Australian small business owners, we need to talk.
About what you may ask? Well, it’s a little awkward but there’s something I really need to tell you.
You need to be active online.
Don’t be mad. I know you have a million things to do. I know you think this internet thing is all too hard. And you probably know lots of people like you that who also think this online marketing is a waste of time.
Which makes them and, hate to say it, you wrong, deluded, misguided and completely out of touch. And that’s being nice.
The most recent Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show that only 41.6% to 44.4% of SMEs have an online presence. That compares to 97% of large companies.
If you were smart – which you have to be to run a successful small business – you’d see this as an opportunity rather than a problem. On average, most of your competitors are missing out on building their brand, engaging with current and potential customers and positioning themselves as thought leaders.
And the good thing is that it doesn’t cost a fortune to get involved. In fact, with a little imagination and effort you can be online in no time.
So why am I going on about this? Your business has survived so far, what’s the rush? I always like to answer that by suggesting that you look at your own online behaviour. See how many of these sound ‘familiar’ to you: research restaurants, possible illnesses, movies, potential partners, latest celebrity news, check your bank balance, pay your bills and get a new employee.
Heck, it would be easier to list what we don’t do online than to list everything we do.
So isn’t it time to commission a new website, or to start regularly emailing your customers, or create a Facebook page? How about starting a blog and writing regular posts. And while you’re at it you’re only a few taps away on your smartphone from recording videos to post on YouTube. All of which will in all likelihood find itself to the internet’s big bopper.
Google is used by Australians 6 million times every day to search for goods, services and information. According to a Fleishman-Hillard study 89% of consumers search for information online before making a purchase. I’d wager that a fair few of your current or potential customers make up those numbers.
So I guess the final question is “WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR????”
Being active online is simple but it’s not easy. It takes consistent work, dedication and focus. But think of the competitive advantage! And hard work? Pffftt, you’re not scared of hard work, right! For your sake you have to be in it. Run to your nearest computer or smartphone and start!
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Images Courtesy: www.unziptheweb.com, www.digitalbusiness.gov.au