Could you imagine starting a business without a website? How would your customers find out about who you are, where you are, what you do, and why you’re better than your competition?

Could you imagine giving a new client your business card if it didn’t have your email address and your website on it? What would they think of that?

The year is 2011, and let’s face it, digital marketing is old news. Websites have been around for more than 15 years. A whole generation doesn’t know what it’s like not to have an email address, a mobile phone and a Facebook account.

The Yellow Pages will soon be dead, killed by Google.

Do you still use the Yellow Pages? If not, why do you think your customers will?

If you still use the Yellow Pages, how much do you spend on it every year? $5000, $10,000? $50,000? Do you like spending that much on having a tiny ad that doesn’t change all year right next to all your competitors?

Newspapers are dying, thanks to TradeMe. When did you last see a person under the age of 30 reading a newspaper?

I’m exposed to over 1000 ads per day. Some people estimate it much higher than this, at 3,000. I hear about 500 ads a day on the radio at work. It becomes a blur.

Like 200,000 other New Zealand households, we’ve got mySky, so now we don’t even watch ads on TV.

Why do you choose one brand over another? Because they have a better radio ad? A shinier flyer in the mail? Or because your friends and family recommend them?

How do you search for information about products and services? Do you use Google? Do you use Twitter?

If you still don’t understand the power of social media as a way to market your business, consider the sheer number of eyeballs involved …

Facebook: 600 million users
Twitter: 200 million users
LinkedIn: 90 million users

Twitter’s tagline is “What’s happening?” The company describes itself as an ‘information network’ rather than a ‘social network’. It’s probably the best way in the world to get up-to-the-minute information on just about any topic.

In August 2010, Twitter was supporting 800 million searches per day. That’s about 24 billion searches per month, more than Bing and Yahoo put together.

You might think that you don’t want to get involved in social media because of the risk of negative feedback. Well, people are going to be talking about you whether you’re involved in the conversation or not.

Isn’t it better to get involved, respond to the criticism and tell your side of the story?