The 2015 holiday shopping season was a good one for businesses online. Thanks to strong sales from Black Friday and Cyber Monday, online retailers reported an increase in sales of 15 percent from the previous year with Cyber Monday proving to be the largest online sales day ever, netting $3.07 billion.
However, only 51 percent of small businesses have websites, despite the fact that 97 percent of consumers search for products and services online, according to figures released earlier from The SCORE Association (SCORE).
The disconnect between small companies and the growing number of consumers who vet brick-and-mortar businesses based on their online presence could be keeping entrepreneurs from millions of customers – and dollars. SCORE Vice President of Marketing Bridget Weston Pollack said, “If a company or a small business doesn’t have an online presence, they are missing a huge percentage of the population that could be shopping at their store.”
Almost three-quarters of Americans go online at least once a day. If you are a small business looking to grow, you need to go where your customers are. That means getting your business online with a domain name – whether it’s with branded email, a web address for your social media page, or a business website.
In September 2015, Verisign conducted a survey of 787 U.S. internet consumers aged 18 to 59 and 456 U.S. small businesses to learn more about their online behaviors and preferences – focusing on how consumers use the internet and the benefits of an online presence for a business.
Guest post from Fernando Espejel, VP Director, Digital Platforms at FCB Chicago
In advertising and marketing, regardless of company size, category or demographic, we all have one goal: great campaigns. Campaigns that resonate with our target audience, spark conversation and ultimately lead to conversion.
At a high level, the formula for this is relatively simple: integrate across all channels and focus on relevant and engaging content. It is the execution of this formula that often proves to be extremely difficult. The goal of this post is to provide a bit of guidance along the way, in the form of inspiration from those who’ve done it well.
Google updated its algorithms in April to favor websites that look and perform better on mobile devices, making them appear higher on search results. This news has many non-mobile-friendly website owners fearing that their search rankings will plummet. While the change is understandably concerning, Google may actually be doing many small businesses a favor by finally forcing them to implement a mobile website.
A recent study, by EURid and the Leuven Statistics Research Centre, set out to better understand the most common usage of websites that are linked to domains, and we thought it would be an interesting exercise to extend similar analysis to the new generic top-level domain (gTLD) market. So, we analyzed all second-level domains registered in new gTLDs according to published zone files on June 29, 2014. Verisign utilizes our own proprietary process for classifying websites, which results in similar classifications to those by EURid. The primary difference is that the Verisign classification method is machine-based and is evaluated for each domain independently, while the EURid approach leveraged samples that humans classified.
Guest Post from Ramon Ray – Smallbiztechnology
For any company doing business today, a website is far more than a way to promote products and services. With a consumer market that heavily relies on the internet for everything from directions to reviews, any small business that has not yet set up an online presence could be missing out on a gold mine of potential customers. In fact, Shop.org projects online holiday sales to increase between 13 and 15 percent to as much as $82 billion during the months of November and December this year, and the U.S. Commerce Department reported that final Q4 (October – December) e-commerce sales in 2012 increased 15.7 percent.
Today, people often turn to the internet first for information about businesses and products – whether they are shopping online, or simply looking for a business’ address or phone number – making an online presence one of the most important assets for any business; not just to share information, but to build credibility.
Consumers are looking to connect with companies more than ever, and establishing an online presence through a website, blog or social channels provides a great way to fulfill this desire. But there are still many small businesses lacking an online presence, effectively hanging a closed sign up for their potential customers.
To understand the benefits, barriers and preferences for creating an online presence, Verisign recently worked with Merrill Research to conduct a global survey of 1,050 small businesses with an online presence about their experiences and gained some interesting insights.
Many small businesses know the importance of having an online presence, but are not ready to build and support a website for their business. Instead, a trend we have seen growing in the last couple of years is companies redirecting their social media or e-commerce site to a domain name. That way, when they are ready to build a company website, they can easily leverage their existing domain name and all of the marketing assets they have no doubt included it on, like advertisements, business cards, letterhead, t-shirts, etc.