Whether it’s searching for a holiday destination or locating a supplier, consumers prefer to look online first because the Internet provides them with what they’re searching for immediately. And it’s this instant access to information, products and services that has played a substantial role in the growth of globalization, allowing companies of all sizes to compete in both local and global marketplaces.
With more than 81 million1 Indians having access to the Internet and more than 1.9 billion2 Internet users worldwide, the Web is a rich and powerful tool that offers a wealth of opportunities and benefits to businesses, both big and small. While creating awareness is one of the key benefits, an Internet presence, when used strategically, can greatly help a business increase inquiries for its products and services.
Choose a name with care since it will represent your company’s brand and identity on the Internet, like a name that directly refers to the line of business you’re in or the name of your company. Consider a .com extension since it’s appropriate for businesses of all sizes and is the most widely used domain name extension around the world3. You may want to think about registering multiple domain names as well which would aid in bringing more visibility to your company.
Once you’ve chosen and registered your domain name, you can leverage it in several ways. Creating a website is one option which offers the most control of how to market your business and enables more marketing opportunities. While it is key to pay attention to the design elements of your website, it is equally as important to ensure your intended audience can find it. So make sure your site is always available and easy to find, which will bring more business inquiries from potential customers, and ultimately, more revenue to you.
Consider employing the following seven tips to help you reach even more potential customers, and to set your business apart from the others:
Promote your domain name on all communications: List your Web address on all forms of marketing collateral like business cards and stationery so potential and existing customers know where to find you on the Internet. And promote your site in your email signature in all email correspondence.
Utilize search engine optimization: Utilize search engine optimization (“SEO”) on your website. SEO is a series of strategies and techniques designed to make a site more “attractive” to search engines so it gets ranked higher on a results page. Higher rank placement greatly improves your business’ visibility to potential customers.
List your company on local Web directories: List your website for free on local Web directories to gain more exposure for your business.
Brand your email address: Use your domain name as your company’s email address to build your brand and look more professional to your clients, potential customers, and the outside world.
Update your site regularly: Make frequent changes to your site’s content (once a quarter is a good start) and provide relevant updates on information, products or services to encourage visitors to come back.
Build site traffic by exchanging links: Increasing your visibility and building your company’s credibility in a competitive online market can be achieved by building partnerships with other reputable entities. Placing quality links of other websites to your own helps with SEO rankings which drives more traffic to your site.
Buy online advertising space: Be visible in the areas where your potential customers are looking. For example, if you supply handicrafts, consider purchasing online banner advertisements in the business section of your local online newspaper or websites that list handicraft manufacturers in India. Advertising on relevant sites will increase traffic to yours, potentially increasing business inquiries.
In today’s Web-reliant world, having an Internet presence has shown to be essential to the overall success of a business. And if you’re not online now, it’s not too late. You can start right now.
1 www.internetstats.com, June 30, 2010
2 www.internetworldstats.com, June 30, 2010
3 During the fourth quarter of 2010, the overall base of .com and .net domain names grew to reach a combined total of 105.2 million names, according to the Verisign Domain Name Industry Brief (Volume 8, Issue 1, February 2011)