Compared to traditional marketing methods, it’s relatively inexpensive and easy to kick into action. And, if you want you can pass it all over to someone else to build and maintain it for you. Yet more than 35% of all Australian small businesses still don’t have a website. With statistics revealing that 92% of people in 2014 were searching online for products and services, there are a lot of small businesses that are missing out on potential customers.
Small business owners who don’t have sites generally believe that a website won’t do anything for them, they think it will cost them too much or claim that they just don’t have the time for one. However those who have moved their businesses online can easily show naysayers that by including websites in their marketing plans, they have improved their bottom line, saved on marketing costs and, importantly, exposed their business to a wider audience.
Take a look at the three examples below. These are not your traditional online types but each can still take advantage of a customised online presence:
A small stationery supplier in a regional town can still grab a chunk of the online market away from the big boys – without breaking the bank. Now, they may not be able to compete with stores such as Officeworks on price, due to the sheer bulk purchasing of the chain stores, however they can exploit and utilise one huge advantage – simple convenience.
Imagine that you require stationery supplies delivered to your door and – you want them now! There is no way you will receive next day delivery of any of these supplies in a small town – even if you pay for the premium postage. What if you could log into your local store’s website, make and pay for an online order and the goods were delivered within the hour (free of charge) to your business door?
That would certainly level the playing field in the local store’s favour. Cost vs convenience – I know which one I choose when I need something fast.
Bed and Breakfasts
A small B&B in regional Queensland has one small cabin for bookings, overlooking the beautiful Goldsborough Valley. With only one cabin on offer, traditional advertising makes it very hard for potential guests to call up and find available dates. With a website however, all bookings can be moved online.
Site visitors can view a calendar integrated into the site that displays available dates, potentially booked dates (that have not been confirmed) and dates that are booked-out. The site owner can easily keep track of upcoming bookings and contact new bookings for confirmation.
Plus, these bookings can be made 24/7 – no need to answer a phone.
Up here in beautiful North Queensland, we have a multitude farms with all varieties of produce year round – tomatoes, bananas, coffee, pawpaw and, of course, sugar cane to name just a few. Whilst most of these farms can benefit from getting online, like Liverpool River Bananas and Madella Coffee have, it’s the support agencies that work alongside these farmers that could really improve their services with an digital presence.
Growers Associations such as Burdekin Productivity Services supply their members with the latest information, weather and crop reports as well as industry news via a well-maintained website. No more group emails, phone calls, costly printed reports or newspaper articles – the association can update their sites daily at no cost (other than employee time) to ensure that their members are completely up-to-date with their industries information. For even more interaction, Association sites could incorporate forums and blogs allowing its members to converse and share their own information.
Regardless of the type of small business, more consumers than ever before are searching for services and products online using smart phones, tablets and computers. This upward trend in usage is increasing each day and small businesses without a site may be missing out on their own slice of the online pie. Even those who have a site may be missing out if their current setup is not utilising all the various options available to it.
Is your small business taking full advantage of online possibilities?