(I’d like to stress that there is no particular order of rank for the seven musts of marketing. They are all MUSTs.)

Of all of these musts, the one experiencing the most dramatic impact for business today is #3 – Internet. A quality website updated regularly, pay-per-click advertising, search engine optimization, social media management, mobile optimization, mobile apps; this list will only continue to grow with internet marketing tools. Unfortunately it is not enough for you to just have these tools. You must use them effectively and consistently.

Ask yourself what you thought about the last business who’s website had not been updated in a couple of years. What do you do when you click on a search engine ad and it takes you to an unrelated page? Have you liked any businesses on Facebook or followed any on Twitter who are constantly trying to sell you something or who only post once or twice a month? Have you ever filled out a request for more information and received the information several days later or not at all? Obviously these are all negative experiences. You can’t afford for your clients to experience those.

With the internet giving everyone access to a world of information, you can count on customers researching you before they buy. Some statistics even show that 90% of purchases are made with some time, even if it is only a few moments, researching online the company, product, or service. What are they researching? Your reviews, pricing and your competition. It takes time to build trust with your clients. Poor internet management can kill trust before it even has a chance.

Take an objective look at how you are using internet this week. Put yourself in the shoes of your clients and ask yourself what kind of experience they are having. It may even be helpful to bring someone in who you trust, giving you an outsider’s view. Just make sure they are comfortable enough to tell you what they really think.

I’ll leave you with this observation: A fundamental shift in the way we communicate has occurred. If you don’t believe me, look at how many people are using their cell phones to communicate with friends on Facebook the next time you eat out or are at an event. This is as big as the Industrial Revolution. In fact, it is most likely quite a bit bigger. We are living through a historical event. You can start to be part of the revolution now, or you can wish you had later.

Shane Boring