How SMBs View Online Media

SmallBusinessesSmall and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) spent $1,190 on average during the past 12 months to improve Web sites and other Web properties, such as social networks and optimized mobile sites, up from $876 in Q4 2011, according to BIA/Kelsey.

The latest -- Local Commerce Monitor Wave 16 -- research conducted with Ipsos reveals that SMBs now use 5.8 different media on average, a major increase from prior analyses. Social media, propelled by Facebook, continues to pick up acceptance as a basic media for SMB advertising and promotion.

Among the 600 respondents of the LCM Wave 16 survey, 63% said they now use social media. While many report already having a mobile Web site, another 22% plan to add one within the next 12 months. Compare that with 8.7% of respondents who reported having a mobile Web site in the prior quarter.

Some 34% of the SMBs surveyed report they use -- and 21%.3% plan to use -- customer loyalty programs, which BIA/Kelsey defines as offering discounts or special promotions to frequent customers.

The Small Business Sentiment survey released Friday from Local Corp. shows that small business owners are "cautiously optimistic" about the future of their businesses, but believe they would increase marketing spend if the economy improves. That would take a decrease in personal income taxes and more support to small business from government.

Analysis from the Local survey finds that 40% think about cutting back on the amount spent on marketing spend, but 56% would consider making a long-term investment in their business right now, which includes a higher investment in online advertising.

Some 46% of small business owners have considered raising prices, 92% said their financial decisions are influenced by the economy, and 61% admit they would take a pay cut to ensure their business succeeds, according to Local.

SMBs looking to connect with nearby consumers might want to consider a hyperlocal mobile strategy. Four out of 10 consumers use local search at least once daily, according to a study commissioned by YP.com and conducted by marketing consulting firm immr. Hyperlocal search will increase that percentage, as evolving technology, such as voice search, continues to let consumers uncover new information across engines and sites, such as reviews, menus, and coupons and discounts. 

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