Why SMEs need to be wary of unscrupulous digital marketing strategies post-JobKeeper

online marketing, marketers

With JobKeeper ending, many Australian SMEs have been forced to close doors to their brick and mortar livelihoods and turn to e-commerce platforms to maintain cashflow but business owners should be wary of digital traps and unscrupulous operating pushing “vanity metrics” that result in dead website traffic and no revenue.

While benchmarks like reach can impress small businesses who are new to digital, metrics like conversion rates and customer experience architecture are much better drivers of profitability and should be the focus of digital strategies.

In recent times especially, a lot of precious capital is being spent by SMEs trying to find digital traffic but not all spend is actually being used in ways that create tangible business outcomes.

Because many businesses are jumping straight into ecommerce without always asking the right questions, our clients have experienced agencies that use jargon to increase complexities, using any metric that sounds impressive to make it seem like the strategy is working. Barometers like impressions and reach are referred to a lot, but what does that actually mean in terms of actual impact on acquiring customers and revenue uplift?

A really important thing to focus on when it comes to digital is conversion. Turning website visitors into customers, customising your sales approach to their business and market, and not just using a cookie cutter approach.

Just driving traffic to your website is not enough these days. It’s what happens after the user lands on a page that matters; how much quality traffic is actually being converted into customers and sales. So, effective digital and marketing strategy has to revolve around understanding how to help customers find what they’re looking for. This is one of the fundamental principles to conversion optimisation.

The first step is gaining a solid understanding of business strategy and growth objectives – you can’t effectively advise a business on decisions regarding digital if you don’t understand it’s objective, purpose or service.

Secondly, being found on Google search remains one of the most powerful ways to grow leads. Many clients use paid search to drive traffic but they need to understand the cost of acquisition to use it effectively.

Having strong search visibility is crucial if you want to be relevant when people search for a solution to their need or want.

SMEs wholeheartedly understand digital investment but can do much better at being found online and through search engines. Social and paid marketing remains an important part in acquiring customers but search engine results remain one of the best ways to be found in an increasingly crowded digital world.

Digital marketing practitioners need to also understand how a business is positioning itself among its market. For example, if the ideal customer is a 30 to 40 year old professional, what drives their decision making when it comes to purchasing clothes? Understanding customer persona goes a long way in predicting search behaviour.

It’s an exciting time for SMEs in the sense of digital transformation and opportunities but businesses need to be strategic. A great starting point can be asking, “what does digital really mean to my business, and why?”