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These days, it’s not enough that your business has an online presence. It’s not enough to merely have a website up and running. You also have to be active and visible in newer, less traditional, and increasingly popular media channels: namely, on social media, online review sites, local business listings, and mobile platforms.

This obviously presents a challenge – especially for businesses with fewer marketing resources and staff – but more and more small business (SMB) owners are recognizing the importance of taking on and responding to this challenge.

(Check out: More Mobile Phone Owners Checking Online Reviews While Inside a Store or Local Business”)

In a recent study released by research firm Constant Contact, results showed that 66 percent of SMB owners are now using mobile technology to support their marketing strategies. This is in stark contrast to the mere 28 percent who said that mobile is not relevant to their strategy or business. Breaking this down into ways mobile technology is being used, the Constant Contact report also showed that:

  • 34 percent of SMB owners have a mobile-optimized website;
  • 18 percent make use of mobile, tablet-based payment point-of-sale systems;
  • and 18 percent make use of mobile apps to manage business operations (travel planning, accounting, time management, customer communications, and online reputation management).

The study also confirms that more business owners are now integrating social media marketing into their mix. In fact, 77 percent of the respondents conduct social media marketing (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Foursquare, LinkedIn, and Pinterest), while 71 percent continue to reach out to their audience via E-mail marketing. Furthermore, 44 percent pay for advertising through social platforms, while 48 percent plan to increase their focus on content marketing this year.  

(Check out: “What You Should Know: Mobile Website Tips for Small Businesses”)

The report is based on a March 2013 survey of 1,305 respondents in the Constant Contact Small Biz Council, including business owners across a range of B2B and B2C industries. The new findings also come at a time when more and more consumers are relying on social networks, online review sites, and mobile devices to find information and guide their purchase decisions. As a result, these review sites and mobile content publishers – including online review aggregators like Yelp, Facebook, Foursquare, TripAdvisor, and YP.com – are regularly seeking ways to reach the mobile audience and connect them to local businesses. Constant Contact’s findings should therefore be encouraging to SMBs who have taken advantage of the social-local-mobile revolution, while emphasizing the urgency of doing so for those who haven’t.

“It’s encouraging that a majority of small businesses recognize that their customers are relying more than ever on their mobile devices to find information, look for deals, and even to make purchases,” said Joel Hughes, senior vice president of strategy and corporate development. “That said, small business owners are still getting their sea legs, so it’s not surprising that they’re leading with two areas where they have a solid track record of success with customer engagement: social media and E-mail.”

For more numbers, check out the graph below:

monitor online reviews

Graph credit:

MarketingCharts.com

Chris Campbell

Chris is the CEO of ReviewTrackers. He has helped tens of thousands of businesses hear, manage, and respond to what their customers are saying online.

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