Consumers are using social media, so you should be too.

Are you turning your online presence into revenue?

Digital marketing has never been more accessible to businesses and may be the key to ramping up business development. But new research suggests that some SMEs may be treading a little too carefully in the virtual space to really exploit its benefits.

The technology, costs and analytics associated with the services can be intimidating, especially if you didn't grow up as a digital native. But the opportunities provided by such tools are too great to ignore.

Increasing your scope and spend for better results

Deloitte found SMEs that utilise a wider variety of two-way communication channels are achieving far higher rates of growth. Companies using only one or two channels (such as face-to-face and telephones) report an average revenue growth rate of 2.3 per cent. Compare this to those using three to four customer engagement channels (such as the previous examples in addition to Facebook and Twitter) who reportedly achieved an average revenue increase of 7.1 per cent per year.

SMEs are significantly lagging behind consumers in the uptake of social media.

Essentially, the more channels that you are using, the more opportunities you are creating to convert prospective customers into buyers and boost your revenue augmentation.

In fact, Deloitte found that on average, increasing the number of communication channels you offer to your customers could increase annual revenue by a whopping AU$160,000. Furthermore, Deloitte suggested that just a one per cent increase in online marketing spending can increase revenue by AU$100,000.

This notion was also supported by a survey from US-based research firm Clutch, with 82 per cent of SMEs using digital marketing believing that it is a key driver of their success.

Many SMEs may be missing out on major revenue gains by being too gentle with their digital marketing approach. Find out what you could stand to gain.A digital strategy can help you get even more out of your social media.

SMEs slow to take up digital marketing

However, Clutch found that only 44 per cent of SMEs are actually engaging in digital marketing. CEO of social media agency Project Bionic Joshua Dirks explained to the researchers what this really means for SME owners.

"It's really sad that the most powerful marketing leap in our history has gone under-utilised by the very people who have the most to gain," Mr Dirks said.

It appears that SME use of social media in Australia is higher than the US, but a report from local advertising agency Sensis suggests that businesses are still significantly lagging behind consumers in the uptake. Furthermore, Sensis found that 80 per cent of SMEs take an ad hoc approach to their digital strategy, and less than one-sixth of SMEs are actually able to measure their returns.

If you need some advice from chartered accountants about how you can more effectively measure and quantify the impact your digital marketing efforts are having on your revenue, get in touch with Wilson Porter today.