Being able to be found online is nowadays an integral part for most businesses, and having the right digital assets and tools is part and parcel in that. That means developing congruent presence across all common platforms and of course SEO are fundamental. However, too many businesses seem to struggle with it, be it realising the necessity of this or understanding just how SEO and being searchable online even works.
According to the Telstra Small Business Intelligence Report out of the 2.1 million small and medium businesses in Australia a staggering 58% still don’t have a website. The report also states that 48% of customers won’t consider buying from a business unless they have an online presence. For small businesses to be invisible in the midst of the digital revolution is literally leaving money on the table, which most smaller businesses can’t afford.
After many years in the digital marketing landscape, I find it surprising that many small businesses are still not properly set up online. Running a business in today’s day and age without a presence on the internet, is not only a missed opportunity but is also a huge risk that will potentially sabotage their success.
Australia’s population has around 21.74 million active online users, that is 87 per cent of the overall population spending an average of 5 hours per day connected to the internet. With social media, Australia has over 16 million Facebook users alone plus LinkedIn, Instagram and Snapchat, spending an average of 1.5 hours per day on their preferred platform.
Not having a social media presence, a website or even just a basic ‘Google My Business’ account means that many small businesses are missing out on a massive amount of exposure and traffic. With one in three businesses not surviving the first year of trading and those that do, standing a slim chance to make it past the year five mark, it is concerning that many business owners have not invested in their online presence.
eCommerce in Australia has grown into a $32 Billion industry annually, with online purchasing growing exponentially while its brick-and-mortar counterpart continues to shrink. And, while not every business can or does sell their services or products directly online, most can find, capture and nurture prospective customers online and then convert them offline. Yet, too many small and medium businesses under-utilise this by far.
Furthermore, the PwC’s Geospatial Economic Model predicts that small businesses can unlock an additional $49.2 billion over the next decade by embracing mobile and internet technology, with over half of this destined for regional and rural Australia. This translates to around $10.6 Billion over ten years for around 200,000+ small businesses across the state of Victoria alone.
If a business fails to future-proof themselves in the Digital Age then they are likely to struggle to attract new customers. This is why for small businesses it is so important that they embrace online presence in order to thrive in the digital sphere. To do this effectively, they need the bare essentials of:
- A website that is mobile optimised & search friendly
- A Google My Business listing
- Relevant Social Media platforms set up & active
- Relevant directory listings (local business finder & review sites)
- Professional content including imagery, written & video
- A simple promotional strategy to attract new customers
While many small businesses already have a website and social media pages, all too often they rely on organic SEO and content-based search results for potential customers to find them. Due to the fast-changing digital landscape, changing consumer behaviour and ever evolving algorithms, most websites are not optimised to maximise search results. Many are also not set up to capture leads, be user friendly, or optimised for viewing on different devices. Additionally, we find that more often than not, brand congruence, content quality and keyword frequency are not there and often undermine how the business is found and perceived.
There is a grave difference between ‘having’ digital assets and actually making these work for you. Creating a strong presence across social media, search engines and the web considerably boosts target audience reach and engagement that fast-tracks the multi-touchpoint experience most customers require these days before they make a purchasing decision.
If you want to sustain or grow your business or carve out a slice of the growing online economy, then upgrading your digital footprint and utilizing SEO strategies is a must.