtual teams from all over the world. Rounding up the top three are online shoe sales. Yes, you got that right. The online business of the footwear industry grew more than 16% a year on average. The top three “trending” industries prove that online visibility translates to business visibility. Everyone is online so why aren’t you? Here are the reasons why you should ditch that fax machine and go digital: #1. What are you looking for? If it’s not on Google, it does not exist, at least according to 89% of consumers who turn to search engines to find information on products, services, and businesses before making a purchase. This was the result of a 2012 Digital Influence survey which points to the dependence of consumers to internet and shopping research. The study also found that the pairing of content marketing and social media marketing effectively helps businesses reach more consumers. It found that 79% of consumers follow brands on social networking sites to get more information. #2. Measuring success It is easier to track the progress and success of a business when it is online. Using analytics or the basic website tool provided by your hosting company, you can easily track how many clicks, views, or responses your product or campaign got at a very low cost. #3. Meet your market Administering surveys and focused group discussions to get to know your niche or your target market is a long and tedious process. By having online presence, you will get valuable information such as the number and demographics of your visitors — what they like, where they are from, and so on. You can even track the bounce rate, which tells you how many visitors clicked on your website but left. #4. Need for speed How long does it take to print a document, walk it over to the fax machine or to another office and wait for receipt? This traditional way of office communication is a colossal waste of time. Having a digital communication system will allow employees to be more productive and focus on other tasks sooner. #5. What a mess Filing and archiving information the old way does not only take too much time but highly inefficient. How many filing cabinets would a business need to keep all important documents? How do you keep them safe? How long would it take an employee to browse through them whenever necessary? There are a lot of computer software and applications that are available to help you get more organized and get rid of the mess. #6. Going paperless The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that some 5,260,000 tons or 10.5 billion pounds of paper products were wasted and recycled in 2010. On the business front, the average employee goes through 10,000 sheets of paper per year or $80 cost per employee per year. Going paperless will not only save your business money but will also save the environment. #7. Price is nice The digital shift is also easy and affordable. All data and paperwork could be stored in a computer system, backed up with an online storage or an external drive. This is much cheaper than keeping loads of files in a cabinet or storage. Maintaining a website does not require a huge workforce. There are also enterprise collaboration systems that you can download for efficient communication with people in the workplace or even virtual teams scattered all over the world. #8. Profit and momentum With more and more customers doing online research before making a purchase, the returns on investment for online marketing is on a roll. A report by the Altagamma-McKinsey Online Observatory found that 20% of online and in-store sales were driven by online marketing. It also found the total sales from pure digital marketing generated a $12.5 billion optimal profit. The momentum is also on the digital’s side as these numbers are expected to reach $27.8 billion in the next five years. This could even go higher as new technologies are incorporated into the lives of customers. #9. Content is king Going digital will also allow a business to embrace a confluence of trends such as social media, search engine optimization, and display advertising or what is called content marketing. Its techniques are preferred by a growing number of brand marketers because it tells a story. Through the years, content marketing had grown to a $44 billion industry in 2013 according to the Custom Content Council. That is no surprise since it also found that 61% of customers say they feel better and would likely to buy from a business that offers custom content. #10. Blogging rules Another online marketing strategy is creating and maintaining a blog. The thing about blogs is they are simple, engaging and easily builds connection with consumers. They offer a creative way of providing information with reviews and testimonials and encourage discussion and comments from readers and customers. By blogging on a regular basis, brand connections are strengthened. Blog marketing helps your business become a trusted source of information. #11. Interaction in action By going digital, a business or company provides its customers a varied reading experience. A digital content may contain links, visuals, videos, and other multimedia. Readers can engage using the platform that suits them best. The influence of the Internet and digital media is undeniable. If a customer searches your business on Google and didn’t find it, chances are he will look for another one. That is one of humanity’s absolute truths — people are impatient, people are hungry for information, and people want it with just one click. If you’re not yet online and digital, you are missing out on a lot of opportunities. Help your customers find you, help them appreciate what you do, let them talk to you, and make the experience quick and easy. 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