Chris Iannuccilli, director of marketing for Google Inc., is a native Rhode Islander. He joined Google with over 30 years of brand-building marketing experience, starting at the Providence-based firm Duffy & Shanley.
Iannuccilli helped coordinate the Rhode Island Get Your Business Online event, a Google-led event held on Monday, June 11 at the Providence Convention Center.
The event included workshops that provided local businesses with fast, easy and free ways to build a website, as well as tips to build a strong web presence and online “searchability”
PBN: What exactly was the Rhode Island Get your Business Online event?
Iannuccilli:We’ve partnered with Intuit to help small businesses get a free website and learn how to grow and expand by using the web. To raise awareness about the program, which will run for a year, we held a series of workshops in Providence to show small businesses how to claim their free website and learn tips on how to build a stronger online presence. All of this is on RhodeIslandGetOnline.com, so if you know a small-business owner who needs a website or advice on building a stronger online presence tell them to check it out.
PBN: What kind of turn out did you get from the Rhode Island event and how did it compare to that of other events in neighboring states?
Iannuccilli:We’ve been overwhelmed by the response we’ve had both here and other states. In Providence, more than 200 small businesses -- from veterinarians to property managers to jewelers – joined us. We were also really impressed by how supportive local elected officials have been. Rhode Island is the only state we’ve been to where all their members of Congress came out to support local businesses learning how to get online.
PBN: Why is it so important for small businesses to have a proper website?
Iannuccilli:Small businesses need to be online because that’s where their customers are, it’s as simple as that. Today, 97 percent of Americans look online for local products and services, but 58 percent of small businesses don’t have a website or online presence.
PBN: Why did Google make the decision to cover the cost of the domain name and hosting for an entire year?
Iannuccilli:Google search is all about connecting people with what they’re looking for and that’s often a good florist, bakery or tailor.
We’ve found a lot of local businesses aren’t online because they think it’s hard, costly or too time-consuming but it’s not. This program is designed to make it fast, easy and free to your business online.
PBN: What advice do you have to small business owners who might not be tech-savvy about the web and their business?
Iannuccilli:It’s easier than you think! There are a lot of good resources out there to help small businesses build a web presence. At our site, www.RhodeIslandGetOnline.com, you can get:
A free, easy-to-build Intuit website.
Free customized domain name.
Free web hosting for one year.
Free tools, resources, and trainings.
Getting your business online is one of the easiest and most effective things you can do to help grow your business.