Nearly 60% of small businesses surveyed plan on spending as much or more in 2012 as they did in 2011 on online marketing efforts, according to the 2012 AT&T Small Business Technology Poll.
Inexpensive, modern grassroots marketing techniques – both online and offline – have grown to be among the most popular for small businesses in the past several years likely due to ease of use and general affordability. While 79% of small businesses surveyed are using word-of-mouth to promote their business, 63% are using their company website, and 39% are using social media channels.
The Poll, which nationally surveyed more than 1,200 small businesses with two to 100 employees, also revealed the following:
∙ Since 2010, the use of location-based social channels, such as Foursquare, among small business owners has nearly doubled from 5% to 9%.
o 25% of small business owners using location-based services believe that the application is important for sales generation, compared to just 2% in 2010.
∙ Small businesses with a LinkedIn presence increased from 25% in 2010 to 31% in 2011, a jump of 25%.
∙ Small businesses with a Facebook presence increased slightly from 41% in 2010 to 44% last year, while those with a Twitter presence dropped slightly year-over-year from 19% to 18%.
∙ While LinkedIn has always been a popular resource for recruiters, small business owners are increasingly using the social forum for networking with other businesses and gaining awareness from other businesses and consumers in the local community.
∙ Surprisingly only 4% of small businesses are using daily deal sites (i.e. LivingSocial, Groupon) for marketing purposes, led by leisure/tourism/lodging, of which 14% are using these sites.
∙ Of those businesses using daily deal sites, more than 90% are running promotions at least several times per year.
∙ Male business owners are more likely to rely on their company website for marketing than female owners (65% vs. 58%), while female business owners are more likely to rely on social media than their male counterparts (48% vs. 34%).
∙ Among small business owners that are using wireless mobile devices, those in the education and non-profit fields are accessing social media at the highest rates, 50% and 52% respectively, compared to national average of 43%.
∙ Three in four (75%) small businesses surveyed have a website, about the same as last year, with nearly a third (31%) having a mobile website – i.e., one designed for viewing on a smartphone.