Do you know that over half of small business owners still don’t have websites?
This is according to local marketing firm Yodle, which recently conducted its first-ever “Small Business Sentiment” survey. It was aimed at finding out SMB owners’ attitudes and perceptions on a bunch of topics: work-life balance, personal concerns, government support, etc. When it came to technology and online marketing, more than half – 52 percent, to be exact – admitted that they still don’t have a business website.
“It’s just very complex,” said Louis Gagnon, Yodle’s chief product and marketing officer, in an interview with Street Fight.
“It takes time and it takes expertise to absorb complexity. It used to be that you received a visit from a rep with the Yellow Pages. He brought a bottle of wine and some chocolates, you signed up for the service, and you saw yourself in the Yellow Pages. Now, you have to be online, but what does that mean? And how do you do it? You need a website and SEO on top of that and there’s more work to go. You don’t know a lot of information. It’s a normal education thing, but if you are a plumber or a contractor, you’re on the roof all day. You come home, have dinner, do billing, return calls, and then maybe you get to the website. Small businesses are tradespeople mostly. Tradespeople do their trade; they aren’t professional business managers.”
Still don’t have a website? Do you think online marketing is still very complex for you, as a business owner? Here are a few tips you can follow to get started:
- Have your own website. Establishing your presence on the Internet all starts with having a website. There’s no excuse for this, really. You don’t have to have a thousand pages of content, but be sure to include all the essential information about your business: product and service info, pricing, physical location, hours of operation, company profile, phone numbers, contact info, and customer testimonials. It would also be nice to “mobilize” your website so that you can reach smartphone-using, on-the-go customers.
- Claim your online business listings and social media profiles. To support your website, you can sign up and claim your listings on multiple online directories, business listings, social networks, and review sites. Don’t stop at Facebook and Twitter: secure your profiles on sites like Yelp, Google, Foursquare, TripAdvisor, Citysearch, and YP.com, too. (The list goes on, but most of them are free anyway.) We understand that this takes some time to accomplish, but to start with, why not sign up for, say, two sites a week? We promise you it’s worth the effort. (Check out: “Why You Should Claim Your Online Business Listings and Social Media Profiles”)
- Track online reviews. Yodle’s survey also found that small business owners identify word of mouth (78 percent) and professional referrals (54 percent) as their most effective customer acquisition approaches. If that’s the case, be sure to track online reviews of your business on sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, Google (Google Maps/Google+ Local), and more. Remember: these reviews serve as today’s most potent form of word of mouth.
For more results from the study, check out the infographic below: