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Small Businesses Shun Social Media in Favor of Traditional Websites

Companies seem more willing to invest in their website and in e-mail marketing than they do in social media.

Social media may get all the ink, but it is not getting most of the dollars – at least not from small businesses, says a new report.
The majority of small companies will plow most of their marketing funds into traditional websites and e-mail, says a report by online survey firm Zoomerang and GrowBiz media. The report surveyed 751 small firms, nearly all (89 percent) of which had fewer than 25 employees.
Just over a quarter of those surveyed plan to spend at least 30 percent of their online marketing budgets on their websites in 2011. E-mail ranked second, with 18 percent of those surveyed saying they would spend at least 30 percent of their marketing funds on that. Just 10 percent of respondents said they were planning to spend at least 30 percent of their budgets on social media.
About one in six (17 percent) planned to increase their website budgets next year, while 15 percent planned to up e-mail spending. Just 13 percent planned to spend more on social media.
The report also revealed that 46 percent of those surveyed had no website at all. And of those businesses with websites, the majority of those are very basic. Eighty percent say they provide general information, but just 45 percent provide customer service, and less than a third (30 percent) engage in e-commerce. Fewer than one in seven (15 percent) let visitors make reservations or appointments, and 13 percent have a company blog. (Is the online information about your company correct? Click here.)

How do most small businesses get customers? Seventy percent say it's through old school in-person networking. Half use customer referral rewards, and a third use social media. Of those using social media, Facebook was far and away the preferred choice, with 80 percent of those surveyed using it.

On what will you spend the largest percentage of your online marketing budget?

Last updated: Nov 15, 2010


Inc. contributing editor Courtney Rubin was for five years a London-based staff writer for People magazine. Rubin, a former senior writer for Washingtonian magazine, has written for the New York Times magazine, Time, Marie Claire, and other publications. She is the author of The Weight-Loss Diaries.

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