Exclusive research released in conjunction with the new Sensis Business Index highlights the issues SMEs (small medium sized enterprises) face when marketing their business online.
Promoting their business (43 per cent) and attracting new customers (42 per cent) were the main reasons the 1,000 SMEs surveyed across Australia gave for investing in marketing.
However, when it came to actually putting together a marketing plan, trial and error still dominates their approach. Most SMEs (59 per cent) have tested digital marketing channels and of those, 83 per cent are using digital marketing as part of their regular marketing activity. Businesses reported using a combination of online advertising, SEM, paid and unpaid SEO and social media to market their brand.
Sensis commercial director, Rob Tolliday said, “It’s great that businesses are experimenting. Digital marketing is one of the most cost-effective mediums and even the smallest business can benefit from it. However, there are still 41 per cent of Australian businesses who have never tried any form of digital marketing.”
This reticence to try digital could be driven by a lack of understanding of overall marketing fundamentals. In over three quarters of businesses (76 per cent), the business owner is the person responsible for marketing, with only 15 per cent of companies having a dedicated marketing manager.
“Nobody knows their business better than its owner but things such as campaign measurement and getting the best out of your search engine marketing program require a bit of specialist knowledge,” Tolliday said.
More than half the businesses surveyed were not sure what digital marketing techniques they would like to learn more about, showing there’s still a big gap in the market for educating businesses on digital opportunities.
“There are so many free resources out there, including a whole social media marketing course via our website, that the biggest investment you need to make to learn more is time. With online shopping becoming more and more popular, now is the time to make that investment,” he said.
The survey also shows that despite Google’s announcement that they are now a mobile-first platform, mobile advertising is the least trialled by SMEs at only 7 percent.
The survey also revealed overall business confidence has shot up, increasing by four points to +31 points for the quarter, up from +12 a year ago.
“As business confidence is closely tied to marketing investment, this is some good news for small and medium businesses,” Tolliday said.