Not every small business in Vermont is in a position to invest thousands of dollars in a new website, but in today’s marketplace, where a web presence is an essential part of doing business, what’s the alternative?
The answer might just be Google.
Free Business Website & Internet Marketing Tools from Google
Google rolled out its new Vermont Get Your Business Online program in August 2011 with local events taking place across the Green Mountain State. If you haven’t heard of Get Your Business Online (GYBO), don’t worry; you may have missed the events, but the program is going strong.
Here are some of the benefits it’s bringing to Vermont small businesses:
- Free customizable website, Free domain name, and Free domain registration for 1 year
- Free local business listing on Google Places for Business (read my step-by-step How to Claim Your Free Google Places listing article)
- Free business email powered by Google Apps
- Additional marketing opportunities
Here’s a video montage from Vermont GYBO events (the first participant interviewed is your truly):
Why Does Google Want to Help Vermont Businesses Get Online?
According to Google’s website, www.VermontGetOnline.com:
“Vermont Get Your Business Online is a Google-led program dedicated to helping to drive economic growth by providing Vermont local businesses the tools and resources to get online and succeed.”
These web-related statistics were shared at the GYBO event in Burlington, VT:
- 62% of small businesses do not have a web presence (consumers can’t find them!)
- 97% of consumers use the internet to research products before buying
- 60% of consumers use search engines for online shopping
- 20% of searches contain local intent (people are looking for local businesses!)
Translation: More and more consumers and businesses are using the internet to research and purchase products and services, often from local businesses. But only 38% of small businesses have a web presence to take advantage of all this potential traffic.
I’ve tried to research what percentage of small and midsized business are online, and I’ve never seen a number as low as 38%. However, even at 50% (which is roughly the number I’ve seen most often), it would be a shame to have so many SMBs unable to connect with consumers online.
That’s the situation Google is trying to address.
What’s your experience?
If you’re a Vermont business owner, it would be valuable to hear your thoughts on this subject.
- What challenges or barriers are you facing?
- Are you trying to get online?
- Are you already online?
- Struggling, succeeding?
- What support do you need with Internet Marketing and Advertising in order to succeed on the web?
Share your story below or on Facebook.