Internet can boost freelancers
Small businesses and freelancers without an internet presence could be missing out on customers, new research suggests, even if they work in sectors where it is not appropriate to make sales online.
According to a poll conducted by Yell, the directories service, four in five Britons trust a business more if it has an online presence. While they don’t necessarily want to be able to buy over the internet, Britons expect to be able to research products and services online – and are likely to be suspicious about whether a business is bona fide if it doesn’t have a website.
Yell’s research suggests that three-quarters of Britons now use the internet to research products and services before making a purchase. And one in two people use search engines to look for reviews of local businesses before engaging their services or buying from them.
The poll also suggests social networking sites are becoming increasingly important marketing channels – 25 per cent of people would consider contacting a business through Twitter, for example.
Yell’s research was produced to support a new campaign it is running, targeting small businesses without a web presence.
However, while there is increasing evidence that an internet presence is important for the vast majority of freelancers, there may be no need to spend more than a few pounds setting up a site.
“Whether you are a builder or a banker there are few sole traders who do not have an Internet presence,” says Phil Thornton, a London-based freelancer who provides economic consultancy. “But you probably already have a computer and Internet connection so that’s already paid for – and you can teach yourself how to set up a website.”