Over half of SMEs believe competitors have a better digital presence,

Over half [55%] of SMEs believe that their competitors have a better digital presence than they do, according to new research by leading creative agency, Sparkloop.

The research, which questioned 500 decision makers from SMEs across the UK on how much time, budget and resource they have invested into their digital brand presence, also revealed that despite believing their competitors had a better brand presence, 45% of respondents had not reviewed the performance of their website in over 18 months. 

In addition, 25% of respondents advised that they rarely, or only annually, make changes to improve the performance of their website to engage potential customers. 

When questioned on the level of investment SMEs made into their digital brand, 46.3% advised they invested under £2,000, 53.7% invested £2,500 plus and 10.9% invested £10,000 plus.

However, a quarter [25.8%] of SMEs haven’t invested in their website and wider digital brand presence in over 2 years. 

Other key take outs from the research include:

  • Only 31% of SMEs believe that they have a stronger digital brand presence than their competitors.
  • 44.3% of SMEs have developed their website using ‘off the shelf’ platforms like Wix, Square Space or WordPress, with 31.6% opting for creative and technical input from an external agency. 
  • A staggering 62.3% of SMEs have not taken advantage of tech features, like chatbots, blogs and feedback to increase stakeholder engagement or improve the performance of their website. 

This new research comes as the majority of UK SMEs are forced to review and pivot their existing growth strategy following the impact of the current situation. 

Gayle Carpenter, Creative Director of Sparkloop, confirmed: “This latest research is incredibly telling and effectively demonstrates that SMEs UK wide do not place enough value into both creating and maintaining a strong brand and digital presence, which could be damaging to their business. 

Currently, SMEs are facing the significant challenge of survival following recent events. Those with the strongest brands, an engaging website and integrated digital presence will instil confidence and drive growth, both during and following this time of uncertainty.

For business owners looking to use this time to disrupt and develop, it doesn’t necessarily mean investing tens of thousands into your website and wider digital presence, but it does mean evaluating your brand by ensuring it represents your business and attracts the right target audiences. This is consistently overlooked by the majority of SMEs, as demonstrated by the research, but could be fundamental to future growth and success as we return to some form of business as usual.”

Established in 2004, Sparkloop has successfully delivered bespoke design and communication strategies for brands and businesses across the UK and overseas, with long-standing clients including Red Bull and HomeServe. 

Founded by design and branding specialist, Gayle Carpenter, the firm is headquartered in Camden, London, with a South West regional office based in Bath, Somerset. 

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the agency has launched its Virtual ‘Spark-Up Sessions’ initiative, designed to help businesses quickly solve problems and identify achievable outcomes when establishing a clear and effective digital brand presence.

To find out more about this latest research, download a copy of Sparkloop’s SME Digital Brand Presence Report 2020 at www.sparkloop.com.

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