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Unlock value in your business digitally

28 August 2015

Here’s what the numbers say. They say you simply can’t afford to overlook the possibility of unlocking value in your business digitally. They also say that delay could be costing you money.

Since Google announced in April it was changing its search algorithm to give prominence to websites designed for viewing on mobiles and tablets, 28% of Australia’s SMEs have said they’ll optimise their websites for mobiles before year’s end.

Although most Australians spend their lives with mobiles no more than a couple of metres away from them and although 69% of them access the internet using their phones, only 35% of SMEs have a mobile-optimised website.

Consider this; more than a third of the people in this country are going online more than 15 times a day – a 20% increase in the past 12 months.

If your business lacks a digital strategy and you’re freaking out at the thought of starting one, suck it up. Just start ….. NOW!

Bed down the basics

Update your website with more and better click-worthy content. Ask yourself: can Instagram or Facebook be used to increase business?

Each week Australians are spending on average the equivalent of a full working day on Facebook, and almost half of all owners of SMEs say that being on page one of a Google search result is important to their business.

So, does that mean about 50% of business owners don’t consider their rating by a search engine important, or worse, that they haven’t even considered the possibility of a search engine ranking affecting their business?

Rupert Murdoch said recently: “The internet has been the most fundamental change during my lifetime, and for hundreds of years”.

Bill Gates has said: “We are in the throes of transition where every business has to think of a digital business strategy.”

With the basics in place, SMEs need to study changing patterns of technology use in Australian households and look there for business opportunities.

Sensis, a leading marketing services provider, derives half its revenue from digitally savvy businesses.

Add value with sophistication

Six out of 10 Australians currently buy on line.

Credit cards in men’s names register more than two and a half times more purchases than cards in women’s names – although we don’t know how much women are buying on a man’s subsidiary cards.

But to be competitive in the digital age a business needs more than a website with updated, top notch content.

If in order to achieve prominence with Google’s new search algorithm, close to a third of the Nation’s SMEs plan to optimise their websites for appeal to mobile phone users this financial year and if your business isn’t one of them, then perhaps you should be considering such a commitment.

All the advice we get from expert marketers points in the same direction: businesses need to adapt to a mobile-first digital world.

To do that, owners must think in terms of every aspect of their business that can usefully be publicised, and how best to make a particular aspect of the business visible on a mobile phone.

For example, one aspect may be available products, but other aspects should include customer services relative to them, right up to and including delivery.

Accordingly Sensis has developed an online ordering and payment application called Skip to help cafes and restaurants win and retain the loyalty of tech-savvy time-poor customers. The last figure we saw showed more than 100,000 orders had been placed with this app by customers wanting the convenience it provides.

Research shows with startling clarity that people are going online with ever increasing frequency to study feedback on products and services before they buy.

Which is why digital savvy business owners are realising the convenience they offer customers is the cost of customers’ loyalty.

The payoff transcends sales

Australia still trails America with ratings and reviews on websites, where it’s apparent companies handling this aspect of their business well, are not only rewarded by increased sales, but with the bonus of a Google ranking that lifts them to the top of pages showing results of web searches.

There’s been a dramatic rise in online sales in the US in the past three years where it’s reported these “now account for 41% of all sales activity” – two thirds of it resulting in sales not to people in other cities, other states, or other countries, but simply to locals.

It was recently reported in The Weekend Australian that only 17% of Australia’s SMEs have a digital business strategy, a figure unchanged in the past two years.

This suggests an overwhelming majority of SME owners aren’t acting on answers to such questions as:

  • What aspects of the digital age are relative to my business, and how can I employ them to increase profits?
  • Am I employing appropriate digital tools to grow my business online?

It isn’t as though these are hypothetical queries about uncharted territory, for there’s already abundant evidence that digital marketing offers a relatively cost-effective starting point from which to ramp up business efficiency.

As increasing numbers of Australians shop online, a digital strategy has been established as one of the best ways of enabling people to discover your business and what it can do for them.

The more SMEs that fulfil their digital potential, the better not only for them but for the State’s economy also. A joint report by PwC and Google concludes this could be boosted by $2.7b in the next decade - that’s a 3.9% increase - if “the small business sector makes better use of existing technologies”.

For more information, contact Macks Advisory on 08 8231 3323 or visit our office at Level 11, 99 Gawler Place, Adelaide SA 5000.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this webpage is general information and does not constitute legal advice. Nothing in this webpage is or purports to be advice. If you do need advice, then you ought to seek and obtain appropriate personal professional advice based on your personal circumstance.

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