Thursday, March 25, 2010

Why Are Businesses In T&T Still Using Web1.0?



There is ample evidence to confirm the hypothesis that business owners in Trinidad and Tobago do not fully appreciate how the internet can affect their bottom lines.

The major internet service provider in Trinidad, TSTT, has done extensive research to determine exactly who is online but...

Let's not rely on statistic because it only tells one side of the story. You should be aware, however, that according to TSTT research there are approximately 224,000 people in this country connected to available internet service providers. In a population of approximately 1.3 million people that represents just under a third of the population. What are the implications?

It can be deduced that the online market is large enough to include clients for any business. The fact that almost one third of their potential local customers are connected to the internet is enough reason for every business to pay attention to what's happening online.

It's an unwise business decision to ignore this balloning online segment of the population. In fact, right now we know that online connections are increasing exponentially. in a few years, with the reducing cost of access to ISPs, the number of Trinbagonians online may increase even faster and in greater numbers than what has been forecasted. Doesn’t it make sense that businesses begin the process now?

Here is the thing. Unlike the general population, most businesses are connected to the internet, most not all. The problem is that the majority is still using Web1.0 strategies. That is, local businesses primarily use the internet for sending and receiving emails.

In addition, most of the existing websites, the exception being entertainment sites, are not interactive and not developed to convert visitors to paying customers. The more astute local online businesses drive traffic to their sites with the primary goal of generating revenue from advertisers.

Only a small handful has any definable online business model.

The next time you read the Trinidad Express, Guardian or Newsday scan the advertisements and see for yourself the number of ads with web site addresses. You will find quite a few with email addresses which tell you that the company or business owner is connected to the internet but does not have a web site.

The majority, however, even with full page ads, have no email or web address.

Also take a look at the business cards in your pocket or pocket book. How many of them have a web site or email address? I would guess very few.

So why would a business want a website? If the value is not apparent, it becomes a non-issue. If newspaper ads are getting business new customers; why worry about the internet? The answer is leverage. Consider this…

1. If you purchase a classified ad the newspaper charges you for every letter and they tell you what you can and cannot say. In other words they censor your ads. With a website you can add pages, hundreds or thousands of them at no additional cost other than what the designer charges per page.

2. For the price of a full page newspapers display ad or a one minute TV ad with a low frequency, you can have a full year of your company's information displayed online. The cost, your domain name and hosting, less than $100 USD. Your only challenge is getting people to visit the site.

3. The internet allows you to track everything that happens on your site. Every detail that is too combersome to track on any other mediums is trackable online. You can easily find out how many people visited your site, how long they stayed and what they are actually interested in. Impossible with any other advertising media source.

Essentially what is being suggested is NOT that businesses stop advertising on the other media but to leverage each ad so that they maximize the benefits. It will not cost one penny more to add your web site address or email address to an ad.

People who are connected and really interested will find you on the web and be more inclined to visit your business. The internet is just one tool in your arsenal and although it must be employed wisely; it cannot be your only strategy.

There is still a large segment of the population whose only connection to a business is either physical or phone but as we can see that is rapidly changing. So continue to place ads but leverage each. And while we are on the subject of ads, please ensure that every ad you place is a direct response ad, anything else is just a waste of your advertising budget.

Your choice as a business owner is to wait for the evolution of the internet to sweep you online or make the decision that you will be there when it reaches critical mass. As with everything else, there is a learning curve, the sooner you start the more experience you will have online and the more you will know. Find out how simple it is to do. Get a copy of the Internet Manifesto and be notified when the Trinidad and Tobago Special Report is completed. Go here.


Thank you for reading, comment if you feel so inclined.

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