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If you’re new to the small business space, getting online is not always the most intuitive process. For startups and small businesses, time, money, and energy are often hard to come by, and resources are easily wasted when there’s no firm plan in place.

As a Small Business Saturday Official Supporter, we are committed to providing our customers with the resources needed to successfully get their businesses up and running. From a deep selection of affordable domain names, to hosting plans and email packages tailored to our small business customers, we strive to make the “get online” process simple and smooth.

Follow our guide below to stay on track with what you’ll need to grow your small business successfully.

Get Online.

If you don’t have a website, it’s imperative you get one. If you have a brick and mortar store, that’s great, but short of driving to your actual location, how will your customers know where you’re located, your store hours, your phone number, or what you offer?

It does not take much to build a website. Go to Domain.com and search for your ideal name. With over 200+ domain extensions available, you won’t have to settle for anything but exactly what you want. You will also need web hosting to get your site up and running and email to better brand your business. W
e have a 24/7 support team on standby ready to help. And if you don’t think you can do it yourself, consider hiring a freelance web developer or graphic designer to assist you with getting started.

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Marketing Matters.

Once your website is up and running, you’ll need to direct traffic there. Pay Per Click (PPC) ads work well, but they can be expensive and require constant tweaking. Local radio or TV spots are also effective, but if there’s no room in that market, consider social media as an alternative. Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, and Google+ pages are all great ways to help you to be seen and heard online.

According to an early 2014 study conducted by LinkedIn, 81 percent of small businesses use social media and 91 percent of those businesses use it for marketing purposes[1]. If done properly, your social media efforts will drive customers to your business. Start small with frequent, relevant posts and get bolder as your become more comfortable with the space. Giveaways, contests, and social media-only sales are great ways to generate interest and build a fan base.

Grand Opening.

If your small business is new (or even if it just feels like a good time to reconnect with customers), don’t be afraid to make a splash with a party at your store or office. If your budget doesn’t include room for a big event, offer a discount coupon or promotion to generate buzz. If your business does not offer a tangible product available for purchase, invite prospective customers and clients to an open house. Provide light snacks and drinks, and hold a raffle drawing for attendees who sign up for your mailing list.

If your small business is online only, you can still participate. Upload a celebratory banner to your homepage and invite customers to send in photos and testimonials. Consider doing a data mine of your base to determine the city or region that you’re most popular in and invite customers to a local meet-up at a bar or restaurant.

Follow Through and Follow Up.

Now that you’ve done the work to get customers to your website, through your door, and purchasing your products or services, don’t be afraid to reach out. One-on-one interactions go a long way when establishing lasting connections. A customer is more likely to remember a positive experience when it’s coupled with a friendly face or voice.

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Small Business Saturday is a reminder to all of us that there are local alternatives to the giant retail outlets and businesses that we see and shop at daily. American Express does a great job rallying neighborhoods and businesses to participate, and they offer free marketing materials to small businesses to attract customers. Our Domain.com team members plan to #ShopSmall on #SmallBizSat November 29, and we hope you do too.

If you’re a small business still looking to get online, use coupon code SBS2014 at Domain.com and save 20% on new domain names, web hosting packages, and email plans. This offer ends on Nov. 30, so don’t wait!

[1] http://mashable.com/2014/02/13/linkedin-social-media-study/