Small Business Internet Marketing Survey: Over 40% Crying For Help

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A new survey of small business’s internet marketing practices reveals new findings about the satisfaction and use of their websites and social media. Many are “do it yourself internet marketers” but they recognize the need for improving local search optimization and using affordable tools to make better use of social media.

Small business owners know what online marketing initiatives should be done to grow their businesses. But when implementing website optimization or social media, they realize they don’t know how to do it on their own and they give up.

Small business statistics from a newly released survey reveals more adoption and use of internet marketing by small business. But this survey also indicates a realization from business owners that their internet marketing website and small business social media efforts need to be strengthened.

“This survey suggests that small business owners know what online marketing initiatives should be done to grow their businesses. But when they get into the actual implementation of website optimization or social media, they realize they don’t know how to do it on their own,” said Gary Hennerberg, President of Hennerberg Group, Inc., an internet marketing consultant who conducted the survey on behalf of an online directory listing company.

Overall, 80% of small businesses have a website, with 50% saying they have good results. But another 30% report poor results with their websites. Twenty percent don’t have a website, but 16% plan one in the future.

“Some 44% of business owners either build their website as a ‘do it yourselfer’ using a template, or they lean on a friend to build their website,” said Hennerberg. “Some DIYers or friends might be well versed in how to build and optimize a website for traffic, but for many that’s probably not the case, and for those small businesses who fail to optimize their website, they risk not tapping the full potential of their online presence.”

The study found that 25% of small business owners had their website built by a friend and 19% are “do it yourselfers” using a template. Twenty percent outsourced it to a local development company.

For the most part, business owners are happy with the quality of the design, appearance and content of their websites (over 60%). But the flip side is that about 60% are either dissatisfied with, or are unsure if they are getting, high search engine rankings and visitors to their websites.

While 41% believe their websites bring exposure, 28% aren’t sure what their website does for them, and they realize that they need help beyond what they can do for themselves.

More than 40% report they need help with small business SEO of their website for better local search rankings. Nearly 37% say they need help using Facebook, Twitter and other social media. Nearly 35% need help with email marketing promotions, and 33% need help building inbound links to their website. While templates and other online tools empower the “DIY” website builder and social media user, there are behind-the-scenes technical steps that are beyond the capability of most business owners.

“The study reveals that small business owners realize they need small business marketing professional help to get better at marketing their businesses, and they know what they should improve: local search optimization and use of social media,” said Hennerberg. “But most don’t know how to make these improvements.”

When looking at 2011 marketing and advertising budgets reported by small business owners, it’s no wonder there are so many trying to tackle development of a website and social media on their own without asking for professional help. About 23% plan to spend only between $1,000 and $4,999, with over 14% planning to spend less than $999. Only about 16% have budgets exceeding $5,000.

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Gary Hennerberg
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