Australian small businesses have often been shown to be laggards in online marketing. But a new survey zeroes in on two metrics to reveal just how bad it might be.
Consider these findings by Optimising, the Melbourne online marketing and web design company:
- Over 50 per cent have not done any SEO (search engine optimisation) for their websites
- Over 50 per cent haven’t audited their websites for search engine rank effectiveness
- Over 71 per cent have never run an online advertising campaign
The one bright spot in the survey – 73 per cent use Facebook for branding and sales – but that doesn’t dispel the overall gloom.
“Australian businesses have a lot of ground to make up,” the authors of the survey of 350 small businesses concluded. Even when turning to social media, they are merely interacting with fans and followers via posts, tweets, photos and competitions etc., and not tapping social media advertising. Read the full survey here.
Missing key consumer trends
Optimising blames the situation on “a lack of understanding of online marketing may be the underlying factor.” James Richardson, CEO of Optimising, cited an example to support the firm’s view. Over half (53 per cent) of the survey respondents didn’t know what amount of their traffic was attributable to SEO, he pointed out.
Fewer small businesses are in tune with consumer trends. For example, many don’t realize Internet penetration in Australia is over 80 per cent, or that social media use has increased 800 per cent globally, or that 79 per cent of smartphone users use their devices before and during a buying decision.
Inversely, 45 per cent of the SBOM respondents do not have a mobile-friendly website, and only 19 per cent have a separate website optimised for viewing on mobiles, Optimising said. Richardson believes the continued reluctance of Australian businesses to adopt online marketing practices means Aussies trail their overseas counterparts.
“In the next 12 months, more than half of your direct competitors will be using online marketing to reach customers – your customers,” warns Richardson.
“…online marketing is no longer something small businesses should do ‘if there is extra budget’, it’s something they need to budget for and take as seriously as insurance (because there ain’t going to be a need for any insurance when you’re out of business). It’s imperative to reach customers and compete to win their business, intelligently of course,” he wrote in a blog post on the survey’s major findings.
“It’s something small businesses need to budget for and take seriously….It’s imperative to reach customers and compete to win their business, intelligently of course,” he adds.
The survey found strong evidence that the small businesses are beginning to take online marketing seriously. Over two-thirds (68%) plan to increase their spending on online marketing in the next 12 months, while 29 per cent expect to maintain the status quo.