We recently ran a Digital Makeover Competition where we gave one lucky Aussie Business $20,000 of digital marketing for free! Over the course of the competition, we ran an online survey asking Australian business owners how they are leveraging digital marketing.

We wanted to hear a bit more about what businesses are currently using in their digital strategy, what their biggest obstacles are, and ultimately if they’re happy with their current results.

Business owners were posed a handful of questions via an online survey, including:

  • What digital marketing are you currently running?
  • Are you currently using an outsourced digital agency?
  • What is the reason for not using a digital agency?
  • What is the most important thing you look for when working with an external agency?
  • What do you find are the biggest challenges when working with an external agency?
  • How satisfied are you with your current marketing efforts?
  • How much do you spend a month (on average) on your digital marketing?
  • Biggest obstacle holding you back from achieving your online business goals?


So, how did the answers stack up?


What digital marketing are you currently running?

It came as no surprise that the top answer here was social media. A whopping 73% of business owners polled said they are all over social media channels. This was followed by 59% of businesses utilising Facebook Ads, and only 30% leveraging SEO.

 One thing that non-marketers often don’t realise is that simply posting on social channels isn’t as effective as people think. We hate to burst your bubble, but organic reach on Facebook is actually only between 1 to 2%. This means that businesses seem to be investing lots of time and effort creating content that is actually barely being seen by their current followers, let alone helping them find any new faces. While social shouldn’t be ignored, it is much more beneficial to put more of that time and effort into tactics that bring more proportional ROI.

What we’re seeing is an over reliance on social. Yet for some reason, people are shying away from SEO. We can't help but question - why?!

Social is often seen as the ‘easy’ option. But it’s crucial to recognise that organic social channels don’t necessarily perform as strongly as both SEO and Adwords.

From our experience, SEO is one of the strongest marketing tools, and one of the best ways to gain traffic, leads and boost sales for basically any business type. Most business owners polled told us their reason for not touching SEO was mainly due to lacking of understanding of a) what it is or b) how to even approach the world of SEO. We understand, it is a complex field and but it will pay dividends if you know how to do it well.

Are you currently using an outsourced digital agency?

We were pretty shocked to hear that 88% of businesses polled are not using any type of outsourced digital marketing agency yet, most of those same people also reported that they are actually unsatisfied or “just okay” with their current marketing results. We see this correlation as a bit of a problem, one that should be fixed.

So naturally, we asked next: Any particular reason for not using a digital agency?

The most common response? No budget for outsourcing. In fact, 41% of businesses said they just don’t have the money to use a digital agency.

Other reasons for shying away from digital agencies were that they are already taking care of digital marketing in-house, or they simply don’t know where to start with an agency.

Bad past experiences were an issue, but not a front runner.

What is the most important thing you look for when working with a digital agency?

So, for those 12% who already are using an agency, or for those who are thinking about it, we wanted to hear what businesses look at when working with an agency.

Reputation, price and services offered prove to be the three key elements that go into the decision-making process.

In fact, 64% of business owners rated reputation at the top cause, followed closely by 52% reporting price makes a massive difference in the decision-making factor.

That being said, what is the biggest challenge when working with an external agency?

Would you believe 58% of business owners polled said that working with agencies is just too expensive?

So, many businesses think they can’t afford marketing.

The way we see it? How can you afford not to?

Other big challenges with outsourcing are that agencies don’t deliver or they don’t understand the business. We get it – your business is your baby. The key is to find an agency that is the right fit for you, one that will leave you feeling confident that they’ve got the know-how to get you the best return on your investment.

So, what about those on the flip side of the coin?


If you are currently using a digital agency, how happy are you?

The answers we heard here were a bit –erm– alarming. On average, business owners rated their happiness with their current digital agency at a 3.2 out of 5 (so yes, there were a few very low ratings).

Unfortunately, it’s always a few bad apples that spoil the whole lot…

We know bad experiences in the past are one of the biggest reasons why people are hesitant to invest in an agency. It can be a challenge figuring out who’s just there to take your money and who actually knows their stuff.

As an agency ourselves, these are not the types of numbers we like to hear! At PUNCH, we always aim to provide top-of-the-line service and go above and beyond our client’s expectations.

On average, how much do you spend per month on digital marketing?

Out of the businesses polled, the majority are spending between $1 to $1000 per month on digital marketing. We know that’s a pretty big ballpark but the takeaway is that 64% are making some kind of investment in their marketing efforts, which is great. But we couldn’t believe that a whole 21% (over a fifth of business owners surveyed!) aren’t putting any money into it!

Digital marketing is an important investment that just can’t be skipped. And if it is, well there may be a reason businesses aren’t getting the results they want and need to thrive.

If you don’t water your plants, do you expect them to grow? Probably not.

So if you aren’t actually investing anything into growing your business, how can you expect that to grow?

One of the most important questions of all, how happy are you with your current marketing results?

Ready for it? On average, business owners told us they rate their satisfaction with the results they are currently seeing at only 2.3 out of 5, on average. That’s something that leaves us a little unsettled. If you’re not happy about your results, that’s a sign it’s time to try something new.

And last but not least, "What is the biggest obstacle holding you back from achieving your online business goals?"

Can you guess what the two answers that kept popping up?

Time and budget!

We found that most business owners say they don't have enough hours in a day or money in the bank. They don’t have the budget to invest in proper marketing, or they don’t know how to spend the money that they do have.

The answer we heard we generally some variation of, “[I don’t] know where to spend the time and effort”, “[my] lack of knowledge in the digital world” and “I don’t want to flush money away on ineffective marketing spend”.

So, where to from here?

It’s pretty clear to us that the businesses know there’s room for improvement when it comes to, not only they’re marketing, but growing their business generally.

We get it – being a business owner is a hectic job, and you’re wearing so many hats you’re not even sure how your head’s even staying on!

But, knowing what’s holding you back is only half of the battle.

We’ve all heard the saying, “You’ve got to spend money to make money”. Well, we’re going to give that old cliché a little tweak to knock some sense back into it. When it comes to growing your business, “you need to know where to spend your money to make money”. And time is money as a business owner.

What many business owners don’t realise is that things like the diminishing organic reach on social networks mean that while it may feel like you’re ticking the box on one type of marketing activity yourself you might not be getting out what you’re putting in, probably not even close.

What we do know for sure is that a well-crafted marketing strategy and growth roadmap are crucial to success no matter how big or small your business is. Making sure your ship is on the right course--that big picture thinking--is worth investing in.

Business owners, it’s time to start demanding more of your marketing. Let’s diversify, invest and improve and turn those 2.3s into 5s.


To learn more and view a full break down of our results, download your FREE copy of our report now: