Why ‘Going Digital’ Isn’t a Reality for Many Australian Small Businesses

Is your small business facing big challenges when trying to go digital?

You’re not alone. Transitioning into a digitally-driven culture has been one of the toughest shifts for businesses experiencing limited people, budgets, and time. Over half of Australian businesses still don’t have a website, much less any form of social media presence or online marketing strategy. And those who do start to bridge the gap often find themselves in over their heads and unable to scale up quickly or consistently.

It’s a growing problem that’s leaving many small businesses trailing their larger competitors and wondering how (if ever) they can catch up.

The Biggest Challenges Facing Small Business

Unfortunately, one of the biggest challenges is that we have conditioned ourselves to call our businesses ‘small’, almost like a victim mentality. Eliminate ‘small’ because we are all in business!  Mark Bouris says it perfectly: “To call someone a small business is demeaning. It’s a reference to their stature. To call a whole industry small is blatantly inaccurate and a put-down. It’s the biggest employer in the nation!” I only recently discovered Mark Bouris, and he had me at this t-shirt on his Instagram!

The only things “small” about a small business is its availability to resources. For example, many business owners find themselves limited by knowledge, smaller staff and budget, which means they’re having to do more with fewer resources. These aren’t new problems, but the impact that these challenges are creating in the digital world are carrying greater impact and new responsibilities.

Small businesses are feeling the weight of these problems now more than ever. As their larger competitors can afford to stay ahead of the digital curve, many are struggling to take on even a fraction of the goliath known as digital marketing.

Where Small Businesses are Failing to Keep Up

The complete digital marketing picture is comprised of countless moving parts: a website, blog, SEO, paid search, social media, email marketing, video content, guest blog posting, and mobile marketing, to name a few. Each of these can easily become a full-time job, especially if you’re learning how it all works whilst maintaining the heart of your operation.

A recent report from Telstra revealed several key areas that small businesses are struggling with the most, including the following:

Mobile Optimisation

Customers are overwhelmingly relying on mobile devices to find information, particularly as voice search becomes more sophisticated. Businesses without websites or whose websites aren’t optimised for mobile won’t be able to reap the benefits of this trend.

Social Media Presence

The entire nature of “word of mouth” is changing, and social media is playing an increasing role in this shift. Customers are more likely to engage with businesses that have a social media presence, yet a third of small businesses still don’t have a Facebook page.

Online Reputation Management

Regardless of whether or not your business has a digital presence, you do have a reputation online. People are talking about your brand - even if you don’t realise it - and proactively joining the conversation is the only way for you to control your online reputation and put yourself in a favourable light.

For many small business owners who are already stretched thin, tackling these challenges simply isn’t a feasible reality. Yet many of them wonder: How much longer can I continue ignoring the power of digital marketing?

How Your Small Business Can Work Smarter and Remain Competitive

The lack of digital marketing is an overwhelming problem for all businesses with solutions that seem equally daunting. But the reality is that digital isn’t going anywhere, and you are more than capable of reaping the benefits and seeing the most success.

Our best advice: start small, start with a plan and tackle digital marketing one goal at a time. If you don’t already have a website, make it your first goal. From there, you can branch out into another arena, such as search engine optimisation, content or social media marketing. Check out our training resources available at the Institute of Excellence that can help you learn new skills and develop a marketing strategy that suits your business.

Keep building your digital presence one piece at a time until you become the digital marketing powerhouse that other businesses big and small will envy.

You got this! 👊

Despina is a passionate digital marketer, social media maestro and tourism professional. With over 15 years working and growing small businesses she started her own boutique training business, Institute of Excellence with the intention to ignite excellence in business and people. As a Certified Victorian Tourism eKit Trainer, business coach, author and digital marketing professional, Despina is a passionate advocate for growing small business through shared experiences because every business has a very special gift, YOU!

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