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In Australia, one in two small and medium-sized businesses don’t have a website.* And, for those that do, just a quarter have implemented a search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy to reach prospective customers on search engines like Google.

As a digital marketing agency, we see this as a huge opportunity for local businesses because we know that around 70 percent of the customer buyer journey happens online. Additionally, on average, Aussies spend over five hours a day online,** one in three check their phones within five minutes of waking up,*** and 70 percent use phones during meal times (guilty).

It also won’t surprise you that most of us shop online. 97 percent have researched online for a product or service to purchase.****

So why the lack of digital presence for so many businesses? Some owners claim that they don’t really need it, while others say they can’t afford the investment, they’re time-poor, or unsure of where to start.

Why do businesses need a digital presence?

Despite all the clear research about consumer behaviour, we still encounter business leaders that tell us that they don’t need a website, or their decade-old website is just fine how it is. And, unfortunately, those business are missing out on new leads and sales every day. It doesn’t matter if you offer product or services, whether you’re B2C or B2B, or what industry you’re in. 97% of people turn to search engines to research local products and services before they take action*****, so it’s imperative that you can be found quickly and easily. For example, imagine that you receive a strong recommendation from a existing client to a prospect, but when the prospect searches for you online, you’re nowhere to be seen. Being invisible is not a superpower; it will quickly diminish your credibility and market reputation.

Having a strong digital presence (one that says, ‘we’re everywhere’) allows you to reach customers like never before: they’re seeing your business services or products 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days per year. And, because your business is on show all the time, you can grow your business while you’re sleeping.

What does a digital presence look like?

Whilst it’s important to have a website, you also need to consider how to keep your website dynamic and how to consistently drive traffic there. It’s not enough to have a ‘build it and they will come’ mentality. Consider clever digital strategies to reach prospects and qualify leads whilst also maintaining those all-important relationships with your client base.

Social media is a game-changer in the digital marketing space enabling brands and businesses to reach millions of people globally. However, it’s imperative to choose your social media channels wisely. Consider your target market carefully by looking at your existing customer data where do they socialise online? How often are they on social media and what do they use it for? Once you’ve figured out when and where to target your audience, you need to come up with a communications strategy and stay consistent over a long period of time. Stagnant profiles that haven’t been updated in months aren’t a great look and you’ll quickly lose followers and engagement. Regular content including articles, images and videos can drive more traffic, increase conversions and assist with your brand’s visibility. However, it needs to be quality content that’s clever, well thought out, and answers your target market’s pain points. Lazy sales content might turn on your business owner, but it will turn off prospective customers.

Additionally, consider regularly pushing out content out through a blog. Blogs not only increase engagement and give a personality to your business, but, when executed well, are a sure-fire way to improve your rankings on Google. For a more detailed insight into the benefits of a blog, read our article here. There’s also the option of sending regular electronic direct mailers (eDMs) to your database. Highly targeted emails are an effective tool to increase brand awareness, position your brand as a thought leader, and keep your brand top of mind.

3 reasons to maintain a strong digital presence:

1. Make it easier for your customers: As we mentioned previously, we’re researching online like never before. So make it easy for people to find you. A website or social media pages can list addresses, phone numbers and maps. Additionally, contact forms, live chat applications or making use of social media messaging services are simple ways to give customers options for reaching out to you. When you’re building or refreshing your website, consider usability. If your website is clunky and awkward to navigate, people will very quickly leave and move on to one of your competitors. We suggest keeping your interfaces as simple as possible and use menu titles that are clear and customer-focused. And don’t forget to ensure your website is mobile optimised, otherwise you’ll be demoted in Google’s search results, not to mention providing a bad user experience for your customers.

2. Own your brand voice: It’s a ‘dog eat dog’ world, so you have to get clever with your branding to stand out from your competition and help people to quickly recognise you. A digital presence gives you a blank canvas to build up your brand identity and personality, share your messaging and cement your values. As I mentioned in my previous blog, being authentic and conducting two-way conversations helps to build better customer engagement.

3. Find a bigger audience: Consider complementing your organic tactics with paid media. Digital advertising is considerably more affordable and measurable than traditional mediums like television, radio, print and outdoor media. Digital advertising (Google Ads, display or banner ads and social media advertising) is also significantly easier to test, track, measure and optimise. Your advertising budget can work harder for you by targeting specific audiences that are more likely to be interested in your products and services, such as existing customers or visitors, and prospects with similar demographics to your customer base. We can use your customer profiles to target similar demographics, locations, lifestyle factors and personal interests to drive more conversions

Start being seen

At LEP Digital we live and breathe digital. Are you looking to build your online presence to generate more leads or sales? Whether you’re starting your digital marketing from scratch, or ready for a new direction, we’d love to connect over a cappuccino. Let’s lock in a coffee date.

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Telstra 2018 Small Business Intelligence Report 
** We are Social 
*** Deloitte 
**** Bizreport 
***** We are Social

 

Sophie Crenigan

Author Sophie Crenigan

Sophie Crenigan is the Digital Marketing Manager at LEP Digital. She is a skilled marketing and PR specialist and brings a range of experience to her role including brand development, marketing strategy, copywriting and account management. She is also a talented writer. Sophie describes herself as a self-proclaimed 'cat lady', owning two gorgeous cats called Leo and Lotso. She has lived in a range of countries including Spain, Ireland, England and Australia. A travel buff, she loves to explore the world and the next stops on her list are a Kenyan Safari or an Arabic adventure in Oman.

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