After a lovely radio interview with Natasha Gillies on Dublin City FM, it got me thinking!  I spoke to her about the great report that is released by IE Domain Registry once a year called the SME Digital Health Index.  It is released following a survey of over 1,000 businesses in Ireland.  It reflects on the state of digital health, namely websites and social media.

Online presence 

The one thing that I’d love to see Irish Businesses adapt or change is their online presence.  Some businesses think that once they have a website that they can leave it for another five or ten years.  Not true! This shouldn’t be the case. Apart from keeping content on the website up to date (for example, this can be done by blogging).  Not only does your content need to be fresh and up to date, it needs to be in conversational language.  Voice search is due to become huge, so make sure the content on your website will be answering what your customers will be “voice searching” for – i.e. conversational English.

 e-Commerce

If I’m allowed to expand on this wish to improve Irish business online presence, then my next wish is to ensure your website can facilitate transactions.  Yes, that means your customers should be able to buy 24/7 on your website!  Transactional sites are easier for product based businesses, I’ll agree.  However, there are many service businesses that could have a transactional element online.

 What consumers think?

To be fair, it’s not just a wish of mine, it is a wish of the Irish consumer!  The SME Digital Health Index shares some fascinating statistics with the research completed.  The report states:

  • 63% of Irish consumers think a business looks outdated if it doesn’t have a website
  • 59% of Irish consumers say being able to make purchases online is important to them
  • 80% of Irish consumers agree that all businesses should have at least a basic website.

 It’s worth HOW MUCH?!

The SME Digital Health index continues to share great insights with us, including:

“E-commerce is worth €12.3 billion to the Irish economy, yet fewer than a third of SMEs with a website can actually take sales orders or process transactions through it.”  Frightening really!  That means that nearly 70% of Irish businesses are missing out on the cut of the €12.3 billion pie.  It’s unforgiveable really!

Only 69% have a website 

To be fair, 87% of SMEs apparently have at least one digital asset.  This is good news.  However, only 69% have a website with only 32% having a transactional website.

I think I noticed the lack of online presence of Irish businesses most over the last few weeks of the Christmas break.  I was searching for restaurant menus in advance of eating out (it’s much easier to look before you arrive if you have a toddler in tow!!!).  I was shocked to see the restaurant either have no website or no menu available online.  Mad!!  The next shock I had was a provider of services for children not having a website and having only a Facebook page.  Why?!!  I wanted to find out more about their services on their website, not sifting through random images on Facebook. 

All is not negative in our digital world thankfully!  There are some businesses embracing the online world. The SME Digital Health index has been run for five years now, giving a good insight into changing trends.  The good news is that 76% of Irish SME websites are now optimised for mobile, compared to only 27% back in 2014.  Video content is also being embraced more nowadays, with 47% using video content compared to only 24% in 2014.  There have been small increases in websites processing payments, taking sales orders and allowing online bookings or reservations.

Online Trading Voucher Scheme 

With Irish consumers spending €850,000 online every hour, it seems a wasted opportunity for Irish SMEs not to be tapping into this.  I understand more than any business that we are all time poor.  Couple this with limited funds to invest and it is not a good combination.  However, there are online trading vouchers that businesses can apply for from their Local Enterprise Office helping to alleviate the financial burden. Sometimes by making a calculated financial investment with your online presence will see a return quite quickly, particularly if this helps your customers to transact online 24/7.  

The age of the digital consumer cannot be ignored.  I would love to see more Irish businesses embracing the opportunities that having a strong online presence bring.  And see them reap the rewards in the long term.

Here to help

Lush Marketing provide businesses with online marketing training and more.  If there is a gap in the knowledge of you or your team then please do call for help.  If training isn’t the issue and you are time and resource poor to implement the online marketing side of your business, then outsource this to us.  There is help available.  We love to see businesses flourish with our help.

 


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