Why 2018 is a great time to get online for small businesses

February 19, 2018

The recently conducted  2018 Telstra Small Business Intelligence Report has revealed that many small businesses are underestimating the importance of being online.

Now if you’re reading the Leadr Library there is probably a good chance you’re one of the 14% of small businesses who see technology as increasing their competitive advantage BUT if you’re still looking for a good reason to promote your business online in 2018 then the Telstra study gives some great reasons why you’re list of excuses is running out.

The study is based on two parallel surveys conducted in November 2017 of over 1000 small businesses and over 1000 consumers and reveals some very interesting insights about customer expectations of businesses and their online presence.

The main ones are listed below but the full study provides some vey interesting reading if you have time as well as some great insights.

62% of customers will stop considering a business if they can’t find information about it online.

That’s right! A whooping 62% of customers will STOP considering your business if it doesn’t have or they can’t find you’re online presence. This is why digital marketing strategies for SEM, you’re social channels and SEO are so important because they help customers find information about your business and put your product or service in front of interested customers.

While 50 per cent of small businesses say acquiring new customers is a challenge, many are missing opportunities to attract them online. Only half of all small businesses have a website, and that number drops to 36 per cent for sole traders.

65% of customers say they visit Facebook daily.

Facebook still receives high volume traffic and customers are still interested in learning more about the brands they buy or use or potentially wish to buy and use. With 40% of small businesses surveyed saying they would like a website but don’t have the time or resources to launch one, Facebook is a great stepping stone to testing your online presence and building your confidence connecting with your customers via digital platforms. Don’t have Facebook? Head to Facebook for Business to get started.

83% of customers say search is ‘important’ or ‘very important’ when finding or considering a business.

With customers valuing search tools above all else when looking for a product or service, small businesses are at risk of missing the opportunity to be found. Yet surprisingly only 26% of small businesses are investing in SEO and only 9% in SEM. If your business isn’t easily found in the search results for relevant (particularly localised) keyword searches, you may as well be invisible. And if they can’t find you, they might find your competitors instead. Both SEO and SEM are a highly effective ways for your business to appear in front of more potential customers as they actively search for what you’re offering. To find out more about both of these services offered by Leadr click here.

48% of customers shop online using mobile devices.

So having a mobile-optimised site is extremely important, for this reason and for the reason that your organic ranking on search engines are also impacted by your sites performance on mobile. If your website isn’t mobile-optimised, you’re going to have a much harder time being found by anyone using a smartphone or tablet. And if a few mobile users somehow stumble across your website, the poor experience may quickly drive them away.

67% of customers won’t consider a business with unfavourable reviews.

With 76% percent of businesses saying word of mouth is crucial to gaining new customers an understanding of where word of mouth conversations are taking place is crucial. These days word of mouth is increasingly becoming digitalised. Both SEM and paid social advertising allow businesses to promote reviews and customer advocacy in more prominent ways.

54% of customers say an up-to-date website and social media presence are important factors to keep them coming back.

Organically the best way to be visible on both social media and via search is to update both your website and social channels regularly, with relevant and interesting content. It increases both trust and return visits via customers.

Overwhelmingly the results from this study show that customers are becoming digital natives are their expectations for businesses online presence is high. If you’re not taking advantage of these opportunities you need to ask yourself why. If time is the reason then a solution like Leadr could serve you very well. We take care of the hard yards and let you focus on what you’re good at. If resources such as budget are an issue why not take a look at some of our packages and work out what you can afford?

No matter which way you look at it digital expectations aren’t going to go backward anytime soon. If business growth is important to you then getting your business online in 2018 has to be high on the priority list. If you’re already online make sure you examine your presence with a critical eye and work what what needs improvement.

So do you agree? Do you feel like you’re ahead of the curve or could be doing some things better when it comes to connecting with your customers online? Let us know in the comments below.