Invest NI helps local businesses boost online sales potential

Making use of the latest online sales and marketing techniques can help local companies access new export markets and grow their revenue during the current economic downturn.

This was the focus of an Invest Northern Ireland conference today, in which leading experts from the world of online business delivered informative presentations to around 250 delegates from local companies.

Speaking at the event in the Hilton Hotel, Templepatrick, Tracy Meharg, Invest NI’s Managing Director of Innovation and Capability Development, said: “With online sales generating

£163 billion for UK business in 2007 and indications showing that the area is still growing, a large number of local companies are already tapping into the sales potential of the internet. Many, however, would like to do even more to enhance their online sales levels but are unsure how to achieve this.

“Techniques such as viral marketing, search engine optimisation (SEO) and using social networking sites can help businesses boost their online exposure and create virtual word-of-mouth advertising through emails and forums. The interest that is generated can snowball, prompting potential customers to visit a company’s website and, very often, make a purchase or visit again.”

Ms Meharg continued: “We are very pleased to have secured George Wright, Vice President of Marketing at successful US company Blendtec and an expert in viral marketing, as our keynote speaker. Blendtec implemented a particularly successful online marketing campaign which helped the company achieve a 700% increase in sales.

“Expert advice also came from specialists in SEO, pay-per-click, affiliate marketing and email marketing – all extremely useful ways of increasing a company’s online profile and reaching the biggest possible audience.”

Following the presentations, delegates participated in an interactive panel discussion with all of the guest speakers where specific queries and points of interest were addressed.