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What do your online communications say about your business?

According to Google, 85% of use search to find local business – so the first impression you make online is key.

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Searching for a business online is one of the most common ways customers find companies to help them solve a problem or find what they're looking for. And it's not just big businesses, according to Google, 85% of use search to find local business – so the first impression you make online is key. Recent research by telecoms company TalkTalk has revealed that small changes to a company's digital identity – including email and web addresses or phone numbers – could result in significantly more business opportunities for SMEs. Website The study underlined the importance of SMEs being online, with 80% of consumers saying they'd expect smaller businesses to have a website. Businesses in professional services had the highest expectation on them to have a site, but more than half of consumers said they'd also expect tradespeople and local shops to be online now. This is important when you take into account the fact that nearly half of consumers said they'd prefer to use a website as the first point of call to find out more information on a small business. Even a simple website with your contact details can ensure you don't miss out on these enquiries. Consumers also suggested that they found the co.uk web suffix most reliable, reputable and professional. Email addresses It may seem like a small thing, but customers also form an opinion about a company based on its email address format alone. Name@ addresses were seen as the most approachable, while firms using free domain names were seen as unprofessional. Phone numbers When it comes to the phone numbers you display on your website and other marketing materials, 55% of customers said they would rather dial a local number compared to only 14% who use a freephone number. Mobile numbers can make you seem more accessible, but they're not used as much, so having a couple of different options to phone you should cover all bases. To find out how the Forum of Private Business can help you grow your business and save money on telecoms, call us now on 0845 130 1722.

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