Online Marketing Not Being Utilized by Small Businesses
Within the past 6 months SNG has conducted research across both the states of Kansas and Arkansas. Each State had a distinct interest in how their small and medium businesses were utilizing the Internet. Why? As we have previously reported, SNG has found a consistent and disturbing trend – the smaller the business, the less they are capitalizing on the benefits and promise of the Internet and its applications, or as we refer to them, esolutions.
With fewer resources, smaller businesses are less likely to truly comprehend how the Internet can benefit their business, whether they are a small retailer or manufacturer. Our research also reveals that the cost to implement an esolution (e.g. a website) can be prohibitive to deployment or utilization. What our Small Business Growth Program is doing is revealing to business owners the cost as well as anticipated revenues… and thus the ROI for each investment.
Small businesses have limited time and resources to understand whether they should be online and what that could mean for their business. These same businesses also may not have the background or knowledge to understand how numerous Internet applications can help them compete and what the ROI accompanying each application may be.
It’s illuminating to see just how limited Internet utilization is when examining the 2,200 businesses surveyed that have less than 50 employees in Kansas and Arkansas. These states are only selected to illustrate this because they are our most recent statewide studies.
Top Business Goals from Using the Internet
Increasing sales, reaching markets, and expanding reach are all goals you would expect that a business of any size would cite as reasons for being online.
It’s the bottom three that is alarming both in the research as well as on-the-ground interactions the SNG team has had with small businesses. It takes “out of the box” thinking for businesses to develop strategies to increase foot traffic, roll out new offerings, and leverage non-local resources. But the most successful small businesses we’ve come across are doing just that.
So what are small businesses doing online? If we look at the actual utilization, we see significant under-utilization, as every tactic we asked about came in less than 50%.
This is more disappointing than surprising. And it is revealing – small businesses don’t have the resources or business case to overcome a lack of resources.
With the proper motivation, online resources, and coaching, small businesses can close their own digital divide to compete and thrive.
Even if coaching and training is available, business owners and managers need to be motivated to take the necessary steps to “get online.” That is why we designed the Small Business Growth Program – to show businesses exactly how much they have to gain from various esolutions, including online marketing tactics. More significantly, the program provides anticipated ROI based on results their peers (by industry and company size) across the nation have reported to SNG.