Agency Marketing In the New Millennium
Unlike we all were told, technology did not collapse at the stroke of midnight on December 31, 1999. In fact, the new millennium spawned countless advances in technology—most notably the birth of “The Cloud”. I often stop and reflect at how my entire career now revolves around innovations and applications that did not even exist ten years ago when I started focusing my skills in the “new world” of Internet business strategy.
The advances in marketing tools via Internet technologies have made it possible for all Agencies and/or Agents to maximize their sales potential like never before. First, let’s talk about websites. In December of 1999, only 4.1% of the world’s population used the Internet. As of June 2014, over 42% use the Internet.
Websites are no longer a novelty for small business, they are a necessity. They are tools that have the potential to take small businesses further, faster than ever before. Unfortunately, in my own research, I have found the majority of small businesses are not maximizing their investment in their websites. Many let their content get stagnant and neglect to use simple techniques to attract new visitors. And let’s face it, without new visitors, your website is not getting you new business.
So how do you attract new visitors? In 2000, agents relied primarily on business development and networking, perhaps investing in sponsorship, print, direct mail or display advertising if they had a substantial enough marketing budget to support the expense.
In 2004, the world was introduced to Facebook … and it was free. Now agents had a way to connect directly to their existing clients and prospective clients. Simply having a way to broadcast content to a target group via Internet technology was the beginning of a new and powerful way to market … social media. The timeline below demonstrates the explosion we have experienced in the social media arena over the last 10 years:
Once small business got the hang of social media, an incredible new phenomena sprang to life: Viral Marketing. Because the backbone of social media is linked networks of individuals, the potential for expansive sharing of content has never been greater. In 2000, a small business owner could only dream of having enough marketing budget to reach a million people. Now, with tools like LinkedIn, I have the potential to reach over 15 million with a free post linking to my website. Even if my post only makes it to 1% of my network, that’s still 150,000 individuals that I have now reached with my message. For an entertaining demonstration of the evolution of viral media, check out Spinutech’s “Evolution of Viral Videos”:
Finally, let’s talk mail. “You’ve got mail” has evolved from being delivered by USPS to being managed by your ISP and MS. In 2012, more than 90 million Americans were accessing their email via a mobile device. This advancement means small businesses have a greater ability than ever to reach clients and prospects in a more affordable and efficient manner. Having the right tools to manage this new world of “mail” marketing is vital. Email management is key to not turning into “that guy that blasts my inbox”. Recently, AgencyBloc launched our new Email Marketing feature, and to support our clients’ success, we will be conducting an educational webinar series via our BlocTalk program focusing specifically on email marketing.
Advances in Technology
Text Messaging in 2000
AT&T was the first mobile carrier to offer text messaging for mobile phones. In 2000, there were 12,000,000 text messages sent each month. Seems like a lot until you compare it to more than 423,000,000,000 text messages being sent each month today. Text messaging has clearly been a significant improvement in not only technology, but also in our communication.
802.11g Wi-Fi in 2003
Though Wi-Fi technology was originally invented in 1997, by the 2000s people were beginning to actually use it. The 802.11g was an improvement on previous standards that aimed to improve speed & range.
Apple iPhone in 2007
In June of 2007, Apple released its first iPhone. This marked the beginning of mobile phones doing much more than making calls. Users were browsing the internet, downloading apps and reading emails. Apple's press release for its first iPhone highlights its cutting-edge features at that time.
I feel fortunate to be in the middle of this exciting age of business innovation. I am still amazed that my three children will not know a world without the Internet, while their mother spent half her life without it. The new millenium is an exciting place to be … never stop learning!