Most SMBs Say They Need A Digital Presence, Study Shows

Small businesses may not be there yet, but 88% of them believe they need an online presence to be successful, according to a new study by HigherVisibility.

At the same time, 41.8% either have no goal in mind for their website or they intend to use it for general brand awareness.

Worse, 44.3% portion only $1-$499 of their marketing budget on digital marketing, while 6.7% spend not a dime.

Of the 1,000 small business owners polled, 61% say an online presence is extremely important and 27% say it is somewhat so.

That extreme feeling runs highest in the Northeast (69.83%) and on the West Coast (68.66%), but not as much in the South (58.39% and Midwest (50.3%).

In addition, 57.5% say social media is critical, and 25.2% deem it somewhat important.

Email was not specifically addressed, but it is part of any effective online program, whether as a promotional or transactional medium.

Paid search is valued highly by only 36%, with 27.% having a more moderate feeling.

GoogleMy Business MapListings are seen as key by 49.6% and moderately useful by 27.4%.

When SMBs do go online, the goal for 38.1% is general brand awareness and to provide information. In addition, 23% go online for ecommerce/product sales, and 20% go online to generate phone calls and/or lead submissions.

In other findings, the survey found that:

  • 58.6% either used an online website builder to create their website or designed and coded it themselves
  • 68.8% would expect “significant SEO results” within the first three months I they hired an SEO company

“Our study shows that small business owners are generally aware that they need to be online to be successful but lack the expertise to make the most of their online presence,” states Scott Langdon, managing partner of HigherVisibility.


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