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Small businesses lacking digital strategy

Wednesday, 22 September 2010 | By Oliver Milman

Australian start-ups are failing to develop digital strategies, despite the rise of social media as a business tool, new research has found.



A report by Sensis found that although 94% of small firms are online, just 17% of them have any sort of strategy for their digital communications.


Of this number, most are focussing their efforts on their websites, with just 36% having a strategy for mobile devices and only 33% having a plan for social media.


One in 10 of all the small firms polled are using social media to boost their business, with 60% reporting that the activity was having a positive impact.


Small businesses’ websites are primarily being used to promote the company, with 62% used to take online orders. This is higher than the overall business average of 58% which, in turn, is up 2% on last year.


The research found that small firms were far less likely to advertise themselves online, monitor competitors and use email marketing than their larger counterparts.


Report author Christena Singh told www.StartupSmart.com.au: “You have to look at online as part of your business strategy, but a lot of businesses aren’t doing this. They are spending a lot on hardware and software, but aren’t spending a lot of time on strategy.”


“I often hear that internet on the phone is the future, but it’s happening now. It’s something businesses should be looking at right now. Also, you should look at social media to see if it is right for your business.”


“You have to know where your customers are. If there are going onto social media networks, you should be there too.”