SMB Marketing Favors Websites Over Social Media - InformationWeek
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SMB Marketing Favors Websites Over Social Media

Zoomerang and GrowBiz Media survey shows online marketing dollars focus on websites and email, with Faceboook, Twitter, and LinkedIn lagging behind, though growing.

Despite the buzz surrounding social media, the majority of SMBs will spend most of their online marketing budgets on traditional websites and email, a new report found.

In fact, 27% of the 751 businesses surveyed plan to spend at least 30% of their online marketing budgets on their websites in 2011, according to a report by online survey firm Zoomerang and GrowBiz Media, which provides information and services to help organizations reach SMBs. Email was ranked second, with 18% of respondents dedicating 30% or more next year; 10% of SMBs plan to spend at least 30% of their marketing funds on social media in 2011, the study determined.

Overall, 17% planned to increase their website budgets next year, while 15% planned to increase their email spending and 13% expected to add dollars to their social media outlays, the report said. Yet, 46% of SMBs surveyed had no website, according to GrowBiz. Of the firms surveyed, 89% had fewer than 25 employees.

Despite investing in their websites, on average SMBs continue to provide only basic information online. For example, 80% include general information, but only 45% provide customer service and a mere 35% capture leads, according to GrowBiz Media. Less than one-third, or 30%, are involved in e-commerce, while 21% provide a link exchange, the study said. In addition, 15% enable visitors to make reservations or appointments, 13% post a blog, and 10% list an affiliate program, according to the report.

Instead, 70% of SMBs depend on age-old in-person networking, while half rely on customer referral rewards for generating new customers, the study found. Only one-third tapped social media to locate and create a new clientele, the report said. Of those using social media, 80% preferred Facebook, the poll determined.

As word-of-mouth referrals increasingly are dispersed online vs. in-person, business owners that depend on it are likely to flounder if they do not have a business website, Rieva Lesonsky, GrowBiz Media CEO, told The Pilot.

In another study, 54% of British SMBs were found to use social media to promote their businesses, double the number using these sites in December 2009, with 35% posting daily updates to sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. In addition, 46% said their company's brand awareness has increased and 36% have attracted new business as a result of their social media efforts, according to the poll by Daryl Willcox Publishing.

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