1.5 Billion Customers Waiting For You
By Ralf Skirr.
I can’t get no sleep because… because I keep thinking about those numbers that I’m about to reveal to you. Go visit the world internet usage statistics and see for yourself:
As of today, October 1, 2008, there are 1,463,632,361 people with internet access. That’s 21.9% of the global population.
Meaning: 1.5 billion potential customers for you and me.[ UPDATE: On June 30, 2010 the number is grown to 1,966,514,816.. That’s close to 2 Billion. ]
Heck – we’d have to screw up badly not get enough customers for our business out of 1.5 billion people, right?
But maybe you haven’t embraced the idea yet that the internet can generate new customers for almost any business you can think of. And it might generate a healthy influx of new customers for your business as well.
Globally you’re looking at
- 578,538,257 now 825,094,396 customers online in Asia
- 384,633,765 now 475,069,448 customers online in Europe
- 248,241,969 now 266,224,500 customers online in North America
- 139,009,209 now 204,689,836 customers online in Latin America
- 51,065,630 now 110,931,700 customers online in Africa
- 20,204,331 now 21,263,990 customers online in Australia
If you’re a business person you’re probably worrying about how to get the customers you need to pay the bills and finance your life style.
Now think about it: having access to 21.8% of the word population makes it easy to get all the customers you’ll ever need for your business. That’s not only true for any internet business, but also if you’re running a local brick and mortar store.
So how can you use a web site to get more customers for YOUR specific business?
How to use the internet for your local business.
Most brick and mortar businesses, shops, restaurants, offices, and practices need local customers. Using a company web site you can expand your client base and your profits in a 3 step process.
Step 1) Use a company web site to attract local customers.
Your company web site is your internet business card and if used correctly it can bring in new business faster than you think. For years the internet has been focused on general non-local information. This is changing right now. In fact in 5 to 8 years the internet will be the #1 source for local information.
I know that you probably believe the local news paper or yellow pages still do the job – but that’s changing quickly. 5 years from now – whether people want to know the local movie schedule, find a home delivery restaurant or an exterminator – they will get all the local information from the internet. In many places around the world this trend has already manifested.
The upshot is that you need to take advantage of local internet search and it will come quickly.
Be smart about this: most of your competition will still be missing this new opportunity. Just as 20 years ago EVERYBODY UNDERESTIMATED the explosive growth of the internet and commerce, today large numbers of your competitors underestimate the importance of LOCAL INTERNET SEARCHES. The first thing you need to do is to get a company web site that focuses on your local customers.
Once this is done …
Step 2) Expand your business beyond the local area
If you’re selling products
Physical products can easily be sold nationally or even internationally with an online store on your web site. Consider expanding your business that way if you sell any shippable product, as books, movies, cosmetics, apparel, computers, PC games, office supplies, electronics, furniture, toys, jewellery, fitness equipment, pet supplies, etc. etc.
If you’re new to the internet you may feel an online store is too complicated. In that case consider accepting orders via email or online contact form instead. Also – bear in mind that finding local consultants is not nearly as difficult as it used to be. They can set you up with a shopping cart usually for far less money than you might anticipate.
If you’re selling services
1) Many services are not bound to your geographic location.
My own business for example is available to customers worldwide. I sell internet marketing services and consulting on web sites in German and English language. Thus my services are accessible for roundabout one billion people – that’s 1,000,000.000 instead of just the 100,000 in my home town.
2) Some services have to be performed locally.
Could you still use the internet to expand your profits? Let’s see how…
- Sell Related Products. First of all you can start selling related products through your web site. Imagine a hair stylist. Of course the main business can only be performed when the client is ‘at hand’. But the hair stylist -having a web site- could start selling hair care products online and thus create additional revenue.
- Monetize Your Expertise. Second, any business person could and should monetize their Know-how and experience, see step 3 below to learn more.
Here’s a table of service categories and how to get new customers using a web site.
|This column describes services that are easy to to monetize and expand online.
Your goal: Offer these services through an online shopping cart or, in the beginning, accept offers via email or a simple order form.
|This column describes services that are not easy to perform online. Your goals:
|Services that can be delivered via email:
Web design, graphics design, writing and translations (ghost-writing articles, press releases, and scientific publications.), speech recording (e.g. audio books), music recordings, any type of multi media product, marketing, tax accounting, software programming, and lots of others…
|Any service where the client needs to be present:.
massage, personal grooming, hair dressing, manicurists, body hair removal, dental hygienist, health care, supervision, baby sitting, …
|Consulting services delivered via phone, e-mail, or written and spoken online chat:
PC consulting, business- and marketing consulting, coaching for relationship issues, financial planning, legal consulting, tax consulting, …
|All work related to home and garden.
Janitors, gardeners, carpentry, electricians, plumbing, …
|Services that result in products that can be shipped via ‘traditional’ mail:
Personalized books, picture framing, paintings, horoscopes, …
|Repair and maintenance services for machinery and devices you wouldn’t send via mail but rather bring to a local store.
Car, TV, Watches, Jewellery, Lawnmowers, …
Step 3: Monetize your know-how
The first thing to do is to position yourself as recognized expert in your industry. You do this by publishing articles on your web site. It’s exactly what you can see in action on this very internet business blog – I’m publishing articles to position myself in the area of internet marketing. You can do the same in your industry.
Don’t worry whether you “deserve” to be called an ‘expert’. Generally speaking, 99% of the population will know less about your business than you do. It is these people that you want to attract. After all, you’re looking for customers, not to impress your competition.
Monetizing your expertise can even go one step further:
Create information products (for example, reports, booklets, video instruction) about what you know and sell them through your web site. Many of those can be sold digitally. People will download the information product and you don’t even have to take care of shipping goods.
To get you started, here’s a list of common information products.
You could create
- an e-book
- a teleseminar
- an audio book
- an online course
- a web site with a protected member only area
- a real seminar, maybe held in your local store
You set up an automated system once, and it’s working for you 24/7.
Selling information online is a multi billion dollar business.
If you know more about your product or service than your average customer, then you’re perfectly ready to sell your knowledge.
Summary – 3 Steps To More Customers:
No matter whether you’re a freelancer or run a local brick and mortar business, there are 3 ways to grow your business with a web site:
1. Create a business web site to attract local customers.
2. Sell related products and services through your web site.
3. Monetize your expertise: Publish articles to position yourself as authority and sell information products to make money.
Final words. Thanks for reading my article, I hope it has given you a few ideas about how you can generate more money for your business using the internet. I encourage you to post your thoughts and questions below. I read each and every comment and will be happy to answer your questions.