Online Engagement Key to Attracting New Clients to SMBs

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Online Engagement Key to Attracting New Clients to SMBs

As published in Business Vancouver |  February 3, 2015 by Tyler Orton

It’s rare you’ll find small and medium businesses (SMB) completely satisfied with how many customers they get from their website, according to Ran Oelgiesser.

But it also doesn’t appear most SMBs understand how to improve online client engagement, the chief marketing officer for vCita told Business In Vancouver.

“A lot of the SMBs kind of don’t know what they’re missing,” Oelgiesser said.

According to survey results released by vCita February 2, 67% of SMBs using online engagement tools reported an increase in new customers compared with 34% of businesses that did not use such tools.Engagement tools can range from tracking client interaction to simply managing contacts or sending automated responses to inquiries.

Oelgiesser said most SMBs understand they must cultivate search engine optimization (SEO) and determine what kind of advertising strategy to have but “very few people think that they can actually improve how many clients they can get from their website beyond the SEO listing and advertising.”

About one-third of the 200 respondents surveyed by vCita were drawn from October’s SOHO-SME business expo in Vancouver.

Oelgiesser noted Canadian respondents trail behind their American counterparts when it comes to adopting online tools.

The Internet Association (IA) —an online advocacy group representing the likes of eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY), Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) — singled out Canada for being behind much of the rest of the world when it comes to its online economy.

In an October report, the IA noted just 10.1% of Canadian SMBs were selling online compared with 30.5% of large businesses.

And while 7% of the U.S.’s retail economy is online, the IA found just 3% of Canada’s was online.

But Oelgiesser said Canadian SMBs’ online struggles aren’t entirely unique. “Very few understand the concept of online engagement on your websites,” he said.

The survey showed 17% of clients never engaged with businesses through their websites, while another 15% only engaged on monthly basis.

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