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Dropping the ball: Only one in five Australian small businesses is digitally engaged

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Tech start-up Netstripes has found that only 22 per cent of Australian businesses are digitally engaged and using technology to grow their business.

The findings were released in a new report, State of the Nation – 2016, Small Business Digital Engagement in Australia, which looks at how Australian small businesses are performing in the digital economy.

South Australia scored the highest national average of digital engagement (37 per cent), followed by TAS (29 per cent), ACT (29 per cent), WA (24 per cent), NSW (22 per cent), QLD (21 per cent), VIC (16 per cent) and NT (11 per cent). The research sample covered 1,000 small businesses around Australia categorized by state and industry (medical, legal, professional services, trades, and hospitality).

The report defined 17 parameters* for full digital engagement, in which two analytical modules were used, namely Digital Index (overall digital presence and engagement) and Web Index (whether the website was functional and competitive).

What did the report find out?

Shockingly only 45 per cent of businesses were found to have mobile optimised websites, despite Australia being sixth in the world when it comes to smart phone ownership with a penetration rate of 64.6 per cent. This means that 55 per cent of businesses are performing poorly when people search Google for their services and products.

In addition, only 62 per cent of small businesses had clear service offerings on their homepage, which means that 38 per cent of the businesses still confuse their website visitors on what services they offer.

Australia is fifth in the world for social media penetration, yet the report found that only 18 per cent of small businesses are engaging with their customers on social media.

Only 28 per cent of businesses are using SEO efficiently, which means that over 70 per cent are not easily found online when potential customers look for the services they offer on search engines.

What exactly does Netstripes do?

Netstripes is an innovative Aussie tech start-up that specializes in helping small businesses successfully use the internet to consistently win more customers. Each of Netstripes’ founders are key experts in the industry with over 15 years’ experience, in building and rebuilding businesses from tech start-ups to large businesses in Australia and around the world.

Netstripes CEO Dinesh De Silva
Netstripes CEO Dinesh De Silva

Dinesh De Silva, the CEO and founder of NetStripes encourages small businesses to use technology to grow their business. “Small businesses that make full use of the Internet grow their businesses by over 20 per cent each year, which is quite significant. Additionally, more than 50 per cent of all searches are now done via smartphones and increasing, so if a business doesn’t have a website that is mobile friendly they are losing half of their potential customers”, says De Silva. “The digital world opens up huge opportunities for small businesses, which holds the potential for generating billions of dollars in economic growth and reducing unemployment in the country.”

A strategist & technologist at heart, Dinesh has been providing strategic direction and visionary leadership to listed and privately held businesses in Australia and the Asia Pacific region for over 15 years. Dinesh has recognised expertise in the structuring and positioning of organisations and of structuring industries for growth in collaboration with government.

Dinesh is a also a regular speaker at business forums on innovation and digital engagement; two issues he is passionate about in helping business leaders reimagine their future to affect change.

*Parameters for full digital engagement: DIGITAL INDEX: 1) Functioning Website, 2) Mobile-Optimized Website, Active Social Media Engagement: 3) Facebook, 4) LinkedIn, 5) Blogs, 6) Email, Marketing/Newsletters, 7) Regular and consistent updates (15 per month on average), 8) Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for 1st page ranking on Google.

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