Thinking about communication with your customers as a one-way street is a recipe for disaster. Small business owners must think about engagement in different ways – in particular, how best to utilise online strategies to deliver their brand messages and find new ways to profit.
In March, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released figures showing that the number of actively trading businesses in Australia had increased by one per cent between June 2013 and June 2014. According to the ABS’s David Skutenko, the Counts of Australian Businesses report showed there were just over 2.1 million actively trading businesses in Australia in June 2014.
This is great news for the Australian economy, but may cause concern for businesses operating in the same or similar sectors.
How does a business stand above its competitors?
“Small businesses have an advantage over larger businesses in that they are all about providing personalised service that helps them build solid relationships with their customers,” says Marc Cowper, founder of business networking start-up Recomazing.
“Business owners are also well aware that the majority of their new business comes from friend recommendations. In fact, 82 per cent of small business owners say the majority of their new business comes from friend recommendations (SB Mantra Report 2013).”
In which case you need a memorable product, service, website and a domain that stands out and is easily recalled. Let’s look at the domain in particular and the ways to use your domain as a brand to build profitability into the business.
1. Sell yourself as an expert
Use your online presence to sell your expertise. For instance, copywriter Robert P. Baker uses his chemistry and technology background as a unique selling proposition (USP).
What is your USP? Using a domain that spells out exactly what you do and where you do it, like www.sciencecopywriting.sydney, makes clear your area of expertise and where you operate.
2. Use your domain to kickstart your social media strategy
A domain name should be the digital asset that underpins your entire online presence.
Whether you use Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or a different social media platform, you can use your domain to reach the vast number of people who use social media as their source of news, reviews and information. If your domain is www.bestcafe.melbourne, make it your Facebook name as well. This will generate likes, shares and word of mouth. The power of social media, when used properly, can help expand any business.
3. Make your domain name discoverable
Are you relying on traffic from search engines for people to find you? If so, then you should use real words and relevant industry terms in your domain name. Something like www.childcare.melbourne would definitely increase your search ranking.
4. Help your customers achieve their goals
A domain name that clearly defines the goals of the company and how you can help your customers solve their problems is a great investment. For instance, www.rarecollectiblecomics.sydney will have every Sydney comic book aficionado banging on your door.
5. Make your domain your brand
A great domain name can become a brand unto itself, in fact it is one of your most important brand assets. You want something unique; something that perpetuates an emotional connection as many of the best brands do.
When a group of entrepreneurs decided to host a giant water slide through the streets of Melbourne, they registered the domain www.slide.melbourne. They then marketed the event under the name ‘Slide.Melbourne’ (pronounced “slide-dot-Melbourne”). The company name and web address worked in perfect harmony to create a brand, the brand experience and to make sure the event was easily found online.
It is imperative for small businesses to find ways to stand out from their competitors – and they can do this through the effective use of domain branding.