Creating a digital strategy for your business will drive efficiencies and build your business’s bottom line, says Sensis Business Index and Consumer Reports author Christena Singh.
Singh, who analyses economic conditions for Australian small businesses, said there was not a one-size-fits-all digital strategy for small-to-medium businesses (SMEs), rather a business should develop a digital strategy to suit its needs.
“A business owner can develop a digital strategy at any stage and can choose elements that suit them best,” she said.
“They don’t have to do what is irrelevant to them, but it is important that they have a digital presence and can be found online.”
According to the Sensis e-Business Report 2012, while 92 per cent of SMEs use the internet in their business, only 15 per cent report having an actual digital strategy.
“What we find is that businesses are spending a lot of money on digital, without having an actual thought-out strategy,” Singh said.
“But businesses do need to ensure that they have a digital strategy that closely aligns with their business strategy.
“Digital is a tool to drive a business strategy and not an end in itself. It should be driving efficiencies and helping to build the bottom line.”
While a digital strategy should be tailored to suit specific businesses, and could incorporate elements including e-commerce, cloud computing and marketing, Singh said having a web presence was mandatory for most businesses.
“The ability for a business to be found on a search engine is the most important thing for most businesses,” she said.
“People who are looking for you need to be able to find you online and you need to be thinking about how customers are looking for you.”
While accessing the internet on a computer is still the most common method of internet interaction in Australia, more than half of all Australians accessed the internet on their mobile phone in 2012.
In fact, mobile phones were the most favoured method of searching for location information.
“We know there has been an increase in growth for people searching for businesses on the phone, but we also know that businesses are not readily accessible on the phone,” Singh said.
“But what I would say to businesses is that it isn’t hard and it isn’t expensive to be mobile-optimised these days.
“For about $54 a month, most businesses will be able to ensure they are accessible via mobile.”
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