TORONTO – Thanks to their Superbowl ads with celebrities like auto racer Danica Patrick, most people know that GoDaddy offers domain registration for individuals and small businesses. Now GoDaddy is looking to go deeper with its small business customers by adding email marketing and search engine visibility to its offerings.

At a press event on Thursday, James Carroll, GoDaddy’s executive vice-president international, and Jill Schoolenberg, vice-president for Canada, outlined GoDaddy’s aggressive international expansion plans and how its small business customers can leverage the new services to complement their existing GoDaddy offerings.

According to Carroll, GoDaddy is the largest domain registrar in the world, with 13 million paying customers and over 60 million domains under management. The company also offers web site creation and management tools to help a small business get online.

“It starts with a great domain for your business, and all the services you need to search for, register and manage your domain,” said Carroll. “We provide all the tools you need to make your domains come to life and build your web site.”

For years GoDaddy was primarily focused on the U.S., but Carroll said it launched an international strategy three years ago after seeing a global need from small businesses, many of which were accessing its U.S. web site. It internationalized its offerings with localization around language and currency and expanded into several key strategic markets, including Canada. Today GoDaddy is in 37 countries and 17 languages with more to come, and are the largest registrar of .ca domains by market share, according to Carroll.

“Canada for GoDaddy is both a strategic and a priority market,” said Carroll.

Part of the Canadian expansion has been recently bringing Schoolenberg, a former Microsoft Canada, onboard as country manager. GoDaddy’s definition of small business and midmarket – one to five employees and 10 more respectively – is a lot different than Microsoft’s, but with 55 per cent of Canadian SMBs in that micro business niche that is GoDaddy’s sweet spot, she sees a lot of opportunity in Canada.

“What blows us away is the idea that 60 per cent of Canadian SMBs don’t have a web site,” said Schoolenberg, referring to research the company released last week. “But the optimism is that one third plan to build one in the next two years, and newer businesses are going online.”

Schoolenberg added the survey question didn’t define web site so, if a particular business considers their Facebook page their web site, they could have answered yes on this question.

One thing the survey of Canadian SMbs highlighted was the need for help with search engine optimization – 70 per cent didn’t know what it was, but felt they needed it.

That’s one of the needs the new services launched by GoDaddy this week is aiming to meet. The new services include:

  • Personal Domains: A domain name can now be easily directed to a social media profile, such as Facebook, Etsy and YouTube.
  • Email Marketing: New tool allows small businesses to create email marketing campaigns integrated with their other GoDaddy products and with built-in features for CASL compliance.
  • Search Engine Visibilty: Helps with SEO with easy to follow steps for beginners to analyze a web site and identify keywords that can improve its search ranking, and how content updates can influence search results.

The email marketing tools will be integrated with GoDaddy’s online store e-commerce suite, allowing businesses to stay in touch with customers, manage contacts and move prospects through the sales funnel.

The new offerings move GoDaddy into new markets and put it up against new competition, such as email marketing platforms Constant Contact and MailChimp. Schoolenberg said GoDaddy’s advantage is the growing breadth of its portfolio of SMB services.

“Integration is important across all our products,” said Schoolenberg.

Carroll added the one-stop shop is compelling for small businesses, who can now work with GoDaddy from domain registration and web suite build and hosting through to online store, email marketing and more. He also points to their customer care team as a key differentiator for small business customers.

“There’s no trying to get someone off the phone,” said Carroll. “Our customer care team will stay as long as needed to help you, walk you through what’s suitable for your business, how to use the services and use them well.”

The customer support team got an enthusiastic review from Andreas Antoniou, managing partner of Beacon Restaurant Concepts, which includes Toronto restaurants like Los Colibris and El Caballito.

“GoDaddy has the best customer support – better than AMEX – I don’t think I’ve ever been put on hold,” said Antoniou. “It lets me focus on the business and not the tech problem.”

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