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SMEs should establish a web presence before launching an online ad campaign

by Satrajit Sen

According to Namit Pandey, head, small business, Yahoo India, it is important for an SME to first establish a web presence and then go for online advertisement to reach the consumer. “Out of 35 million SMEs in India, only 3 lakh SMEs have a registered domain in the country,” Pandey said while speaking at a conference titled ‘Free for SMEs’ organised by Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) in association with IndiaMart.com in New Delhi on July 6, 2010.

by Satrajit Sen

According to Namit Pandey, head, small business, Yahoo India, it is important for an SME to first establish a web presence and then go for online advertisement to reach the consumer. “Out of 35 million SMEs in India, only 3 lakh SMEs have a registered domain in the country,” Pandey said while speaking at a conference titled ‘Free for SMEs’ organised by Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) in association with IndiaMart.com in New Delhi on July 6, 2010.

Bikky Khosla, CEO, TradeIndia.com, said that one of the biggest complaints received from international clients is that Indian exporters do not respond to queries fast enough. “We need to have a more active response system using internet. Many companies who still use free email services should have customised domain and email addresses so that buyers identify you through your website and email. It is important to have right identities and establish trust on the internet,” Khosla added.

According to Brijesh Agarwal, COO Indiamart.com, business information related to leads, markets, tenders and other information can be accessed for free on the internet through B2B marketplaces. “One can consume all the information right from the desktop and from mobile. And doing this doesn’t require more than an hour a day of focused investment of time. And if one likes the free services, one can upgrade the account,” Agarwal said.

Listing some of the free online services that SMEs could use effectively, Amarjit Batra, country manager, OLX India pointed out that classified sites, blogs, online videos, pictures, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter can help a small business reach its customers. Gautam Gandhi, manager, new business development, Google India, said that a lot of people are searching for information on mobile and hence SMEs need to be present on mobile network as well. Besides, SMEs need to be visible enough to get contacted and hence their ‘contact us’ page should have appropriate information.

Highlighting the importance of classified websites in helping small businesses grow, Pranay Chulet, CEO, Quikr, said that every month, 70 to 80 lakh people are attracted to classified websites because they are free. “Besides, classifieds have variety and the visitors have a higher and motivated purchase-intent and the classified portals are well optimised for higher search results. What SMEs need to do is regularly upgrade appropriate content saying what they have in offer and if possible upload pictures and videos,” Chulet added.

According to Hitesh Oberoi, co-founder and COO, Info Edge India, Naukri.com works with 35,000 clients every year and most of these are companies that people have never heard of. In the last five years, Naukri has worked with 75,000 small companies. Besides, 99acres.com has 5,000 brokers on board and has identified 20,000 Indian brokers who would like to go online for generating businesses.

If SMEs see results and value, they will definitely advertise and upgrade their account, Hitesh Oberoi said. He further said that the Naukri model of pay per use is a good option for SMEs to use the paid service as they can track the responses and then invest more if needed.

Dinesh Agarwal, founder and CEO, IndiaMart.com, said the need of hour is to look at innovative methods and devise ways to maximise the use of internet and technology to gain more customers and business. “Lack of awareness about the power of internet has to be overcome to adopt ICT to drive MSMEs,” Agarwal added.

Anil Bharadwaj, secretary general, Federation of Indian Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (FISME), said the use of internet and mobile technology is still in its nascent stage in India and scope of growth leveraged by ICT is immense. Dinesh Rai, secretary, ministry of micro, small and medium enterprises, government of India, earlier spoke about various schemes launched by the government to provide customised solutions to MSMEs.

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