Small and medium-sized firms are aware of digital opportunities for business growth but are not fully embracing them, according to a digital engagement specialist.
Dinesh De Silva, CEO of NetStripes Australia, said there is still much forgone opportunity to attract new customers in the digital world.
“Everyone today searches the net before we buy products or services, [yet] unfortunately only 22 per cent of our small businesses engage these consumers who are looking to buy effectively,” Mr De Silva said.
“If you do not change, you could well end up one those 200,000 small businesses that close down every year.”
According to Mr De Silva, SMEs are the most susceptible to digital disruption, yet they are also best-placed to make changes to their advantage.
“We believe small business can … be the agents of change, as opposed to being the victims of disruption in their industries. Business owners know their industries intimately and, when matched with the right technologist and [when] this discussion is fuelled by innovation, that’s when the magic happens.”
He said that the first step is to ensure that your website is modern, user-friendly and highly searchable using the likes of Google, but not to be fooled into thinking that putting up a website is the only thing you can or should do to attract new customers.
“Today a small business can build a strong digital presence similar to that of a big business, importantly with the right strategy, which is fundamental to success online,” Mr De Silva said.
“Hence small businesses need to act with a focus on building a strong digital presence. The foundation of your digital presence is your website, and [SMEs] must get this right. The strategy must be right to ensure visitors in seconds can capture your brand essence, your unique selling proposition and your services due.”
He added: “Apart from your website, the strategy must incorporate traffic generation and engagement using social media, strategic email and other industry-specific platforms based on [your] industry.”
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