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Canadians Underestimating Power Of Internet

Today’s blog certainly isn’t the first one we’ve written that encourages small business owners to promote their businesses online. And there is a very strong chance that it won’t be the last one championing that tactic either. However, as Cynthia Vukets of The Toronto Star reveals today, many small business owners in Canada don’t even have a website.

It probably goes without saying that in 2011, having a strong online presence is a must. To remain relevant in any marketplace, you will want to ensure that your customers can easily access information about your company’s products and services, hours of operation, location and contact information.

Chris O’Neill is the managing director of Google Canada. Vukets quotes him as saying that only 10 to 20 per cent of advertising budgets these days are put towards promotion on the internet. This number, it seems, shows a gross underestimation of the Canadian public’s spending habits as upwards of 68 per cent of the nation is online.

Said O’Neill: “The gap between where consumers are and where businesses are in terms of use of the internet is greater than I would have expected.” He went on to reveal that there are 2 billion internet users and 5 billion mobile subscribers across the world. “It blows your mind when you start to think about how many people will be online (in the future),” he exclaimed.

Vukets goes on to reveal some very telling numbers about the type of internet usage going on in Canada. According to a recent comScore study, Canadians spend about 43.5 hours a week online, compared to 30 hours in the United States. In addition, 21 million Canadians watch YouTube at least once a month.

These figures make you seriously wonder how any business can exist these days, without having a significant online presence. At the very least, entrepreneurs should get themselves Twitter and Facebook accounts. Not to mention, having a regularly updated blog is an excellent way to drive traffic to your company’s website.

Take it from Promod Sharma, an Etobicoke-based entrepreneur: “I couldn’t understand Twitter. I didn’t think that people cared that I was eating lunch or looking out the window. I didn’t understand the business application. But then I saw that Twitter was a way to drive traffic to the blog.”

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