Today, the Internet influences nearly every aspect of the way business is transacted, so it is crucial for any business – especially small businesses – to have an online identity that generates visibility and credibility for your brand. Approximately 50 percent of small businesses have come across inaccurate reviews of their business, according to research from Constant Contact. This is why SMBs must educate themselves on establishing their businesses online, owning their online presence and the messaging associated with it.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, 99.7 percent of all employer firms are small businesses, and there are more than 20 million small businesses in the country. Small businesses provide 55 percent of all jobs, and have consistently created more than 60 percent of net new jobs since 1993. SMBs play a huge role in strengthening the national and local economy, which is why it’s so important to support them. This is where organizations like SCORE can help.
Verisign has joined with SCORE, a nonprofit organization that offers free mentoring services to American small business entrepreneurs, to create resources small businesses can use to build their online presence. SCORE is dedicated to educating and helping small businesses succeed, and within the last year helped its small business clients generate 19.4 billion in revenue. As part of its mission to grow small businesses across America, one business at a time, SCORE independently offers online counseling services, tools, in-person workshops and more than 300 chapters across the United States to join for help.
Check out our Online Presence Toolkit, one of the resources provided by Verisign and located on SCORE’s website, which includes:
· eGuide: 3 Tips for Building a Free Website
The goal of our May 30 webinar, Online Presence Options for Today’s Small Business, was to equip small business owners with the information needed to determine which online presence strategy is right for them. We discussed three options small businesses can leverage: professional email using a branded domain name, web forwarding to an alternative web presence such as social media, and creation of a business website. Each of these is important for establishing an online presence, and gaining credibility and exposure to prospective customers.
You can register for the next Verisign sponsored webinar, Branding Your Business Online, here. It will take place on July 2 at 1 p.m. EST. The one hour webinar will discuss why it is critical the business you’ve built is represented online in the way you want. More than 91 percent of consumers turn to the Internet for information about businesses and products, and this webinar will teach you the key steps in branding your business online1. It will cover the top tips and trends of choosing and using the right domain name (or names!), and how to leverage social media, websites and other tools in order to build an online presence that positively represents your business and allows customers easy access to the information they want
Any SMB can use these tools to their benefit, whether they are just starting to establish their business online and need to buy a domain name, or want to expand their online presence by redirecting their social media sites to their website
In addition to our SCORE sponsorship, small business owners can find additional small business resources on Verisign’s Small Business Advisor, which provides tools to help small businesses make the best choices when building and growing their online presence.
It is nearly impossible to avoid having an online presence in today’s world. With approximately 85 percent of consumers using the Internet on a weekly basis to find businesses, the Internet is often the first place people turn to when looking for information about a business or product. Whether small businesses have an official corporate website, or they are listed on a local review site like Yelp.com, it is important for small business owners to be proactive and create and control the best online presence possible.