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Benefits of Focused Online Search Plentiful for Church Business Professionals

The typical Internet user visits Google, Yahoo or MSN on a daily basis to find virtually anything they need. From research to shopping, these search engines have evolved into an important informational source for the average online consumer.

Church business professionals searching for products and services that help them run their churches are no different. In an updated survey by Enquiro, it was revealed that over 90 percent of B2B buyers researched their purchases online. Unfortunately, many of these buyers are becoming frustrated with sub par search results and are forced to abandon their search after sifting through pages and pages of irrelevant results. A recent study conducted by Outsell reports a 31.9 percent failure rate among business users when researching topics using the major Internet search engines.

In recent years, traditional search engines have become highly commercialized. Pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns allow large corporations to bid on keywords, leaving some of the more relevant search results buried on page five or six. In addition, Google's and Yahoo's algorithms place sites higher on the results scale depending on the number of other sites that link to them. Essentially, if companies solicit enough link exchanges, their site ranks higher than more relevant sites.

Online Supplier Directories (OSDs) are emerging as the preferred method of searching within the business sector. Unlike traditional search engines, OSDs focus on a small niche of products and services, producing extremely relevant search results for the end user. OSDs such as NACBA's service a specific industry and are designed to fit the specific buying needs of the industry they serve.

"General search engines are leaving business professionals with much to be desired," said Dan Maitland, president of Irving, Texas-based MultiView Inc., a technology company that publishes OSDs and E-News Briefs for the Association community. "Having one online place to search for products and services relevant to your industry makes running your business easier."

For church business professionals, the Ultimate Guide to Church Suppliers offers a quick convenient portal to find, research and purchase resources that are appropriate to the Christian community. Accessed from the , the guide allows users to conduct keyword searches, category searches, or even location searches. The results returned are always the most relevant to the industry.

The advantages of an industry specific online search environment go beyond those presented to buyers. It also provides a cost-effective directional advertising alternative for businesses that want to sell to a particular industry. There's an old saying that says, "Running a business in the dark might be exciting, but it's not very wise, because no one, except you, knows your doing it." The sensibility of this statement seems self-evident, but sometimes it's surprising to note that there are still many companies who continue to do so by failing to communicate effectively to their potential customers.

In a technology-driven world where different modes of communication have flourished and diversified, it's more important than ever for businesses to ensure their message - their unique selling proposition - is getting to the right people quickly and efficiently. In other words, "turn on a light" so people can see what you're doing.

The traditional methods for communicating a business message seem to be failing or at least losing efficacy. Newspapers have witnessed steady declines in readership over the last few years and this has resulted in diminished ad revenue - down from over 11 percent in 2004 to less than 4 percent now. Printed phone books continue to be produced, but every year the popularity and use of online phone directories increases.

Two main reasons for the deceleration of print advertising are cost and tracking. Traditional print advertising tends to be more expensive than online advertising overall and print cannot be tracked with the same accuracy as online advertising. With online methods a company can quickly analyze click-through numbers and Web site traffic, to gain a clear picture of what is and isn't working.

Another issue with print advertising is the inability to update or correct mistakes immediately. When a printed advertisement or directory needs a change, it requires a complete re-printing which is neither cost effective nor logistically practical. Online content, on the other hand, can be updated within seconds, with relatively no added cost.

Accessed by key decision makers from many diverse industries, advertising in online supplier directories like the Ultimate Guide to Church Suppliers can have a significant impact on a businesses' success. For a small administrative fee, a company can prominently display their company logo, offer complete contact information, and provide a detailed company description and profile page. It also serves as a direct link for buyers to search your Web site and offers a Request For Information (RFI) functionality for direct communication or bids between buyer and seller.

If you'd like to take a closer look at the Ultimate Guide to Church Suppliers, go to: www.ultimatechurchsuppliersguide.com.


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Ben Maitland, Director of Advertising Sales
972.402.7025

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To contribute news to the NACBA Weekly Update, contact Colby Horton, Director of Media and Content, 972.402.7001.

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