Home Forums Marketing mastery Are you one of the 65% of Aust. businesses w/out a website? What’s stopping you?

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  • #974279
    The Copy Chick
    Member
    • Total posts: 963

    In this day and age, as a consumer, it blows me away that more than half of Australian businesses don’t have an online presence and I’d like to find out more.

    In conjunction with local business development groups, I’ll be helping run some informational seminars about moving businesses online. To ensure the information is relevant, I’m really interested in finding out WHY so many businesses have not yet moved online. Is it a lack of interest? It’s not relevant (why?) It’s too expensive/confusing/competitive…? Your customers wouldn’t look online (why?)

    I’d really appreciate feedback on this to get a better understanding of the reasons businesses are staying offline.

    Thanks,

    Anna :)

    #1067097
    websitedesigner
    Member
    • Total posts: 917

    Hi Anna sounds interesting, I often wonder about these stats. I kind of think sometimes people register a business or an ABN because it’s easy and don’t really think too much about it. I’ve built hundreds of sites over the last 5 years, mostly for small businesses and it’s very rare for someone to come to me who doesn’t have one already. Usually they do have one and it’s very bad. I guess it’s possible that those who don’t have one don’t come to me because they don’t want one but I just find some of these stats hard to believe.

    In any case I’m interested to see where this discussion goes and I think we have now reached a point where it is so easy to have a website that these stats will have to go up once people are educated on how to do about it.

    #1067098
    The Copy Chick
    Member
    • Total posts: 963

    They are pretty hard numbers to accept.. I’ll grant you that.

    However, having just organised a wedding, I found it nigh on impossible to find many service providers (especially a whole 65km out of the city) with any online information. Most of those I did find only had Hotfrog & TrueLocal style listings, but nothing where I could find out more about what they offered, what their business style was, etc. Others I contacted via word-of-mouth referrals, and those that actually DID have websites….. oh dear..!

    It certainly made me see some validity for those stats.

    I’ve also spoken to several business owners in my local business group who haven’t bothered with an online presence because they believe WOM is quite sufficient (which makes me wonder why they’re in a business group in the first place!).

    My argument to them is: while WOM referrals may work OK for them as a business owner, as a consumer, not being able to easily find them means I miss out on a potentially better/cheaper/faster job. It should be about what works best for the customer, not for them.

    Anyhoo… I seem to have dragged out my soapbox again. Apologies ;)

    #1067099
    Netboost SEO
    Member
    • Total posts: 191

    Almost all businesses should have an online presence

    Even if you’re a cafe, a street vendor, a mime, or you mow lawns

    If a customer is after a business but can’t quite remember their name the they will likely Google them online.

    Just the other week I felt like indian but was stuck at home – So I googled for Indian restraunts that do home delivery, If you don’t have at least a page with your basic contact info and business info then you are probably missing out on customers or at the very least frustrating them

    #1067100
    fredfarcle
    Member
    • Total posts: 181

    I think many small businesses don’t know where to start and are vary wary of cost and venturing into something they may know little or nothing about.

    Interested to see Websitedesigners comment that his clients have already some web presence or experience before he helps them.

    My experience has been the complete opposite, possibly because I don’t actively market myself to build sites.

    The sites I’ve done and still manage, are for people I already have a business or personal relationship with, so I guess that means there was some level of trust before I started, plus I was always very careful to explain cost and expose some of the smoke and mirrors put out there by second rate web developers.

    IMHO the trick seems to be, if you give businesses a low cost entry point that offers an obvious if modest ROI, say a simple cheap static site, back it up with Google analytics to show it gets visitors and you raise their level of interest.

    I’ve seen this work with the businesses I’m involved with, one in particular started out with a very bad template I hacked and hosted for just a few dollars, we’re now in the process of the third iteration of their site, a CMS on a VPS, they don’t question the cost because they’ve seen ROI at every stage.

    I know this model works but I don’t know how you duplicate it, or market it, not my real area of interest but businesses large and small need to get online, especially when they see first hand the savings in advertising from a stand alone site thats well put together.

    #1067101
    Captain Simmo
    Member
    • Total posts: 110

    Good topic this one….

    I have recently been working with alot of local retail businesses and can understand that statistic completely. Just go to your local shopping centre and you will find majority of retail shops like hair dressers, bakeries, optometrists, dentist, jewelers, beauty salon, video store, cafe, mixed business, pie shop, deli, butcher, pet store, photo shop, resturants, fruit shop, clothes shop, medical centres, vet, dry cleaners or a chemist just to name a few… don’t have a website.

    I am even more amazed that service based businesses such as electricians, plumbers, lawn mowing, mechanics, roof restoration, tilers, concreters, brick layers, painters don’t have a website either and at best a hotmail email address that they check once a month!

    I have asked the question if they have ever thought about a website and I get a mixed reaction… The basic is i rely on word of mouth, I don’t need a website, I’m in retail and people walk by… however, the interesting thing is alot actually ask me why… Do you want to make me one? and how much do I think it will cost to get one?

    My conclusion is simple… Most of these businesses would have a website if it cost only a few hundred dollars to create a basic site including first years hosting and domain name etc and was a packaged deal that someone actually took care of the whole process from start to finish.

    Another thing I hear is what would i put… this is also the case for there advertising etc… which I think is the main factor why 65% do not proceed with a website – Its just Uncertainty and no one is willing to spend the time to educate them.

    Ok, there is Yellow pages, D look and other single page “so called” websites do well from this market as they take care of the whole process and try to educate them to signing up and try it for 6 months etc… proof that retail and small business will commit if the cost is right and has a packaged and simplified process.

    If any web designer is interested in work (or starting up) I can generate a truck load of these small businesses. It seems that all webdesigners that I speak to are only interested in the B2B clients.

    Anna, how much do you charge approx. to do copy for a website?

    Simmo.

    #1067102
    MrSmithers
    Member
    • Total posts: 35

    Hi,

    A lot (most) businesses here in my town do not have a website. Some have a domain name and have it advertised but goes nowhere i.e. either parked or cpanel showing, which is more of a turn off, I think.

    I have talked to them about getting a website and it is usually, A. I’ve heard it costs 15-20k for a website and we can’t afford it. B. It would be of no use to us. We sell face to face. C. How do you do that?/Can you just do that?

    I just spoke to a business owner – a gift shop – a few days ago and they did have an e-commerce website going. A first for our town – lol. But they got rid of it because people would order things and then call and say it wasn’t quite what they thought it was, it was broken etc. She said it was successful but more hassle than anything.

    Another person I spoke to didn’t want a website for their business because ‘it could lead to litigation with copyright issues’. huh? seriously.

    But nonetheless a great thinkers topic CopyChick and no it’s not a soapbox, it’s an opportunity. :-)

    #1067103
    fredfarcle
    Member
    • Total posts: 181
    Captain Simmo, post: 83464 wrote:
    Good topic this one….

    My conclusion is simple… Most of these businesses would have a website if it cost only a few hundred dollars to create a basic site including first years hosting and domain name etc and was a packaged deal that someone actually took care of the whole process from start to finish.

    Another thing I hear is what would i put… this is also the case for there advertising etc… which I think is the main factor why 65% do not proceed with a website – Its just Uncertainty and no one is willing to spend the time to educate them.

    Ok, there is Yellow pages, D look and other single page “so called” websites do well from this market as they take care of the whole process and try to educate them to signing up and try it for 6 months etc… proof that retail and small business will commit if the cost is right and has a packaged and simplified process.

    Simmo.

    My experience is very similar to this, people are generally not interested in the perceived learning curve to go online but they will happily have a go if they can hand over the whole process to someone they know and perhaps trust, also the $ cost must be under their perceived pain point to give it a try.

    I think what happens then is that someones sister’s auntie who liked colouring in at school, gets the job using some crap automated site builder.

    If they now nothing else, most small businesses know if your not on the front page of Google organic search you’re wasting your breath, so when their site is not on the front page of Google in a week, they crack it and lose interest.

    I think this is where the directory services win them over, with sometimes dodgy claims about special relationships with you know who.

    If they survive this learning curve or are at least still interested in getting online, this is possibly when they go looking for someone like Websitedesigner to do the job properly.

    On a more positive note, if you want to promote getting small business online, I think one way is to produce some simple case studies, including the cost, of small businesses that have got it right and are getting a ROI.

    #1067104
    The Copy Chick
    Member
    • Total posts: 963

    Thank you all for your fantastic feedback :) And you seem to be echoing many of the same sentiments I’ve also come across – which is fear of the unknown, cost, reliance on WOM.

    Captain Simmo, post: 83464 wrote:
    Another thing I hear is what would i put… this is also the case for there advertising etc… which I think is the main factor why 65% do not proceed with a website – Its just Uncertainty and no one is willing to spend the time to educate them.

    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head here and this is exactly what we’re aiming to achieve with our seminar… to educate these businesses, give them some ideas of how much it would take to get set-up, and leave them with some tools and resources to further educate themselves.

    Captain Simmo, post: 83464 wrote:
    Ok, there is Yellow pages, D look and other single page “so called” websites do well from this market as they take care of the whole process and try to educate them to signing up and try it for 6 months etc… proof that retail and small business will commit if the cost is right and has a packaged and simplified process.

    If any web designer is interested in work (or starting up) I can generate a truck load of these small businesses. It seems that all webdesigners that I speak to are only interested in the B2B clients.

    Anna, how much do you charge approx. to do copy for a website?

    One of the things I’ve been trying to do is build up affiliate relationships with other locals who provide web design, photography, videography, etc, so prospective clients can ascertain the whole package cost from the start – and also to help determine exactly what their needs are. Sometimes they don’t need nearly as many pages or content as they think they do.

    As far as my costs, it’s a bit like “how long’s a piece of string?” It really depends on the size of the site…. but for a few simple pages with SEO keywords, call to actions, and customer-centric copy, it could be less than $1,000, including GST. Unlike websites, you can’t really develop a template for resale at cheaper rates (unless you want to use elance or similar), but the quality of the copy can make or break a site.

    A cheaper option would be for clients to write their own copy and have it proofed and tweaked.

    One of the areas we’d like to have a bit of a change in mindset is comparing where clients could spend $5,000 on traditional advertising (eg. Yellow Pages, local papers, trade mags, etc) to what that could buy online. Sure, it may cost a bit to get things set up intially – but for $5,000 you could get a pretty decent site with your own domain name and professionally written content – and maybe even some change! And that’s a ONE OFF cost (hosting aside). Each following year, that $5,000 could be invested into professionally written blogs, Google Ads, social media management… with a much higher ROI than print marketing.

    I also posted on another thread about payment plans for small businesses with some interesting responses. While it may be a risky investment for new businesses, it may be ideal for established businesses wanting to get online, but perhaps not wanting to spend a lot up front. A payment plan might help make the move easier – especially if they can see the benefits being online offers.

    Again – lots of really useful information. Thanks :)

    #1067105
    Leisa D
    Member
    • Total posts: 563

    When I first read this statistic I was very suprised – What? 65% of businesses don’t have a website? But that was my computer-age mentality talking. Once I’d thought about it, it made more sense as a good chunk of business owners would simply have no need for a website, eg. bricks and mortar shops in an area with good pedestrian traffic. We should remember that the internet is not the only media available for small businesses to advertise their wares.

    #1067106
    anyhoodles
    Member
    • Total posts: 12

    I think for many small businesses it is the fear of spending a substantial sum of money without knowing that its going to work, or actually help to build their business.

    As a web professional I see a mix of clients from varied age groups and demographics.
    Some want the website built before the business is even functioning, because they know how important it is, while others are slowly being ‘dragged’ onto the internet by seeing what their competitors are doing (mechanics, electricians and similar businesses who traditionally rely on word of mouth).

    Some clients want control over their site, while others don’t want to be involved in updating their site at all. I try to be flexible on this and offer a few hours of web training for clients who want to be more hands on in the continued growth of their site.

    As web developers, we can’t be everything to everyone, but certainly being flexible can help the client get the result they are after, as well as a long term plan that suits their personal requirements.

    Cheers
    Nicole

    #1067107
    The Copy Chick
    Member
    • Total posts: 963
    Leisa at Alexandra Design, post: 83572 wrote:
    When I first read this statistic I was very suprised – What? 65% of businesses don’t have a website? But that was my computer-age mentality talking. Once I’d thought about it, it made more sense as a good chunk of business owners would simply have no need for a website, eg. bricks and mortar shops in an area with good pedestrian traffic. We should remember that the internet is not the only media available for small businesses to advertise their wares.

    I can certainly see your point, but of the 65%, how many of those would be retailers with main street frontage and great pedestrian traffic? The reality is, more and more consumers are spending their time online, so it seems counter-intuitive (to me at least) not to market yourself where your customers are.

    What better way to advertise sales, new products, loyalty programs, return policies, extended/holiday trading hours, or anything else your existing customers might want to know about – especially after hours when the doors are closed an nobody’s there to answer the phone.

    But, hey, maybe some of these businesses are in a position to rely solely on their location and WOM. Maybe they don’t need to advertise at all – but I would find it hard to imagine they would be anything but a minority.

    #1067108
    Leisa D
    Member
    • Total posts: 563

    I do find it frustrating when researching a possible supplier, and their website is non-existant or just a few pages of overview and contact info – but I wouldn’t expect the local pizza shop to have an online menu and ordering system.

    #1067109
    The Copy Chick
    Member
    • Total posts: 963
    anyhoodles, post: 83584 wrote:
    …others are slowly being ‘dragged’ onto the internet by seeing what their competitors are doing

    Which is another great point. Even if your business isn’t online, there’s every chance your competitors are.

    And that brings me back to the problem I see with relying on WOM. I need an electrician, so I get online to find who I can use (I can’t be bothered lifting my heavy monitor off my Yellow Pages). I find Company A & company B and get quotes. I hire Company B because their site looked really professional, had some great testimonials, and I could find out the price on the site. I’m now a happy customer.

    6 months later a friend of mine needs an electrician, so naturally I refer company B.

    OK – WOM working fantastically….

    ….except for Company C, who weren’t listed online. They could have done the job just as quickly and for a better price, but because they weren’t listed online and I hadn’t run into any of their existing customers, there was no way I could find them to know this.

    As a result, they’ve not only lost my job, they’ve also lost my WOM referral.

    Moral of the story… if you’re not keeping up with your competition – and your customers – then eventually your business will fail.

    #1067110
    The Copy Chick
    Member
    • Total posts: 963
    Leisa at Alexandra Design, post: 83588 wrote:
    I do find it frustrating when researching a possible supplier, and their website is non-existant or just a few pages of overview and contact info – but I wouldn’t expect the local pizza shop to have an online menu and ordering system.

    I might not expect a local pizza store to have an online ordering system, but if I could get online and check out their toppings, what any extras might cost, make sure they’re open on a Monday night (because not all are), and if they have a “30 minutes or it’s free” promotion, I’d be a very happy customer indeed.

    And surely it would be easier for them to update menus and prices than printing and distributing menu drops to all the houses in town.

    (I know… I’m on the soapbox again..!)

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