• We're well and truly in the digital age, but SMEs are being left behind. (Supplied)Source: Supplied
Rob Tolliday from Sensis gives his insight into how SMEs can avoid being left behind in the digital boom.
Small Business Secrets

SBS Small Business Secrets
21 Oct 2016 - 3:24 PM  UPDATED 18 Mar 2018 - 1:21 PM

Online businesses are booming, with Australian consumers spending nearly $38 billion in online shopping alone. Despite the huge potential of online sales, 40% of Australian small businesses don't have a website, let alone an online presence.

Commercial Director of Sensis Rob Tolliday says, “The starting point is for businesses to realise it’s a bit prehistoric not to have a digital strategy.”

According to him, the first thing a business should look towards is a website. In an age where consumers of all ages are rapidly shifting into the online space, it could be a very risky move for SMEs to to stay off the internet.

When building an online presence, every small business should ask themselves these questions:

  • What do your customers need?
  • What are your competitors doing?
  • Do you have a point of difference that sets you apart?

Rob says, “If you’re an emergency plumber, and the point of difference for you versus the other plumbers in the area is that you’ll do that emergency work – you’ll go out at midnight and fix the problem. The website should really show front-and-centre your phone number and that you’re willing to do that.”

Don’t know where to start with building a website? Check out these DIY site builders:


However, Rob says a website is not enough. Small businesses should ensure their website is as neat and accessible on a mobile device as it is on a computer.

“78% of Australians now have a smartphone and they’re using that to buy online, browse online, do lots of things.”

Many of the website builders allow businesses to customize how the website will show on mobile as well.

If your small business has a website, and you would like for it to climb up search engine results, there are two distinct ways to do so:

Search Engine Optimization

  • This is about tactics businesses can use to have their business list higher organically.
  • This includes using specific keywords on your website and metadata, meaning you must have an adequate amount of relevant content on your website to climb up the ranks.
  • While cost-effective, it can be time-consuming and it would be more efficient to consult digital marketing agencies for help.

Search Engine Marketing

  • This is paid search and is an easy way to get your business on top of search results, however can be quite costly in the long run.
  • It’s measurable – you can track performance on how many clicks you're receiving, and how long consumers stay on your website.

Looking for more digital help?
Social Media: Should your business bother?
Much has been said about the powers of social media - but the experts say a half-hearted effort can be more damaging than staying offline.
How to get your business on Google
A modern business can't survive online if they can't be found on Google. This is how you make sure Google knows your business exists.
How to manage your online presence
Social media is touted as the key to modern marketing, but small businesses must target their posts - or risk wasting time and money.

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