The internet is probably the first place you turn to when you're looking for something. The internet can help you find people, learn more about your market and keep up to date with regulations affecting your business.
Understanding how to use search engines makes it easier to find what you want. It's also worth thinking about how you can check information can be trusted.
1. Recruitment and finding people
The internet can help you find new employees and make other useful connections.
There are many ways to recruit new staff online
Social media is a good way to stay in touch with people
You can use the internet to learn a lot about people
2. Customers, suppliers and competitors
The internet can give you access to a wealth of information about existing and potential customers and suppliers. It can also help you learn about your competitors.
You can get information about other businesses, like new clients or prospective partners
Searching online can give you a sense of what kind of company you're dealing with:
The web is the best place to start any competitor research:
3. Market research and trends
The internet can provide you with an enormous amount of helpful information when you are performing market research. Online services can help you understand and identify your target customers:
You can use the internet to analyse your market and identify opportunities
You can keep an eye on wider trends in society and technology.
4. Laws and regulations
Keep up-to-date with new laws and rules that may affect your business. There is a wealth of legal and regulatory information available online
Government websites will give you the official line on new initiatives, rules and regulations
5. Using search engines
Search engines are the main way people find information online. If you're having trouble homing in on the information you need, there are a number of techniques that can help. Using basic search operators can produce a more specific set of results:
Use the advanced search
Can you trust the internet?
Anyone can publish practically anything online, so it can be hard to verify the information that you find. When relying on data you've found on the internet, you must be confident that it can be trusted.
Get a second opinion: Ask colleagues or contacts what they think of the information you've found. Are they familiar with the source? Have they ever seen conflicting data?
Find the original source: Statistics often get repeated online without reference to the original source or piece of research. Use search engines to try and identify where a piece of information originated.Identify who's behind it
The internet is full of 'sponsored content' created by companies or individuals that have an agenda. This information is often reliable, but it's important you understand what motivations were behind its creation.
Lisa Hunter is an experienced Marketing, Events and Project Manager. She has over 10 years’ experience working in the IT and marketing industry, delivering strategic marketing support and managing creative projects for a wide-range of clients. In this blog she shares her knowledge and experiences…we hope you enjoy it.