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Business Owners Still Don't Believe in the Web

Being an internet marketing company, we believe that access to the web is advantageous to any business, but according to a study put out by Rasmussen Reports on behalf of credit-card company Discover Financial Services, 46% of the small-business owners surveyed said that it is a myth that every business needs a web site. While the number of small businesses with a web site has grown 36 percent in the past two years, only 45% of of owners polled currently have one. Furthermore, 41% of those owners said that they didn’t need one and 19% say that it costs to much to create. 47% of consumers said that they are more likely to use a small business with a website and about the same number expect every business, regardless of size, to be online. The study went on further to indicate that small business social media is in a worse state with 62% of those surveyed said they are not involved in online communities such as Facebook, LinkedIN or Twitter, and of those who do use those sites, fewer than half said they use them to promote their business.

In a separate study by Webvision and Nielsen, 63% of consumers turn to the internet first for information about companies. 82% use search engines to do so, but only 44% of small businesses have a website and half spend less than 10% of their marketing budget online.

The research finds an accelerating trend toward online media for local search. However, the report says the study uncovers a significant disconnect between the way small business owners act as consumers vs. the way they market their businesses online. The survey found that search engines are the most popular source for finding local information:

  • 82% use search engines
  • 57% use Yellow Pages directories.
  • 53% use local newspapers
  • 49% use Internet Yellow Pages
  • 49% use TV
  • 38% use direct mail
  • 32% White Pages directories

Of those surveyed, 50% said search engines were the first place they looked when seeking a local business, while 24% chose the Yellow Pages directories. 92% of searchers say they are happy with the results they get when using search engines, though 39% report frequently not being able to locate a particular known business. This means, says the report, searchers don’t may choose to contact a similar business with a stronger online presence.

Maybe there is a reason why small businesses stay small businesses. If you want to stay in business, do not maintain a small business mentality. Web presence is a must.