If you are a small business and still don’t have an online presence in this digital age, then you are missing out opportunities to make it big. While traditional marketing channels, such as print media and TV advertisements, are the go-to of small- and medium-sized enterprises when it comes to growing your customer base, these methods cannot measure to digital marketing’s reach and sales conversion in this digital era.
For any type and size of businesses out there, having an active digital presence can be compared to having a business card. Companies that are offline cannot fully market their product offerings and the services they provide. More so, customers nowadays tend to search for the things they need on the Internet, rather than to physically go from store to store. Research also shows that 62% of customers will stop considering a business if they can’t find any information about it online. So as long as your business is off the grid, you are losing and missing out on potential revenue and business opportunities.
Challenges for Small Business in the Effective Use of Technology
Most small businesses would say that acquiring new customers is definitely a challenging endeavor. However, you can actually attract new customers online by implementing digital marketing strategies.
A 2018 report from Telstra Business Intelligence revealed that only 50% of small businesses are online. As a matter of fact, only half of all small businesses have a website, and that number drops to 36% for sole traders. One of the reasons for this is the misconception that creating and managing a website takes a lot of time and money, and technical expertise. Truth be told, establishing an online presence is pretty simple and less expensive than you might think.
Another possible reason as to why small businesses are not equipping themselves with the right technology to acquire more customers is that they are still dependent on traditional marketing, particularly in the “word-of-mouth method.” According to statistical data, 76% of small businesses ranked word-of-mouth recommendation as the most important and most effective mode of marketing. This does not come as a surprise since only 14% of small businesses believe that technology can really boost their competitive advantage.
However, not everything is amiss — technologically wise — for small businesses in the country. 66% of these enterprises have a Facebook page, and more than three-fourths of them update their page at least once a week. Despite efforts to magnify their social media presence, business owners should bring more to the table knowing that 65% of customers visit Facebook on a daily basis.
In general, most small businesses in Australia are struggling to meet what the customers expect of them in terms of having a dynamic online presence. As a result, they are passing up opportunities to establish legitimacy and to appear in search results of prospective new customers.
How Your Business Can Gain a Foothold in Today’s Market
According to the data from Telstra, 43% of small businesses are not too keen on having a website. The main reason: time and money.
Again, I would like to reiterate what I mentioned earlier in this article. You don’t have to break your budget to set up a website, maintain it, and get ahead in the market. As Marc Tan, the General Manager of Business Applications and Systems at Telstra, pointed out, “There are entry points for every budget.” In fact, there is a variety of budget-friendly online services that are suited for small businesses. The key here is to prioritise specific areas that can satisfy what your customers want.
For instance, one area you can focus on when setting up your website is its usability. As per Telstra’s report, 89% of customers prefer company websites that are user-friendly. You should consider how you can streamline everything, from making product searches to getting to know your company’s mission and vision. Customers should also be able to book or make a purchase directly on your website. In doing so, include online payment methods, particularly PayPal as it is the preferred payment option according to a survey in the Telstra Business Intelligence Report.
Customers also want a website that can be trusted. You can level up your site’s security measures by getting an SSL certificate (https secured). Google has recently made effective from July 1st 2018, the Chrome Internet Browser will mark Non-HTPPS websites as “Not Secure”. A warning will pop up the browser warning the visitor that this site is not secure and recommending them to not proceed to the site. This could kill off you website traffic and damage your business’s reputation.
After creating a website that works and securing it, now is the time to increase its visibility through Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Customers use search engines, like Google and Yahoo, to basically look for a product or a service on the Internet. SEO works by putting your website at the top of the customer’s Google or Yahoo searches. However despite the immense digital marketing advantages that SEO brings to businesses, only 26% of small businesses are using SEO strategies and 52% have no intent on using SEO. This creates a major gap between how consumers search for products and services, and how your business is likely to be found. If your business isn’t easily found in the search engine results for relevant localized keywords, you may as well be invisible. And the searcher is only going to find your competitor instead.
Therefore, identifying relevant keywords and phrases customers might use to find a business like yours and adjusting your content and SEO optimisation on your website is so important if you want to be found online by new customers. Like any digital marketing strategy, SEO does not work like magic. Your SEO efforts will take some time before it shows progress (e.g. appearing on top of relevant keyword searches). However it is worth it if it dramatically increases your website traffic and leads to an increase in sales.
If you are looking for professionals that can assist your business in implementing an online presence, we can help. Visual Marketing Australia offers website development, SEO, PPC and other online marketing services that actually work. Get your business online today and contact us now!