Focus group sessions held in three major U.S. cities resulted in recommendations to the U.S. Small Business Administration on how to improve its award-winning SBA.Gov website and maximize social media tools and tutorials for the 800,000 individuals who visit the site each month.
Focus groups in Baltimore, Richmond and Washington, D.C., helped SBA learn how to better serve the needs of small business owners and entrepreneurs. Feedback from focus groups suggested that small business owners often aren’t aware of many of SBA’s resources or how our partner organizations can help both startups and day-to-day business operations. For example, SBA offers resources specific to women business owners, veterans, and hosts an entire online community of blogs and discussion boards with over 30,000 members providing answers to common small business challenges.
As a result, SBA is undertaking a series of communication initiatives that highlight how its programs and services can help, and the effort has brought increased website traffic to SBA.gov as well as a measurable growth in engagement via social media.
Using a variety of integrated outreach tactics, including the SBA.gov website, email campaigns and social media, SBA is bringing together resources from across its diverse program offices to provide small business owners with a one-stop resource built around key topics. For example, through targeted marketing and social media, one topic – how small businesses can sell to the federal government and tap into the $100 billion that the government awards to small businesses each year – saw a 72 percent increase in visits to the Government Contracting classroom page. Those visits resulted in a 255 percent registration increase in “Gov’t Contracting 101″ courses.