Small businesses missing their marks

New research shows that many small businesses underestimate the importance of doing business online, either by ignoring it altogether or by misunderstanding what customers want of their website.

Can you afford to ignore almost two-thirds of your customer base?

The Telstra Small Business Intelligence Report, published last Friday (9 Feb, 2018), surveyed more than 1000 small businesses and more than 1000 consumers. The results show that there is wide gap between what customers say they want and what business think their customers want.

If you don't have a website, here's something to consider: 62% of potential customers will stop considering a business if that business does not have a website. In other words, if you do not have a website, you've slashed your potential customer base by almost two-thirds.

So you are online — but are you SEOing?

Further results from the Telstra Small Business Intelligence Report showed that internet Search — Google, Bing, etc — was considered 'Important' or 'Very Important' by 83% of prospects when finding or considering a business; 52% of businesses, however, do not currently pursue search engine optimisation (SEO) strategies and have no intention of doing so. If you're not being seen by Google and Bing, well, you're not being seen by your potential customers.

Word-of-mouth ain't what it used to be

Most small businesses (76%) still consider word-of-mouth to be their primary and best marketing tool. Consumers, too, think word-of-mouth important, but it comes in third behind online marketing strategies like Search (Google, Bing) and online reviews.

Are you open 24/7?

Or appear to be. Awwww, nuts. Sorry, but no one cares.

Support for small business

Brendan Donahoe from Telstra's Small Business unit sees a clear need for technology support services that bridge the gap between small businesses and their customers.

Our research shows that even when there is a clear appetite among small businesses to embrace digital technology and innovation, there are clear factors stopping them from doing so. Among the top reasons holding them back are perceptions of the cost, time, effort and resource required, they identify it as a future need but not a current priority and for some, particularly smaller business, they feel they don't understand technology and aren't sure where to start.

Does that sound like you? While the report might sound doom and gloom if you're not up with the whole internet-thing yet, look at is this way: if you make a change — like, this Monday — you'll still be ahead of 50% of your competition. Now's as good a time as any, right?

Think about it.

In brief

  • Only 50% of small businesses have a website

    For cryin'-out-loud, people, it's 2018!

  • 62% of customers will stop considering a business if it does not have a website

    That's like turning your back on two-thirds of potential customers.

  • 83% of prospects consider internet search as important in finding a business or service

    And yet more than half of small businesses do not undertake any kind of search engine optimisation (SEO)

We’re a small business, too.

Hey, we get it. When you’re a small business, you can sometimes feel overwhelmed by all the things you have to do yourself. If it’s not your thing, it stays at the bottom of the to-do list and often it doesn’t get done.

Give us a call. We can help you take hold of the opportunities that digital technologies offer and give you the tools and knowledge to operate with increased confidence.

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