Are you keeping track of what your potential customers are doing in the privacy of their homes and offices? If you aren’t, it’s time to do so. I’m surprised how many times business owners will tell me that “My customers are different, they don’t use the Internet,” or “Our customers wait for our ads to come out in the newspaper.” Whatever.
According to a recent Harris Interactive study cited by Wall Street Journal Online, the profile of online users is looking more like the profile of the overall population. Approximately 77% of Americans are now online, up from 74% in the previous poll in 2005, and compared with 57% back in 2000. In 1995, only 9% of U.S. adults reported they went online.
Let’s break it down by age:
Adults 18 to 29 make up 21% of the population and 24% of Internet users
Adults 30 to 39 make up 18% of the population and 22% of Internet users
Adults 40 to 49 make up 20% of the population and 22% of Internet users
Adults 50 to 64 make up 22% of the population and 22% of Internet users
Adults 65+ make up 16% of the population but only 8% of Internet users
The results also show that adults with higher education and income levels represent a greater share of the online population than the population at large.
So unless your customer is over 65 with less than a high school education making less than 25k per year it’s a pretty good bet that they’re online. And whether or not you are personally on line your business needs to be.
At a recent advertising seminar in Asheville North Caroline I asked an audience of 100+ business owners how many subscribed to the daily newspaper. You could hear the gasp when less than a dozen hands went up. Might be one of the reasons that newspapers are increasing their online presence.
I’ve had the extreme good fortune to travel the country meeting with business owners in towns and cities big and small. People in America are more similar than you might imagine. If you still believe your customers are different, you might start asking them how often they’re online. The answer might surprise you.