With 90 percent of Australian households being internet-enabled, having a presence online provides SMBs with the opportunity to increase exposure and lead generation.
Despite the large number of Australians using the internet, businesses across the country have been slow to respond with only 15 percent of SMBs having a digital business strategy.
Research has shown that three quarters of SMBs with a website reported that their online presence improved the effectiveness of their business. With this in mind, it’s alarming that so many SMBs are still apprehensive about entering the online world.
Let’s take a look at what’s stopping them.
Overcoming your nerves
Don’t worry about being flashy, or having the most ‘bells and whistles’ on your website – my advice is to start simple. Don’t be intimidated by the online world. Instead, think of the opportunities it creates – a new channel for potential customers to find you, a new way to communicate and promote your products and services, and above all, a way to attract customers and build loyalty.
By simply being visible online, you’ve overcome the first and only hurdle you’ll face in the digital world. With your business on the World Wide Web, potential and existing customers now have a one-stop resource for anything they may need from your business.
If you’re still apprehensive about entering the digital world, digital marketing products such as Sensis’ SiteSmart offer a great solution to take care of all of your website creation needs.
How to start – 5 steps to maximise your online presence
1. Brand your website like you would your van
While SMBs are comfortable with branding their vehicles with their business name, logo and contact number, it’s often an overlooked aspect of being online. Websites provide the perfect opportunity for SMBs to control and customise the way they want their business to be seen – so ensure that all of the content on your website is how you want to portray your business to potential customers, and is consistent with how you would communicate in the real world.
2. Be mobile friendly
When creating a website, make sure it is mobile friendly and able to be adequately viewed on all of the latest smartphones – this includes ensuring your website is accessible via tablet devices such as the iPad.
3. Don’t forget about Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
The content on your website plays an important role in ranking your website on search engines such as Google and Bing. The information on your website is searchable, meaning the more rich and relevant content you publish (i.e. photos and videos); the more likely you are to appear higher on the list when a consumer searches a keyword relating to your business. There are also products available like Sensis’ ClickManager that can assist you in ensuring your business’ website is ranking as highly as possible.
4. Set some clear objectives and measure your results
One of the major apprehensions for SMBs is the cost involved with creating a website. In order to keep track of your investment in the digital world, make sure you set some clear objectives about what you want from your website. Use these objectives to measure your results every three to six months.
As the online world continues to evolve, you should continue to trial, test and adjust your online presence as you become more familiar and comfortable with the space. If something is working, stick with it, if something isn’t working, get rid of it and try again.