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Maximise return on marketing investment

Thousands of small and medium businesses happily spend several thousand dollars on a Yellow Pages advertisement every year.

For a fraction of the money you can spend on being in traditional media such as this, you can establish a web presence.

Firstly, register your own domain name.

I cringe every time I am handed a business card with an email address something like: davesplumbing@xtra.co.nz or (worse) davesplumbing@hotmail.com.

You can instantly lend your business professionalism and credibility by buying your own domain name (eg, yourbusiness.co.nz). This makes your email address, and any email communication you send out, a marketing tool.

No longer are you advertising for Orcon, Xtra, ihug, Hotmail, etc, when giving out your email address.

You can get a domain name and managed domain email box for less than $5 per month.

Secondly, have a website developed. A whole generation of young adults who are extremely computer literate are now in the workforce. If they are anything like I am, then the first stop when they are trying to find goods and services, is Google.

Off the top of my head I have searched for the following things online in the last month: a hairdresser, a mechanic, parts for my mountain bike, a music store in the Takapuna/Northcote area and a drycleaner.

With recent studies showing that up to 70 per cent of purchases are now researched online, can you afford to not have some kind of web presence?

A professional website can cost less than an advertisement in the Yellow Pages, and generally the effective lifetime of your website is a lot longer than one year.

Of course, there are businesses for whom a website would not be a sensible investment. For example, it is unlikely that a dairy or corner store would benefit from a web presence. However, these types of business are now in the minority.

All small businesses should be looking at their marketing spend and seriously considering devoting some of that spend to establishing an online presence.

Duncan Blair is marketing manager at Orcon Internet, see www.orcon.net.nz.