A New Way of Walking Your Fingers!
With more than 98% of Australian homes and 97% of Australian businesses (ABS 8143.0 Internet Activity, Australia Dec 2012) owning computers and using them to do the ‘walking', it is more important than ever to register with a business directory online. In number terms, there were 12.2 million Australian internet subscribers in the same index which is up a further 5% from the previous year, and there are some 10.8 million Australians go online at least once a day, which represents an increase of 8% between 2011/2012. So the message is clear, advertise on line!
If you don't already have listings on numerous online business directories you are most likely losing valuable customer calls and / or expressions of interest. According to PayPal, their 2013 forecast for Australian e-commerce is set to increase at 12.4% per annum. In dollar terms PayPal is predicting an estimated annual spend this year of A$34.8billion, up from 2011 A$29.7billion. This is significant when you consider that Australian online retail is driven predominantly by local purchases with consumers showing a preference of 70% for local purchases v’s 30% non local. According to ACMA (Australian Communications and Media Authority), Australian businesses are using the internet as a key strategy in their engagement with existing and potential customers with more than 59% of them expecting to place orders through this medium. This is not surprising when you consider that 62% of Australian internet users are likely to purchase online.
Benefits of Advertising on a Business Directory Online
- 97% of businesses in Australia use the internet, so use this cost effective technology to your advantage.
- Paid advertising sites offer more features than free sites, and remember this is your customer’s view of you, so think carefully before settling for a free listing where your listing may get lost.
- According to the ABS Catalogue 8146 – Household use of IT, we have seen internet access in Australian households increase to 98%. This is a huge market opportunity for you!
- Generally you draft and create the content and can vary it as you need – however, site flexibility varies by service provider so choose wisely.
- Convenient and usually quick to create (but prepare first). Each site will provide you with simple steps to follow in order to register.
- It will create an easy way for customers to locate you and will generally provide you with a way to communicate with your customers either directly or through communications facilities within the business directory.
- Look for directories offering 2D Bar Codes personalised for your business, as these enable your customers to easily locate you through mobile devices such as smat phones and tablets!
- Approximately 59% of businesses in Australia rely on the internet to place or receive orders. The use of a business directory online will significantly increase your chances of improving your income as you will have greater online presence.
- Good search engine rankings will ensure your business will have increased visibility and traffic. By using a business directory online, your own business website establishes links with other websites and this helps your search engine ranking, which is partly calculated by the number of inbound links to your site.
- Advertising costs are likely to be tax deductible, but this will depend on your business structure and circumstances, so seek specialist tax advice on this.
The above is not an exhaustive list, but clearly shows that listing your company on a business directory is a sound business decision.
Things to Consider When Preparing Your Online Business Directory Advertisement
Remember that you only get one opportunity to make a good first impression – so put some thought into what you say in your advert and how you present yourself. Use your logo and company branding if you have one and make it consistent with your other marketing material.
Brand loyalty will build with use of internet advertising. Find some time to investigate business directories and select a mixture of free and fee paying services.
Keep track of your advertising sites so that you can administer them and keep them up to date with your business products / goods or services. Remember that this is partly about getting your name out there, but it is also your online "shop window" for your clients and customers to look into, so present yourself well.
Tips for Creating a Good Advert
- Keep it simple and clear. Use your logo and branding images - bright colours help.
- Presentation counts so, once you've drafted your advert, review it for accuracy and make sure that it is appealing to your target market.
- Draft the wording, look and feel before you go live; if necessary ask friends, family and existing clients for feedback on your messages. Fine tune them so that you can get value from your efforts.
- Provide a call to action such as "click here to submit an enquiry".
- Choose an online business directory that allows customers to contact you directly.
- Target your market - know what messages you need to communicate to your market. It may be important to include something in your advert about what your target market is as this will make it easier for your customers to identify with you.
- Set out what your value is to the customer – ie. what differentiates you from your competitors.
- Stand out where possible. This can be done by utilising clear and succinct messages about what your business has to offer. Look at your competitors and see what they are doing so you can learn from them, but also make your business stand out. Research your competition as much as you research how to present your business, its services and/or goods.
- Get the site to work for you – if the site offers ability to upload photographs, logos and various search engine functions, then think about this when putting together your wording.
- Be honest and not misleading.