Why You Need to Be Online

If you have a small business, the benefits to be gained from being online go far beyond being listed as a result of a Web search.


Having a business domain name and online presence can improve many of your current business operations and, importantly, make many tasks more convenient for your customers.

Here is an outline of some general benefits of leveraging your online presence:

How Being Online Can Improve Business for You & Your Customers
Task Customer Service Recruitment Marketing Invoicing
Tools
  • Domain Name
  • Branded E-mail
  • Website/Social Network
  • Domain Name
  • Website/Social Network
  • Branded E-mail
  • Domain Name
  • Website/Social Network
  • Domain Name
  • Branded E-mail
Business Benefits
  • Your business and relevant customer information can be found online, reducing the need for phone calls
  • A more professional, confidence-inspiring appearance online
  • Unlike phone calls, you can read and return e-mails 24/7
  • Online chat capabilities allow you to speak to your customers directly online.
  • List job opportunities with online employment websites with a link to your website
  • Present a professional appearance for job prospects
  • Lower cost posting job openings online
  • Your business will be indexed by search engines, to be automatically found online.
  • Post comments or testimonials of happy customers
  • List Web address on ads, fliers, windows
  • Many free marketing and promotion options
  • Referrals made easy!
  • Costs less than the post for sending bills
  • Online bill pay is a professional and convenient service to offer
  • Confirm delivery of e-mails with invoices
  • Send reminders easily
Customer Benefits
  • Makes it convenient to look up information about your business (hours/services) and contact you
  • E-mail is a convenient, 24/7 mode of communication
  • A Verisign survey found that consumers feel more comfortable engaging with a business with a branded e-mail
  • Job prospects can research the position and your company online.
  • Prospects can easily find you and contact you
  • People can more easily refer job prospects
  • New customers can find the right business for what they seek, most would miss you if you were not online
  • Domain name and branded e-mail make customers more likely to select your business
  • Convenient
  • Send bills quickly
  • No paper bill pile-up

KEY:
Domain Name – using your own business name for website, social network pages, and/or e-mail, e.g. www.powerplumbing.com
Branded E-mail – using an e-mail with domain name instead of Gmail or Yahoo, e.g. betty@powerplumbing.com
Website – a branded, exclusive website of one or more pages at your domain name Web address
Social Network – a page on a site such as Facebook or Twitter where you can promote your business, page can be reached via the network or “pointed to” with your own exclusive domain name Web address

At Verisign, we have operated the domain name infrastructure for .com and .net for over a decade. We have worked with many small business owners who felt some hesitation about being online. But time and time again, once they get their business domain name, build a website, and/or post social network pages – the benefits are immediate. In as little as one day, they have made their business easier to find and made it more convenient for their customers to learn about them and to get in touch. Take the first step and you will be up and running.


Concerns about Getting Your Business Online

As a small business owner or one just starting out, adding one more item to your to-do list might seem overwhelming. Yet most understand that the time has come to get online and that it is the right thing to do for a successful, modern business. Like most things, taking the process one step at a time will make it more manageable.

Let us address some of the main concerns that small business owners have about establishing an online presence:

“I am short of time”

The majority of small businesses in the U.S. are operated by one person or fewer than four employees. These lean numbers put a lot of pressure on business owners to prioritise just how and where they spend their time. Being so busy, it is tempting to delay a project that does not seem as urgent as day-to-day business. However, building a business website or online presence can take as little as an hour. There are several online resources that make selecting and purchasing a domain name, setting up a website and choosing a hosting partner quick and easy.

“My products and services are not available for purchase online.”

Several surveys and our most recent Verisign small business survey found that an overwhelming majority of consumers search for local products and services online. Consumers also reported feeling more confident and comfortable with businesses that have a professional online presence with a website and branded e-mail. Many people today choose to communicate through e-mail, texting, or instant messaging. Customers want the convenience of looking up your website for a phone number or address, or finding your social network page to leave a comment or make an appointment. All of these new modes of communication are enhanced by your business having an online presence through a domain name and branded e-mail. So even if you do not want to be online, your customers want your business to be online.

“I am not technical”

Like the time issue, the technical requirements to use a domain name for branding your e-mail, redirecting your social media page, or creating a business website are probably far less than you imagine. There are many registrar (companies who register your domain name) and website hosting companies that have designed sites that make the process simple, quick, and inexpensive. You do not need to know any computer programming or be a “techie” to have a website.

“I am Doing Fine Not Being Online”

If you have a successful local business and you are not online today, you might resist the pressure to get online by thinking, “I’m fine without it.” But what you may not be aware of is all the business you are missing or all the conveniences you could be offering your customers. You need to make sure your business is ready to interact with your customers the way they want and in their natural stream of gathering information. People find local businesses using the Internet. They use search engines such as Google and Bing, they search on review websites like Yelp or Angie’s List, or they ask for recommendations via their social networks. BIA/Kelsey, which analyses the small business media landscape, reports compelling numbers on how consumers seek local products and services:

  • 97 per cent of consumers use the Internet to research products or services in their local area
  • 90 per cent use search engines
  • 48 per cent use Internet directories
  • 42 per cent use comparison shopping sites

Getting your business set up online is taking action that will benefit you, help your customers and set your business up for the future.

NEED MORE INFO?

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