A New Way of Walking Your Fingers!
With more than 72% of Australian homes and 97% of Australian businesses owning computers and using them to do the ‘walking' (how some paper directory services advertised themselves), it is more important than ever to register with a business directory online.
If you don't already have listings on numerous online business directories you could be losing valuable customer calls and / or expressions of interest. Believe it or not, in 2010 some A$143bn was spent on orders generated via internet sales in Australia. Yes, A$143bn! This was an increase of 15% from the previous year and the trend is expected to continue.
Benefits of Advertising on a Business Directory Online
- 90% of businesses in Australia use the internet, so use this technology to your advantage.
- According to the ABS Catalogue 8146 – Household use of IT we have seen internet access in Australian households quadruple from 16% in 2008 to 72% in 2009 and this trend was expected to continue. This is your market opportunity!
- Use of the internet for placing orders is increasing significantly each year with approx. A$143b in Australian income arising from orders received over the internet in 2010!
- Exposure at either no cost or relatively low cost with a business directory online; you don't need to have a web presence to reap the benefits. Choose a business directory that allows you to present your services and your unique features – some are even free.
- 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 convey your important business messages to your customers.
- 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.
- Helps you to compete as it will enable your customers to compare you and see the benefits of your services. It will also let customers find you in the first place; some businesses have still not understood the importance of this advertising medium.
- 97% of businesses rely on broadband. Clearly businesses are relying on the internet generally for a variety of business interactions. It is estimated that in excess of 5 million households in Australia have internet access, and these are used on a daily basis.
- Small businesses (i.e. businesses with 0 – 4 employees) represent approximately 29% of all businesses with a web presence; this significantly increased from the previous year and is likely to be your market sector.
- Approximately 46% of businesses in Australia rely on the internet to place or receive orders. Of these, 40% are businesses with 0 – 4 employees (again, possibly your sector). Clearly, the figures are increasing and the use of a business directory online will significantly increase your chances of improving your income.
- Good search engine rankings will ensure your business will have increased visibility and traffic. By using a business directory online, or many of them, 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. The more business directories you link to, the more inbound links you will generate.
- 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.
How to Register Your Business
Listing your company takes some thought but is generally very easy and convenient. It can also be free or relatively inexpensive. Listing on one directory is not the answer through; you should register in suitable places where the directory has appeal, is easy to use, and appears to service your needs. Ideally, use directories that include ability to interact with social media (such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc).
Some sites (such as this one) will even let you chat online directly with your customers.
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.
Creating a Good Advert
- Keep it simple and clear. Use your logo and branding images - bright colours help.
- Remember that presentation counts so once you've drafted your advert, review it for accuracy but also complete the final presentation so 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" – so choose a business directory online 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.