What’s Your Strategy for Growing Business Online?
Several recent studies and articles have come across my desktop that make it clear that small businesses are more optimistic about business growth and are embracing the Web as a platform for getting there.
• The spring American Express OPEN Small Business Monitor Survey revealed that 65% of small businesses surveyed believe that business will grow, albeit slowly and steadily. For marketing 44% of study participants say they’re using social media to grow – up from 39% six months ago.
• A recent study by MerchantCircle.com, the largest online network of local business owners, found that 70% of the 8500 businesses surveyed are using social media for marketing – up 50% from a year ago and most of them on Facebook.
• A Wall Street Journal article by Sarah Needleman described a number of ways that budding business owners are using free online tools – from blogs to group ecommerce sites – to be online even without investing in a website, bootstrapping first-year revenues.
This all seems positive – especially for an online marketing consultant like me. But certain findings make me wonder how much time, effort and budget these businesses are putting into competitive research, strategy and planning.
Stats in the studies universally point to Facebook as the most-utilized of the social media at 60 to 70%. Blog and twitter use are way down in single digits. Facebook can be a great tool. But is it really the only place you need to be? Would a broader web/digital presence help you grow faster?
The MerchantCircle study also pointed out that small businesses hesitate to adopt mobile marketing – the fastest growing consumer search and local buying technology. The greatest reason is a lack of understanding of the platform. Maybe an investment in learning about the mobile channel would lead to new customers and sales, while leapfrogging the uneducated competition.Continued on the next page