5 reasons why your business needs an online presence

We are focussing on helping SME retailers realise the benefits of adding (communication, marketing, and/or sales) online channels to their business. We know there is a need for it, because only 34% of Australian businesses have websites, dropping to a drastic 25% for those with up to four employees.

Let's look at some of your objections:

  • Australians are not interested in buying online.

    Here's what Sydney Morning Herald had to say:

    [A]bout 40% of Australians with access to the internet bought nothing online in 2006-07 (see this report), but this wasn't because these people had no interest in buying online or are afraid of buying online.

    ... [T]here was nothing compelling enough about what online businesses had to offer. What a great opportunity for Australian businesses to innovate. The customers are there, they just have to be drawn in to the net.

  • The return on investment isn't sufficient.

    What Smart Company believes:

    Half of the winners [of the 2008 SmartCompany award] have put in place more sophisticated websites. And guess what? They claim to have made $100 million revenue from their websites, which represents 10% of the $1 billion total revenue made in 2007-08 from the class of 2008.

  • Sufficient business is generated by passers by and word of mouth.

    Let the numbers speak for themselves, were going to use local pizzerias as an example:

    On average, online users searched for 'pizza randwick' 24 times a day. If we expand the keyword campaign to include related keywords (except for 'arthurs pizza randwick', an excellent choice ;)) this is expanded to an average of 33 daily searches. With ongoing and good search optimisation and a great website, you could aspire to convert 10% of these Google searchers, resulting in (if you choose all related keywords for your site) 3 - 4 additional orders a night.

On to why you need to be online:

  1. More, and more engaged, customers.

    As explained in the keywords search example, people are looking for providers of goods and services, in their neighbourhoods. You need to be online in order for them to discover you.

  2. Improved customer insight.

    There are many sophisticated and free website analytics tools (e.g. Google Analytics) now available. For example, Google users find us using the following keywords:

    These tools might tell the pizzeria proprietor from our earlier example that their 'oven baked pizzas' are providing the best keyword search results. Armed with this insight, they might update their menu to expand their oven baked offerings.

  3. Improved customer loyalty.

    Keep your site's content fresh and relevant, and customers will continue to return to it. For example: highlight a different combo deal weekly (relevant to our pizzeria example), offer an online-only coupon code, get people to sign up for an e-newsletter in order for them to receive weekly coupon codes (ask customers if they're interested in receiving these discounts and grab their emails during instore checkout too), keep a blog.

    For those wary of keeping a blog, here's Steven Smith's advice on how it builds your credibility:

    "Too many small business owners worry that any information they give away will be seen and used by their competitors. That's ridiculous - give away as much information as you possibly can."

    You will surprise yourself with how much blogging material you already have: recipes your experiencing with, why you will/won't offer vegan dishes, you're researching certified fair trade suppliers, you're considering purchasing carbon offset credits, a recent press/blogger review, a new award, ...

  4. Effective promotions.

    By implementing the online-only, or e-newsletter, discounts and coupon codes discussed in the previous points, you can tie them in to in-store activities, monitor usage, and fine tune to make them highly effective.

  5. Stronger branding.

    Your website, e-newsletter, presence in online communities (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) are numerous and low cost opportunities to re-inforce your brand.

Intrigued enough to consider going online?

Let Google guide your research on how to make it happen. What are others doing? Doing well? Doing poorly? What are the search trends for your locality? Are you ready to start off with an e-commerce site, or do you want a more gradual approach (informational site first, e-commerce site later)? Which websites' designs do you like? Will they play well with your logo/branding?

When you're ready, get in touch to discuss the options best suited for your needs.