Government campaign highlights risks to offline construction businesses

Published:  27 March, 2015

Construction businesses will struggle to grow if they don't embrace the internet, according to the government's new Do More Online campaign.

A survey carried out for the company found 66% of small infrastructure businesses feel inspired to grow, an 79% feel capable of doing so. However, the campaign believes small construction businesses are not doing enough online and are missing out on opportunities to find more customers, be more efficient, and save money.

In a survey undertaken on behalf of the campaign by TNS, 19% of small infrastructure businesses said they don't have a website. Sixty-five percent are without any social media presence and 14% are not using online banking. The research also found that 55% have never used basic online marketing and many have never traded online either through a third-party site (84%) or their own website (88%).

With total website sales in the UK worth £193bn, government and industry experts are urging small businesses and sole traders to do more online to make sure they don’t miss out.

Government entrepreneur-in-residence, Simon Devonshire, said: "I cannot think of a business to whom being online is not now vital to their trade, irrespective of their ambition to grow. I think those businesses that embrace the digital opportunity are improving their opportunity to reduce costs; to scale-up; and possibly even export – giving a further boost to the UK economy."

To help small businesses looking to do more online, experts from some of the world's leading technology companies have joined the government's campaign, sharing their simple tips for online success.

Caroline Halpin of Google Partners said: "Start with the basics, using free online tools that are available to you. Google My Business is a fantastic starting point, especially if you don't have a website, as it will give you listings on Google Maps and Google + and ensure that your company appears when people search on Google. Start small and simple. You can do more once you built up your confidence."

Chris Rothwell of Microsoft added: "Get a simple web presence because this is where customers expect to be able to find you. This doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult. There are many tools to help you do this, for example, GoDaddy has a package where you can get a domain, a website and an email for just £1 a week."

Nadya Frost, from GoDaddy, added: "If you are setting up a website, think about why you are doing it and what you want customers to do once they reach you. On the front page have a clear call to action – don't bother with a lengthy explanation of your journey, just be really clear about what you want people to do. Do you want them to request a quote, make an appointment, or put something in their shopping basket?"

 

 

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