Australian small business needs to adjust its sails...


The taxi app, Hailo, recently released survey results that 40% of British phone owners rarely use their phones to make phone calls (https://www.rt.com/uk/201251-uk-smartphone-call-apps/).

It's a similar situation where I am currently, in the Philippines. The use of communications apps such as Whats App and Facebook Messenger is preferred to making expensive calls using the phone's call feature or sending an sms. It makes sense - communications apps provide multiple options and they're generally free so they save money. In 2014, I moved back to my home country of Australia to take a role with Woodside Petroleum in Perth. I was surprised at how few people I met used any apps. I found Australians typically use standard phone call and sms services (which are extremely expensive!). The world has changed considerably but I have found many of my fellow Australians generally have not embraced the change and the resulting increased benefits and lower cost.

Over the past 20 years, due a number of factors including a huge resources boom, the country had become extremely successful...and expensive. Australia is currently ranked as the 5th most expensive country in the world (http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/rankings_by_country.jsp). This, in turn, has also significantly impacted business costs. This wasn't such an issue while revenues were high, but the resource boom is over and the current Australian economic outlook is not looking so rosy.

One highly effective cost reduction strategy available to small business is to outsource business services offshore to low-cost countries, including the Philippines and India. Apart from the reduced cost, there are numerous other benefits. Offshoring is not a new concept - smart Australian businesses have been benefiting from lower operating costs due to offshoring for more than 20 years. Generally, Australian small businesses have been slow to embrace offshoring. This is probably partly because business has been so good for so long but it's probably also due to the massive misinformation and large degree of ignorance on offshoring in Australia. Common incorrect notions include: work is being done in office sweatshops; that the work can only be completed to the right standard by Australians; and that only big business can benefit from offshoring.

Australian small businesses are starting to hurt as the economy slows. These businesses should be reviewing how they do business and identifying opportunities to make significant and, in some cases, radical changes, to reduce cost and increase the chances of success or even just survival. Offshoring should be part of the cost reduction equation. Small businesses should take time now to be understand how offshoring works, identifying reputable and reliable companies that are experienced in dealing with Australians and then getting quotes on cost.

Thousands of Australian companies have already offshored functions of their business here in the Philippines. Australia's Telstra is now the largest employer of Filipinos in outsourced services in the Philippines. Just like the reluctance of Australians to use mobile phone apps, there are more effective and lower costs ways of doing business and Australian small businesses need to adjust their sails...

Andrew Styles is a (andrew.styles@asiaoffshoring.com)

If your website is more than 1-year-old, you’re missing an extremely powerful tool in your marketing arsenal.  Read on and I’ll explain why.

How effective is your current business website?  Assess it using our website self-audit tool. Details below.

Had a really interesting chat with a former Hewlett Packard colleague of mine last week. He needs a website built for his new business and we were stepping through some examples of websites that he likes.  What was interesting was that he gets it...that websites are a powerful tool for attracting customers, then engaging them, then getting them to purchase the product/service.


My former colleague shared 2 examples with me of websites that are at either end of the effective websites spectrum.

 

 

What you’ll notice when you open both is the differences across a number of parameters.  
Here’s some of the key components that make a 2016 marketing effective website so powerful.
Websites are powerful marketing and selling tools
Websites, like fashion, change frequently. That website of yours from 2014 is now out of date. Contemporary 2016 websites have been designed around selling psychology and engagement.  The format these websites are based on is a tried, tested and proven formula. Utilising this formula is a way to increase engagement and sales. If you’re not updating your website, you’re losing ground to your competitors.
Bold colour and minimalism.
Modern websites feel spacious.  Each page uses lots of open space, which, when paired with bright, flat, bold coloured shapes and images, create visually engaging moments.  The engagement happens from when the website opens and banner is a high definition stock pic. The minimalism that applies to the pages also applies to the number of pages, hence the move by some businesses to have minimal pages and, in some cases, a single page.
Tagline
It should be clear from the moment of opening the website what the business is offering.  The website should have a tagline that succinctly tells what the business is.
Content
Content continues to be king.  Adding value to people’s lives and helping them solve issues will develop loyalty, confidence and trust.  You have included a blog on your website that is regularly updated.
Giving before receiving
Offering viewers value from the moment they open the website is important and effective.  Another former HP colleague of mine is very effective at this - he offers a 30 min no obligation personal branding consultation and gets high conversion based on this. A website offering free stuff with no expectations adds to brand loyalty, confidence and trust.
Free – budget – moderate - high end
2016 websites will typically offer a range of options for the product or service. The base level is typically free – product can be tried but it may have only basic functions or limited time only offer, but gives users confidence and trust in the product/service. Fee paying options are then offered with a budget option then some additional levels which offer more functionality.
Mobile devices
Websites are no longer viewed mainly on PCs.  In fact, in some countries, more than 50% of online purchasing is now done on smart phones and tablets.  If your websites is not ‘responsive’ and unable to effectively reformat for these devices, or if your online purchase buttons don’t work, it’s possible that 50% of your viewers (and potential sales) are lost.
Constant updating
Because of the way websites are radically evolving, websites are no longer the ‘make and forget’ part of the business.   They are now dynamic core components of a business’s marketing program that need to be regularly refreshed and completely updated at least annually.  If your website is more than 1-year-old, it should be rebuilt in the 2016 format. By not doing so, your cluttered 2014 website with the side bar might be one of the factors contributing to that stagnating sales growth.
Pricing
The kicker for getting a new website build has always been cost, but that’s no longer the case. The highest quality websites with all the bells and whistles (including ecommerce), can now be created at super low cost. For example, my company are currently offering $150 stunning WordPress marketing-effective 1 page websites (http://www.asiaoffshoring.com/#!web-development/zoxdi), Our competitors charge similar prices.  Stop paying $10,000 for a website – there is absolutely no need.  Utilise low cost website services and put the remaining funds into your online marketing budget, or hire another social media specialist (offshored) to support your digital marketing program. (http://www.asiaoffshoring.com/#!virtual-staff/ya439).
Finally...
Getting a new website is no longer about providing viewers with a shopping list of products and services.   Utilising the latest web designs to create engaging websites means that you’re also utilizing marketing-effective websites based on recognised selling psychology.  If you’re not creating the websites of the ‘now, you’re negatively impacting your marketing strategy. 
How effective is your current website?  
Take a moment to see how your website aligns to 2106 marketing-effective websites. Try our website self-audit tool at http://www.asiaoffshoring.com/#!web-development/zoxdi
Andrew Styles is a highly regarded regional expert in utilising Asia for offshoring management He is also founder of Asia Offshoring Inc, an Australian owned business increasing profitability through the provision of digital and virtual services to Australian businesses. For more details, see www.asiaoffshoring.com 

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