Published: May 06, 2015 Last Updated: September 02, 2021

Digital Marketing Why Doesn't Small Business Get It?

Digital Marketing - Why doesn't small business get it?

I continually struggle to understand why so many small business owners just don't get Digital Marketing. Why can't they see the benefit of a great website and more importantly a great digital marketing strategy? Why when they use Google to find products or services for themselves, do they not stop and think that I should be leveraging this for my business? What is stopping them from implementing a proper web marketing strategy for their business?

Before the "Why", let's talk facts.

Small Business Internet Usage Stats

The latest Sensis e-Business Report (2014)* shows that there are still only 66% of SMEs with a website. As a website is a key component of any serious online marketing strategy, that means that 34% of SMEs are not even close to having one. Some other key stats from this report are:

  • Only 26% of SMEs undertook any Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) in the last year.
    • Only 17% actually paid a professional to do it for them.
  • Similarly, only 26% of SMEs used Search Engine Marketing (SEM). I wonder if that's the same 26%?
  • Whilst 95% of all SMEs were online in some form (think email), only 19% had any form of Digital Marketing Strategy.

So these figures in my view make pretty grim reading. Roughly three quarters of small business don't see the value of the internet to their business.

So what is the value?

Web Marketing Results for Small Business

The best way for me to show results is to go through a few client case studies. Let's choose a client on each of our web marketing plans.

Bronze Web Marketing Client

This client is a Stonemason and focuses on Headstones, Monuments and Stone Benchtops. When we started with them they were getting roughly 5 "Contact Us" webforms/month. They went on our Bronze Plan and have been paying $750/month (ex GST) for the last 4 years. For the last 3 months they have averaged 90 webforms/month, so this works out at $8.33/webform.

Silver Web Marketing Client

This client manufactures sports uniforms and sell throughout Australia. When we started, they were lucky to be getting around 20 webforms/month. They actually began on our Gold Plan roughly 6 years ago, but have dropped back to our Silver plan for the last 6 months. This means they pay $1500/month (ex GST). For the last 3 months they have averaged 400 webforms/month, which works out at $3.75/webform.

Gold Web Marketing Client

This client is an all trade company, supplying Electricians, Plumbers, Handyman etc to Homes and Businesses. Once again, when we started with them 5 1/2 years ago, they were getting under 100 webforms/month and most of these were a result of Adwords. They have been on our Gold Plan all the way through and have averaged 499 webforms/month the last 3 months (with NO Adwords) at a cost of $4/webform.

Important: These results are purely webforms and don't take into account the phone calls the websites also generated. Studies show that you can add at least 3 phone calls to every webform (even more if they are on a mobile phone). So you can reduce those costs/webform down even further.

The purpose of these results is not to impress you, but to impress upon you the impact that a proper digital marketing strategy can have on your business. Is there any other form of marketing (other than Referral) that can get you leads at a better cost?

So now we've looked at the facts, why does only a quarter of Small Business get it?

Reasons Small Business doesn't have a Digital Marketing Strategy

Now before we get into this, let me just stress that this is my opinion after spending many years trying to answer this question. I've not only researched, but more importantly, spoken to many Small Business Owners.

So the main reasons that Small Business Owners don't have or see the need for a Digital Marketing Strategy are:

  • I'm busy enough and don't want to grow anymore.
    Are you serious? If you are a business, then you need to be growing. If you don't want to grow then you are not really a business but self-employed. If you don't grow you can be assured that your competitors will be and eventually you'll find yourself with no business.
  • Technology and the Internet is all too confusing, so I'll stick to what I know.
    Once again you're not being a serious Business Owner. Part of being a Business Owner is to take time to work on your business and look at new ways to grow it. The business world is continually changing and what works today may not work in the future. How are those Yellow Pages Books working for you?
  • I didn't know the Internet was such a big deal.
    This is similar to the point above. If you are serious about your business you should be taking time to look for any opportunity that may be out there. If you use the Internet to find products and services, why wouldn't you think that your customers do as well.
  • I've tried it before and it didn't work.
    This is a common one. You've either tried it yourself and not really knowing what you were doing (or not having the time to do it properly), it didn't work. Or worse, you paid a business to do it for you and they didn't deliver. The problem here, is that you are letting a bad experience impact on the future of your business. Not every Radio, TV or Magazine Ad worked first time either. Don't limit your business potential because of one bad experience. Try another web marketing business that knows what they are doing and can show you results.
  • I can't afford to do Digital Marketing.
    Can you afford not to? Marketing shouldn't be viewed as a cost, but an investment. If it is done properly, you will get a return on your investment. You can always start off small and work your way up as you can afford it.
  • I'll do it in 6 months time. I don't have the time, money etc to do it now.
    Ah, procrastination. Success starts today. What is going to change between now and then? In 6 months time you'll still not be ready and will put it off for another 6 months.

Well there you have it. The reasons I believe that the majority of Small Business Owners don't have a Digital Marketing Strategy. Are you part of the crowd or do you stand out?

*Sensis complete an annual survey of Small Business to find their internet usage etc. View the full report here.