Make your Internet Identity your own
As a technology professional, I spend a lot of time understanding new and emerging software and services. I believe that it is important that we do not forget the tried and proven technology the evolved back in the early years of web.
I often come across businesses that place all their effort onto the social media platforms as the way of promotion and contact. Social media is an important part of marketing but keep it in perspective. Two areas often overlooked are identity and email.
Internet Identity (Domain Name)
Social media is important but consider when the social media giant disappears from the public eye. You just need to take a quick browse on the net to see how often our social media giants are in the news for mischievous activity. Governments around the world are instigating policy to check and control content of social media publishers. Social media will evolve into something different and its importance might well diminish.
Internet Identity is all about how customers find your business on the world wide web. A business needs its own identity on the internet just like it needs a sign out the front of its office.
The internet uses the concept of a domain naming system which is the phonebook of the internet. Domain names are just pointers and are unique to the internet. People or businesses own a license/subscription to use the name for a defined period. Domain names typically represent the name of a business and act as the pointer to all the products and services on offer (a Web Site).
Having your own domain name allows you to keep ownership of the identity and the content. My key message here is to use social media to promote all you like but always direct people back to your own internet identity.
Although many may disagree, in my view email is still king for business communication and messaging. Various chat and texting services are now available on all platforms and even some collaboration tools are making headway. Unfortunately, the segment is over saturated with choice and there is and no clear technology emerging that will replace email soon.
Companies like Apple have messaging software that is only available on Apple devices. This is a great strategy if you want to sell more iPhones but considering their global market share is only around 15% of smart phone sales, that leaves a lot of people out of the circle. Of course, devices made by Apple, Samsung, Huawei, Microsoft etc, all support Email.
But what about all the spam? Spam has significantly reduced from the past due to changes in the email system and the effectiveness of spam filtering techniques. Personally, I find that most things that end up in my inbox today are of interest to me and only occasionally am I hitting the delete key. I would rather publish my email address than miss out on a potential customer that cannot contact me.
But what about the viruses and phishing? This can be a challenge and all businesses at a minimum should have virus protection software checking emails before they get to the addressee the server. Education of users will have a greater impact on the reduction of infections than any other method.
When it comes down to it, email is direct, personal, and not limited to only a few lines of text. Until somebody produces a better choice that everyone adopts, we are stuck using email so make it available to your customers.
Make sure you can accept and send email and ensure you publish the email addresses appropriately. Have good spam and security systems in place to minimise the inbox clutter and risk.
If you do not have a Domain Name or your Email is not reliable, I recommend you seek out help to get these minimum needs sorted for your business.