Sunday , 3 July 2022

How to Grow Your Local Business Online

Growing possibilities, customers and profits is real, if you venture online, says owner of Thinkwerx, Kelso Brennan. The entrepreneur, whose two businesses, Thinkwerx and 310-SIGN, grew in 2015, while many other businesses felt the unsteady waves of the economy, contributes a lot of his businesses’ success to the online world. A world where the customer base is limitless and growth is possible; no matter the economy.

“The fact is, the phone book is dead,” Brennan explains why you need to be online, “97 percent of Canadians use the internet. Canadians have one of the highest internet uses in the world. That’s 33 million people using the internet.” Brennan refers to another study, done by Google, that shows 85 percent of people use the internet to find addresses, contact information, and general information about companies. So if you’re not part of it, you’re really missing out on a huge market and really a convenience, for most people to find your business information online.”

 Not only are a greater percentage of Canadians online than the citizens of most other countries, but they spend more time there, as well. A recent ComScore study puts Canadians in the number 1 spot, at 45 hours per month, almost double the global average. And with their number of online hours increasing every year, Canadians are spending more and more time on social networking and entertainment sites, like YouTube and Facebook, which now account for the most popular content online. – Canadian Internet Registration Authority

Even small shops can benefit from being online, and it’s not that time-consuming or frustrating to get started. Thinkwerx will take the set-up stress away and you’ll be surprised at how easy it is, promises Brennan. “I think some people have a preconceived idea that design or web-development is a really costly thing. But it’s not.” When you consistently advertise, in traditional manners on radio or print, once you stop your advertising the awareness is gone. Whereas a website is more like a billboard, it’s there and on display for a long time. “It’s a one-time fixed-cost, an investment in your small business,” explains Brennan, “and it’s a pretty low-cost. It may seem higher, but if you were to break it up over 12 months, like you would a newspaper ad, doing a website might effectively be cheaper.”

There are some free services out there, but they don’t come with the professionalism Thinkwerx offers. “If you have the know-how, it’s great to do that,” Brennan says the average person is likely unsure, or unaware of their skills. With a website doubling as a marketing tool, you want your business to display a professional look, a brand. And when investing in the branding of your company; you go to branding experts, Thinkwerx.

“I built my first website when I was 12, for a local customer.” Web design is a passion, Brennan reminisces about his first site, “it was a long time ago, Rocky Creek Quarter Horses. The owner had heard there was a ‘Wiz Kid’ who could put your stuff online. This was in the early 90s, and he was getting phone calls from Texas and Nevada, with people wanting to buy his quarter horses because we had put this simple website together.”

Just to have any presence online opens you up to such a bigger market. – Kelso Brennan owner Thinkwerx

Thinxwerx will teach you how to use your site once it’s designed. The site will be very user-friendly, assures Brennan. Thinkwerx is like an architect and home builder, once they’re done the design and build, they won’t just give you the keys and run. They will show you how the faucets work, how to maintain the appliances and when to change the furnace filter. When they’re sure you know how to work everything, they let you live in the home. Essentially, it’s your site and you own it, you will have the ability and knowledge to make changes or to add to your site without having to send requests for changes to a third-party. It allows real-time maintenance and updates. If you’re uncomfortable with all that freedom, Thinkwerx will be on call to help you with any changes or maintenance needed to the site, as well.

“Thinkwerx employs a computer engineer and university graduates that take care of things that are beyond what you can normally see, like search presence. Search presence on Google is very important. Think of your website as real estate, a very high foot traffic location would be very comparable to having a high Google search presence,” explains Brennan. “They talk about location, location, location; well the same thing applies to website.”

We can help get your business to the top! -Kelso Brennan owner Thinkwerx

The success of Thinkwerx and 310-SIGN has a lot to do with web presence; especially 310-SIGN. “We started 310-SIGN two years ago, and its primary purpose was to be an online company and attract customers from all over. Initially, we thought all over Alberta, but it turned out we were attracting customers from all over Canada, and we even attracted customers from the United States. We had a staff of only four or five people, a very small group, but delivering very big results.”

Our first year, when we went online, we sold more than $1,000,000. 80% of our business was coming from outside our trading area. Physical location has become more of an irrelevant factor to business, in many regards. -Kelso Brennan owner 310-SIGN

Some industries, like oilfield servicing or trucking, may not initially see the benefit of being online. “A lot of the decision makers are in Calgary, they want to know about the services before they come to do a particular project. If they can’t find your information, they’re going to go to the other guy, that they can find. I guarantee you, they’re not opening up a phone book or the local newspaper.”

“We understand that in most cases, you’re busy running your business,” Brennan explains their team helps take the stress out of the set-up by giving a personal touch to technology. “We offer content writing services and help you edit your business description. We like to get together and get to know you and your business. Really, a half hour or one hour session, there’s not that big of a time commitment involved.” Brennan encourages you to stop in at Thinkwerx to meet the design team, on main street Bonnyville.


About Jena Colbourne

Jena Colbourne is the owner of Connected Media Inc. o/a Lakeland Connect. As a founding member of the Lakeland Connect team, Jena oversees the content creation of the website and its social media presence. Armed with a marketing, management and communications background Jena enjoys the creative aspects of Lakeland Connect, as such she is able to navigate the online world with ease.

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