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SMEs stay clear of state of the art digital marketing

15 November 2017

SMEs stay clear of state of the art digital marketing in favour of emails

Despite huge advancements in digital marketing with new tools to reach customers, New Zealand small and medium enterprises (SMEs) lean heavily on word of mouth to acquire customers, and emails to communicate with them.

Research from Dot Kiwi, the internet domain name provider, showed small businesses are staying clear of advanced digital tools that lets them market to customers en masse. Instead, word of mouth is relied heavily upon, and email is the best way to keep in touch.

Dot Kiwi’s Managing Director, Angus Richardson, says while word of mouth will always remain the best form of marketing, other opportunities to generate new customers are being under-utilised.

“For more than 80% of SMEs word of mouth is the main way they get new business leads, but then the question is how do you convert these leads – the answer for more than four out of five SMEs is email.

“Of those businesses which rely on email, however, only 30% send promotional emails, and 28% newsletters. Most email communication remains conversational, with only 19% of SMEs investing in the use of automated digital marketing tools to assist with sending bulk emails,” says Richardson.

Looking beyond the basics; mobile apps, online video and augmented reality remain very much in the domain of big business. The survey found around half of SMEs spend less than $1,000 annually on marketing per year, which means big ticket items are out of the question.

“Around two thirds of SMEs we surveyed don’t offer an app and don’t plan to in the next 12 months. The same goes for online videos and big-business marketing tools, such as augmented reality, which is beyond most SMEs. Comparatively, 51% of SMEs have social media pages, and 41% are investing in advertising through those channels.

“It’s great to see some SMEs experimenting with apps, video and augmented reality, but for a SME with relatively small marketing budgets it’s probably about figuring out how to optimise their existing digital presence.

“This could include adding an e-commerce functionality to their website where appropriate, having social media presence linked to their website, or use of tools such as SEO, and most importantly, developing a secure domain name strategy,” adds Richardson.

Despite the heavy use of email for communication, the research showed 57 per cent of SMEs don’t have any strategies in place to protect the domain name they use for their emails or website. With recent events such as emails being discontinued, now more than ever SMEs should think carefully about their online presence. This is particularly concerning considering the prevalence of phishing scams, which can take the form of fake websites, or more commonly fake emails.

“Our research showed despite sophisticated marketing tools on offer, email is still the lifeblood of SME communications. However, on the whole SMEs are too relaxed about making sure similar domain names aren’t snapped up by other people. It’s not always about people being malicious and pretending to be you online, it can just be an honest mistake but your website visitors wouldn’t know that.”

Ends

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