Digital Main Street Partner Spotlight: How CIRA keeps Canadian SMBs connected with .CA domains
The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA), is proud to be building a secure and resilient internet for Canadians through its .CA domain registry, grant programs, and cybersecurity services. As a non-profit organization, CIRA builds programs, products, and services that leverage the internet’s offerings for all Canadians. Through CIRA’s partnership with Digital Main Street, small business owners in the ShopHERE Powered by Google Program have exclusive access to free .CA domain registration.
How does CIRA work to support small businesses?
CIRA provides a safe, secure and reliable .CA domains that will tell your customers at a glance that you are a local Canadian business. As a nonprofit, proceeds from every .CA sold are reinvested directly into the Canadian internet community through our Community Investment Program.
Since September 2020, CIRA has been providing free .CA domains to Canadian businesses and artists that are building websites through our partnership with Digital Main Street’s ShopHERE powered by Google program. Starting a business is a labour of love, passion and determination, and we want to make sure that small businesses have the tools they need to succeed online.
What changes have you seen this year with respect to SMBs and digital adoption?
Despite the pandemic, we have seen unprecedented growth for .CA and the domain industry at large. The closure of physical stores meant that small businesses across the country needed to pivot online to survive. In addition, we saw a tremendous increase in customers’ desire to shop and support local shops as they faced the financial consequences of the lockdowns and restrictions. Businesses are more and more embracing their local roots and proudly declaring their businesses Canadian with .CA website.
Are there any trends you would want to make sure an SMB owner was paying attention to?
The pivot to digital is now permanent, but as businesses start to welcome customers back in person, it is important to combine both in-store and online experiences into one seamless experience for your customers. Get to know what they want, ask them what they liked about the various new go-to-market strategies that they experienced during the pandemic (curbside pickup, digital delivery, etc.) and keep them even when your business opens up its storefront again.
While social media platforms are critical for reaching new customers, never rely too much on any one platform and always use your website as the hub of your digital activity. Don’t be scared to explore new platforms but make sure you tailor your message and delivery for each unique audience.
What is one piece of advice above and beyond anything mentioned that you would want to provide for SMB's generally.
Digital is here to stay; it is no longer a pivot. The best way to ensure the success of your business is with a website you own and control and a brand that tells your customers that you are from their community and share their values.