A new day online for small businesses

An interview with a really smart guy

Editor’s note: We recently sat down to chat with Rene Reinsberg, a really smart guy who heads up GoDaddy’s Discovery Marketing Products team, about the online landscape for small businesses today and what it takes to get found on the Web. Here’s what he had to say.

Q: How would you describe the online landscape for today’s small businesses?

A: There’s never been a better time for a small business to establish an online presence. Most business owners use Facebook® or Google® daily, and they’ve helped bring people online as consumers who are now ready to use the Internet for their business — which previously wasn’t the traditional route to start up a business. Now, it’s one of the best and most affordable ways to get your business started. People are now learning how easy it is to get online because they’ve learned how to use the Internet in their personal lives. The lack of awareness has gone down, eliminating that gap in the market — people feel more confident than ever managing their online business on their own.

I’m honored to work for a company that’s been instrumental in shifting the global economy towards small businesses.

Q: Then why do you think some small business owners still are hesitant to establish an online presence?

A: I think the biggest challenge for small businesses is understanding what tools and services they need. There are a lot of new services that have become available over the past few years, and we’re making it easier for business owners to find what they’re looking for by offering a wide range of products that seamlessly work with one another — creating less work for business owners.

Q: What are some keys to attracting people to your website?

A: I still see a lot of websites that aren’t optimized for attracting customers — whether they’re using flash (which isn’t a great experience on mobile devices), or the website design makes it hard to find key information like opening hours. Just based on the way the Internet has changed and the way people consume content, an outdated website that doesn’t beautifully portray the character of your business can turn customers away.

But website presence doesn’t stop with a website. The various avenues customers use to find businesses — such as Facebook, Twitter®, Yelp® and Google — really shape what a potential customer thinks about your business and whether they’ll become a customer or not. The average person looks at 2 1/2 different places before making a decision to purchase, so it’s not just your website — it’s the key apps and places that consumers search for local businesses that keep your information consistent and give you a beautiful, appealing presence.

Q: How are today’s consumers connecting with local businesses?

A: Depending on a person’s geography and demographic, they all have different preferences. Smartphones and search engines are popular sources for discovering products and services to fit their needs — and that’s what initially sparked Get Found. We wanted to give businesses a tool to make sure they’re listed with the right information everywhere their customers are looking.

Q: How does Get Found make getting found online easier?

A: We’ve made the process of getting and maintaining your content online very simple. You just fill out a profile and we’ll publish and distribute your information for you! In just a few minutes, you’ll see results. You no longer have to spend hours filling out forms — you can import menu content from other sources or by uploading a file (Word document or PDF), and our system will automatically digest it and create a menu for you. We do all the heavy lifting to take the work off your hands, so that with one click, you can publish your information.

Rene Reinsberg serves as Vice President of Emerging Products at GoDaddy. He previously was the CEO and co-founder of Locu (acquired by GoDaddy in 2013). Rene holds a diploma from WHU in Germany and an MBA from MIT. He was awarded the 2011 McGovern Entrepreneurship award, and serves as an advisor and investor to various technology startups.