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Many small businesses are investing more in their digital advertising and marketing efforts this year, according to a November 2012 study from Ad-ology Research, and the company website is seeing much of this increased attention.
Nearly one-quarter of surveyed US businesses with under 100 employees said they would be investing more in developing and designing the company website; another 20% planned to put more resources toward optimizing the website through search engine optimization (SEO), presumably to drive traffic and top-of-page search results.
These were the top two priorities among all online and mobile investment plans.
The website is a central digital channel for small businesses. Nearly 70% of those surveyed said they had a website, which they primarily used to inform customers about products and services.
Small businesses may be turning their attention to the company website in part because they have let the sites lay fallow for too long. Just under half reported that they had not updated their site in the past month. And according to a February 2013 audit of 3.9 million small business websites by vSplash, a digital media and commerce consulting company, there are a variety of website features lacking on small business websites.
More than 60% lacked an address on their homepage, and nearly 50% did not provide a contact number. Thinking about SEO, 47% were not present on Google Places, and 35% did not have a Bing Local presence. The growing percentage of small business websites that lack these features (compared with June 2012) may be an indication of more businesses creating an online page in the first place; however, once businesses create their web presence, they also need to stock it with the right information.
Beyond the website, social media remains an important stalwart for small businesses as well, especially given its ability to target consumers and fans in a particular location. Advertising on social sites will see increased attention this year, according to Ad-ology’s study, with nearly three out of five respondents saying they will spend more on social advertising, promoted postings and sponsored tweets.
Traditional tactics like direct mail still remain small businesses’ promotional bread and butter, but there is no question that digital outreach and investment are of growing importance.
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Check out today’s other articles, “Brand Social Outreach Must Walk a Fine Line” and “In Singapore, Mobile Picks Up More Paid Search Clicks”
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