SMALL and medium enterprises (SMEs) are encouraged to have online presence to ensure sustained growth of their business as thousands of new users continue to go online each month, according to an internet marketing expert.

Denise Halagueña, Google Philippines’ head of ads marketing for large customers, said the online world is the new venue for small firms to drive business and revenue growth.

She said it is not just a matter of staying online but also about knowing the customers and how they act and behave digitally.

To effectively use the Internet, businesses must make sure they are relevant. But being relevant entails firms providing details that will lead to action, such as putting the address and business hours prominently and including the telephone number of the physical shop online so that people can just click on the button and call, said Halagueña.

She suggested using Google My Business, a free business tool that small companies can use to create a business profile that shows up on both Google Search and Google Maps.

She also shared other interesting outcomes from researches and studies done by the company.

One of these is that “intent”— “the deep-seated interest that people act on”— is now a better indicator of consumer behavior than “identity.”

She pointed out that gender stereotypes are no longer effective in identifying buyers.

Citing Google’s studies, Filipino internet users have more than doubled in the past five years.

Of the 106 million population, 76 million Filipinos are now online, each spending an average of 10 hours per day.

In terms of spending habits, Halagueña said 74 percent of Filipinos who are online, do a research first prior to purchasing an item and make about six searches on average before actually making a decision or action to buy. (PHILEXPORT NEWS AND FEATURES)